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Tax Write-Offs - How do you keep track of Goodwill donations?

Started 1274032927.96 in Viewpoints | Last reply 1274108238.923 by ratdog111

When I take a few bags of clothes to Goodwill, I get a receipt that says "three bags clothes".  But I'd like to keep better track of what I am actually donating in case of audit.  I'm getting rid of a LOT of clothing that is pricey/high quality.  And housewares.  We are decluttering.  Like, a pair of True Religion jeans that don't fit.  And a brand new in the box fondue pot that I've never used, and am sick of "storing."  Brand new $90 Calvin Klein heels that I bought, wore once, and realized they hurt my feet.

I can't take pictures of everything - I literally have my car loaded up with bags & boxes of stuff, and individual photos would be crazy, but is there some other way I can assure myself that if I am next year I have enough "proof" of what I've donated?  Goodwill will NOT itemize the donations or place a value on them.  They give me the receipt and tell ME to write down what I've donated.

Any other ideas would be appreciated.  I think that in 2010 I will hit $1000 worth of Goodwill donations and I've never been this high before - usually I just lowball it at $100 or $200 on my taxes, but I'm sick of ripping myself off since I know I could sell this stuff on Ebay and make a small fortune (but I'd prefer to donate).

Thanks to anyone with advice!

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namealread­ytaken1274033072.817660 PostsRegistered 7/13/2009

What you have to do is place a fair market value on your contributions.  If you were going to sell these at a yard sale, tag sale or garage sale, what would they bring?  I have been audited before and this was the advice I was given.  Incidentally, I got money back after the audit as we had given the wrong value on an item by a column of figures, i.e., $2250 instead of $250.  {#emotions_dlg.rolleyes}  The auditor caught it.

BassetMomma1274033105.2671502 PostsRegistered 10/4/2008Northern New Jersey

Maybe you can take pictures of all the stuff you donate.  Start a trapper keeper for 2010 tax return info and just be real good about putting all your receipts in the folder.  I keep a folder by my bill folder for tax return stuff.

chickenbutt1274033206.03723427 PostsRegistered 1/16/2006chickentown

What if you just list the items as you bag them, then staple the list to your donation receipt before you put it in your annual 'tax stuff' file?

We don't do that, but I think it's a good idea.  We donate quite a few thousands per year and I have never actually listed every thing in each parcel.  They just put categories, like clothes, household items, appliances, etc.

Bippity boppity BOOYAH!

azqfan1274033325.6033510 PostsRegistered 10/24/2004

If you ever get audited you will find the IRS gives you very little credit for Goodwill type donations.  Goodwill has a guide for examples that may be used to determine value.  Also it is a good idea to lay all the items out and take pictures to add to the receipt.

http://www.goodwillwct.org/images/pages/donation.guide.pdf?-session=thisSession:48D069D50c99a22498Svvm224AEF

 

 

Rowdymom1274033410.73713089 PostsRegistered 6/20/2005SE PA

For the last two years, our accountant has had us take a date stamped picture of the items before we bag them up, with the approximate value and then attach the donation receipt to them. As of this year, you may be required to provide "firm evidence of items donated" in the event of an audit.

azq and I posted at the same time.

Last edited on 5/16/2010

Last edited on 5/16/2010

blonde/gray, blue-gray, dry combination, neutral beige. WEN, Somerville, Clinique

CAshopper2­0111274033554.2073380 PostsRegistered 12/20/2009

I did the 'Its Deductible" software last year and the prices they gave me were WAY higher than what I would have estimated on my own.  So that is why I am so nervous.  I ended up just dividing my donations in half last year because I felt like I didn't have enough evidence in case of an audit.

If I do "women's shoes in like-new condition" Its Deductible gives you something like $20 as the value.  So maybe just lay out some of the stuff and take a few photos of the labels and then itemize it in a spreadsheet?  I know it is alot of work, but if I am going to claim $20 for a pair of shoes, I feel I need something as proof.

I don't know what anything would bring at a garage sale.  I am old-school about yard sales and think that at a garage sale, everything should be $0.50 to $1.00 but that doesn't seem to be the way its done nowadays.  I went to a garage sale at a neighbors and she was selling a t-shirt (a nice t-short, but a t-shirt nonetheless) for $10.

