It’s amazing the amount of clutter we collect, and with the change in the economic conditions and the frugality everyone has been dealing with for the past 2 years, however it’s important to always remember that there are always others who often could use the things that we have stored away in the back of cabinets, deep in closets, boxed up in various storage units across this great land of ours.  It’s always amazed me the amount of money people pay to use storage units and often forget what they even have.  This is an excellent time to consider getting rid of those storage units, saving some money, and adding to your tax deductions at the end of the year when you file your 2009 taxes.  Above all else, these items must be donated to a 501(c)3 organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service for the deduction.  No if’s, and’s or but’s are available.

Regarding the donation and household items, they must be in good used shape at a bare minimum.  That means that you could still wear them or use them regardless of whether you think someone less fortunate would find value in them.  However if you are claiming an item to be of at least $500 in value, it must be accompanied with a qualified appraisal for documentation purposes.

When donating cash of any dollar amount, you must have a receipt on behalf of the organization receiving the funds.  If you write a check, then the cancellation copy of that check will suffice, with the date, amount, and the name of the charity associated with the donation.  The same for credit card donations.  However, it’s important to remember that the charity should also acknowledge your donation in writing for your tax filing.

When donating large ticket items such as vehicles, boats, etc., the allowable amount is limited to the actual amount received from the sale of the item and no more, if it’s valued at more than $500.00.  The charity is therefore required to submit a Form 1098-C to the donor so they can attach it to their tax return.

Finally, always remember that any contributions are deductible in the year made. Thus, donations charged to a credit card before the end of the year count for 2008. This is true even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until next year. Also, checks count for 2008 as long as they are mailed this year.  Remember, the more often you do it and the earlier it’s completed, the bigger deduction as well as goodwill you’ll receive in the end.

Dwayne J. Briscoe, Owner
Bookkeeping-Results, LLC

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