The value of used clothing and other property donations must reflect the fair market value at the time the contribution is made. Donations must be made to qualified charitable organizations, and the items must be in good condition or better in order for individuals to claim deductions, according to the IRS.
The fair market value of used clothing is the price a willing buyer and seller would agree upon under ordinary circumstances at the time of the donation. Individuals must use the amount a person would actually pay for each item, taking into consideration age, style and condition, when determining the value of a used clothing donation, says the IRS. Clothing and household item contributions are usually valued far below their original purchase price.
The Salvation Army publishes a comprehensive donation value guide, but individuals still need to evaluate the fair market value of the exact item in question. The value of a child's jacket, for example, ranges from $3 to $25, and a fur coat could be valued at $25 to $400. Taxpayers can track their donations using pen and paper or use one of several computer programs available, explains Bankrate.
Charitable donations that total more than $250 in a given year require written documentation containing at least the name of the organization and the date. This total includes cash contributions. Individuals who claim more than $500 in noncash contributions must also file IRS form 8283, states Bankrate. A single item of used clothing valued at $500 or greater requires a professional appraisal.