 

MaggieToo1274033727.0778033 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004AZ

I've always just typed out a list of what was donated and attached it to their receipt.  I guess I had better start taking pictures.  I have a box of things started for this year.  Not much in it yet, but I still haven't finished with the closets.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

CAshopper2­0111274033798.9073380 PostsRegistered 12/20/2009
On 5/16/2010 Rowdymom said:

For the last two years, our accountant has had us take a date stamped picture of the items before we bag them up, with the approximate value and then attach the donation receipt to them. As of this year, you may be required to provide "firm evidence of items donated" in the event of an audit.

azq and I posted at the same time.

Last edited on 5/16/2010

 Awww, this is perfect.  I never felt like plugging a random number in there was 'enough" so I am going to do this.  I guess I'll unload the car and get some photos in there before it goes.  Thank you so much everyone.  I just literally was spring cleaning and this is a huge year for our donations.  I usually hold on to stuff I don't wear because it is new or was expensive, but no more - I want my closet back.

Last edited on 5/16/2010

Last edited on 5/16/2010

LaterGator1274033921.34710053 PostsRegistered 1/9/2007

I list everything on excel, that way I have proof.  One year I just took pictures and didn't feel comfortable doing that.  It really doesn't take long listing all the items on excel.

I set it up so I can list the purchase price in one column, the next column is set up so it automatically takes 1/3 of that price and the final column will list the total and at the bottom, I sum it all up. It's a very simple spreadsheet to do and you are well protected in case of an audit.

azterry1274034069.516341 PostsRegistered 3/31/2008valley of the sun, AZ

I make a lot of donations every year.  I keep the receipt from the organization and attach an itemized list of what was in that donation. 

The Turbo Tax program automatically calculates the fair market value as per IRS guidelines when you input the item.  You rank it as medium or high quality and the program does all the other work for you. 

My donations are usually over 2k per year.  I constantly rotate clothes, shoes, sheets, towels, etc.  Nothing useable and in good shape is thrown away in my house.  If an article of clthing hasn't been worn from its last season to its current season, it goes.  When towels and sheets become worn, they go.  When Christmas decorations become sort of tired or I change my style.  They go.  Electric fyry pan-never use.  It's gone

It's a great way to continually declutter.  I don't keep anything that I no longer use.  Someone else will be very happy with these things and I get a nice deduction.

When I get tired of shopping, I sit down and try on shoes~








MD_girl1274034126.5973 PostsRegistered 11/16/2004

When the new law on donations went through a year or so ago, I started writing down on a pad what I was putting in the bags, and then I typed up a list on the computer.  When donating the stuff, I just wrote down 3 bags women's clothing, condition Excellent, and "see attached list".  The Salvation Army never wanted the list, so I just stapled my list to my copy of the receipt, and had it available when it was time to do the taxes.

crdlb1274034141.512825 PostsRegistered 6/24/2009So. Cal.

The IRS requires that you itemize noncash donations above a certain amount. I keep an Excel spread sheet that I keep adding to throughout the year. In one column, the date. In the next, the charity. In the next the type of item: Women's clothing. In the next estimate of original cost. In the next, condition: New, excellent, good. I give this to the tax accountant and he values it for deduction purposes.

So, if I give three like new purses, I just put Leather purses, the total cost and the conditon. You don't need to write each piece separately, just group them.

chickenbutt1274034287.21323427 PostsRegistered 1/16/2006chickentown
On 5/16/2010 Rover said:

I list everything on excel, that way I have proof.  One year I just took pictures and didn't feel comfortable doing that.  It really doesn't take long listing all the items on excel.

I set it up so I can list the purchase price in one column, the next column is set up so it automatically takes 1/3 of that price and the final column will list the total and at the bottom, I sum it all up. It's a very simple spreadsheet to do and you are well protected in case of an audit.

 Wow, that sounds like a great idea.  I honestly never even entertained the idea of getting audited and our accountant never asked for more than the receipts we get.  We don't use Goodwill, as I do NOT like donating to places that sell the stuff, but it's probably all the same in terms of IRS. 

Bippity boppity BOOYAH!

crdlb1274034512.55312825 PostsRegistered 6/24/2009So. Cal.
On 5/16/2010 chickenbutt said:
On 5/16/2010 Rover said:

I list everything on excel, that way I have proof.  One year I just took pictures and didn't feel comfortable doing that.  It really doesn't take long listing all the items on excel.

I set it up so I can list the purchase price in one column, the next column is set up so it automatically takes 1/3 of that price and the final column will list the total and at the bottom, I sum it all up. It's a very simple spreadsheet to do and you are well protected in case of an audit.

