How do you claim donated items?


Quick Answer

To claim a tax deduction on donated items, donate to a qualified organization, keep records of donations and file Form 1040. The IRS Publication 526 defines what makes up a qualified charitable organization.

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Full Answer

Donations to charitable organizations include cash, household items, clothing, vehicles, merchandise, and goods and services. Household items and clothing are generally required to be in good condition to qualify for a deductible. Contributions made to political candidates, political organizations and individuals are not deductible.

Next, keep payroll deduction records or bank records. Bank records may include credit card statements, bank or credit union statements and canceled checks. Other important documents include a note from the organization detailing the amount and date of the contribution and the name of the organization. One may also write a list of donated items, their value at the time of donation and a description of how the value is determined. This helps to claim deductions when leaving donations at an unattended drop site for a charitable organization.

File Form 1040 and detail the deduction on the Schedule A section of the form. Donations are only deductible in the year the donor makes them. Government agencies, mosques, churches, temples and synagogues are eligible for deductible donations. The IRS website provides a list of organizations eligible for deductible donations although the list is not exhaustive.

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