Giving back to your community is one of the more fulfilling things you can do in your life. If that wasn’t enough, there are other reasons to donate your old items as well. If done correctly, your donations can provide deductions on your next year’s taxes, something we can all enjoy. Given how common donating clothes is and how much is usually donated at one time, GreenDrop has made this guide to help you itemize your donations correctly to get the right refund. This guide on how to itemize clothing donations for taxes will help you be prepared for tax season with everything in hand.
Track All Donations
One of the more important things to do as you donate throughout the year is to continually keep track of what you donated and how much it was worth. You can easily figure out how much something is worth for taxes with online calculators from the IRS. Without proper records of your donations, it will be much more difficult to correctly itemize and claim them. Whether you are donating a small or large amount of clothing, always ask to get a receipt for the donation after it is done so you can have it for your records.
Donate To the Correct Places
Unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy as giving your old clothes to someone you know who’s in need. You can only get a tax deduction by donating to a tax-exempt organization like GreenDrop charity partners (American Red Cross, Military Order of the Purple Heart, National Federation of the Blind and Society of St Vincent de Paul – Philadelphia). Specifically, you’ll need to donate to organizations that are registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. You can easily get this information by looking on the IRS’ website or by calling the organization directly.
Keep a Detailed Record
Getting the receipt should be all you need, but it doesn’t hurt to be extra thorough. You’ll need to keep a detailed, itemized list of everything you donated. Make sure to include the name of the organization to who you donated, as well as the address and phone number. Write down a detailed description of each of the items donated, for example, “Target women’s yoga pants, excellent condition.” If you can remember, also write down when you purchased the item, how much you originally paid for it, and what you’ve found to be the price of the item now.
Find the Correct Valuation
Speaking of finding the price of the item as it is now, that is an essential step that you’ll need to undertake if you want to report your donations correctly. If you can find a valuation guide for the item you are considering donating online, that is perfect. If not, you’ll need to do some of your own research. The items don’t have to be exactly the same, but search for similar items in places like eBay, or in thrift stores or consignment stores. Make sure you keep a record of where you found these prices as well as the date of when you found the valuation.
Getting your items appraised is not something that you will necessarily need to do for every item. In fact, you only really need to have an item appraised if the item is in less than good condition and you are claiming it for more than $500. If you are claiming it for over $500, and the item is in better than good condition, you shouldn’t need to get an appraisal. The other reason you may want to call an appraiser is if you are planning to be very generous and donate over $5,000 of used clothes in the span of one year.
Add It All Up
Once you have determined the fair market value of everything you are donating, remember that this will definitely be lower than what you paid for everything as a whole; all you need to do is add up their totals so you know exactly how much you are claiming. If you’re still unsure if you’ve correctly estimated the fair market value of your clothes, don’t be afraid to reach out for additional help. Your local tax advisor should be able to help you decide on a fair market price for all your donated items.
Fill Out the Correct Forms
By the time you have everything figured out, you’re probably ready to sign the forms and get your refund. The one you want to look out for is Form 1040, specifically Schedule A. This where you can list any itemized deductions that you have. You can list the total amount for your donated items, adjusted to be the fair market value, on line 17, “Gifts to Charity.”
If you have an item or collection of items that you are donating that is worth over $500, you will need to fill out another form as well. Form 8283 is the form that you’ll be looking for. You’ll need to write a more detailed description of the items you donated, as well as when and where you donated them. Remember that you will need an appraiser’s signature if you donated something worth over $500 that is in less than good condition. Similarly, if you are making a donation for the year that totals above $5,000, you will also need to have an appraiser’s signature.
Double Check Everything
There is a lot of information and numbers to keep track of throughout this entire process. Before you send anything in, make sure that you do a thorough search through all your documents and receipts. As with anything related to taxes, the more recording you can do along the way will help you in the long run. This is especially important, as the IRS is very thorough when it comes to charitable donations. The more accurate you are with your reporting, the less the likelihood of an audit.
We hope that this guide on how to itemize clothing donations for taxes has helped you understand the process a bit better so you can feel even better about donating your old garments. GreenDrop is here to help, whether you bring your donations to one of our many clothing donation centers or through home donation pickups.