 Wow, that sounds like a great idea.  I honestly never even entertained the idea of getting audited and our accountant never asked for more than the receipts we get.  We don't use Goodwill, as I do NOT like donating to places that sell the stuff, but it's probably all the same in terms of IRS. 

I agree about the selling stuff. I donate to homeless charities that give away the clothing, etc. whenever possible.

I can't remember the exact amount, but it seems to me that it's any claim for noncash over $500 that needs back up. If you put $499, you  don't have to itemize, just show the three bags receipts.

markswife1274034919.131927 PostsRegistered 12/4/2007

As i oput the things in the bag , before I take them, I write on a slip of paper whats in the bag each item or 3= mens shirt. when I get the receipt from them, I staple the two together and put in my taxes file.

 When we do our taxes online, There is a  list of items.(anything you can think of is on this list). You go through and check an item and what condition,RE: new or, used.  It automatically gives you a value . I do my mine by date of donation.then it adds all the items on that date and adds it to the total.

My friend that works at a tax service , says thier program they use , does the same.Also she tells me that my hand written paper with the receipt is fine.

CLEM1274035059.33312504 PostsRegistered 9/1/2008PA

I have never deducted donations of any kind (including money) from my taxes.


LaterGator1274035396.8510053 PostsRegistered 1/9/2007

When we moved here from Ohio we did a lot of decluttering because this house is smaller than the one we had.  That year, we gave a lot to local charities to the tune of close to $10,000 in deductions.  Some to Goodwill, some to our local Women's shelter, some to homeless shelters and some for the local animal shelter that doesn't exist anymore.  So it all had to be itemized.  We also  just gave away a lot of furniture that was almost new to some less fortunate that live in the area.  We had it all in our garage and my DH just told people at work and people came and picked out what they wanted. 

We couldn't deduct that but it felt good to do.  Boy now that I write this, I wonder where we had room for all that stuff before.  But a lot of it was furniture for grandchildren who were small then and we didn't need it anymore.  Some was for dining room that we don't have now.  So it's all OK with me. 

This house is so totally different than our last one, we ended up having to buy alomst all new furniture to fit it. 

RedHeadedW­ench1274036005.4579013 PostsRegistered 10/1/2006

I take pictures of everything we give away...and I make a tally of what is in the bags...like:

5 mens shirts

4 mens sweaters

etcetc

I also use the guidelines on the Goodwill website.

Be kind to dragons, for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.
-------

GrannySher­ry1274036029.476720 PostsRegistered 1/26/2010Proud So. Cal. South Bay native now in WA state

We never did! Just packed thing up and took them.

AbigailAda­ms1274036284.271177 PostsRegistered 5/7/2010

I don't.  I can't think of any reason why I should give to charity and then make other people (taxpayers) pay me for it.

Last edited on 5/16/2010

The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable. -- James Garfield

azterry1274038974.816341 PostsRegistered 3/31/2008valley of the sun, AZ
On 5/16/2010 AbigailAdams said:

I don't.  I can't think of any reason why I should give to charity and then make other people (taxpayers) pay me for it.

 ummm.  You are getting back what YOU paid in.  Do you turn down your state or federal refund when you have overpaid?  Didn't think so

Last edited on 5/16/2010

When I get tired of shopping, I sit down and try on shoes~








greengem-1274040489.6635939 PostsRegistered 3/1/2008

Never declared a deduction. I'm just happy to have a place to take things; and it wouldn't be a sum of any consequence. 

 

Unlike old Abby{#emotions_dlg.rolleyes}  it's not because I feel it makes me superior to those who do. 

--

... and the sea will grant each new hope, as sleep brings dreams of home

BlueCollar­Babe1274040819.7410651 PostsRegistered 9/26/2007

I just give stuff away when we're done with it and am glad it may be of use to someone else. Not looking to get anything back. If the Goodwill or some other charity didn't take it, it would have to go in the trash. We've never put it on our taxes. The only thing we've ever declared is large cash donations.

halfpint1274041321.07763897 PostsRegistered 7/12/2007

The cap is $250 if you don't list. I know I must of given 20 times that last year but I never kept track. I am no longer a 6 or 8 and don't wear dresses any longer plus if I did lose weight again they would be too youthful. Also the IRS probably wouldn't believe how much I had. I called up the Salvation Army. They listed how many bags over the phone but I gave much more. A few times the Vets leave a bag and notice of pickup date.

babs1274041448.051003 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004ny

I just give anonymously, dropping them (clothing, purses, shoes, bedding, household goods) off on my way to work.

babs :-)

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