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How Donating Clothing to Goodwill Could Earn You a Tax Deduction

Jo Willetts Director of Tax Resources, Jackson Hewitt Published On August 28, 2019


The end of summer is a great time of year to get organized and accomplish some deep cleaning. School’s about to start, the weather’s lovely – what better time to get organized and, in doing so, potentially save a few bucks on your tax bill?

Doing Some Cleaning? Donate Your Clothing and Used Items for a Charitable Contribution Tax Break

If you’re looking to get some deep cleaning done this year, you might be able to make your efforts to declutter worthwhile. You’re probably already aware you can claim charitable cash contributions on your tax return – but did you know that tax reform changed the amount you can claim? You can now claim donations in the amount of up to 60% of your Adjusted Gross Income, up from 50% before tax reform. (If you’re giving cash, don’t forget to get a receipt for donations exceeding $250!)

Also, did you know that in addition to cash donations, you can also claim used items you want to donate? If you’re looking to donate used items to, say, the Salvation Army or Goodwill, you can claim the fair market value for these items on your tax return. That said, it might be a good time for you to start looking into KonMari-ing your house or apartment – do your kids’ old toys or that five-year-old flat-screen TV really spark joy?

You might donate clothing, toys, furniture, or anything else of value – as long as it’s in good condition. The IRS has a helpful guide to claiming charitable donations on your tax return, and it describes some of the types of items you can donate. For example, you can donate clothing and household items like furniture, electronics, appliances, and linens; however, you can’t donate paintings, antiques, other pieces of art, or jewelry. You can also, if you feel so inclined, donate a qualified vehicle, like a car, a boat, or even a plane.

And here’s something else to think about: If you’re prepared to donate your used items to a charity, but you know that charity is just going to sell those items and use the cash, why not simply sell the items yourself and just give the charity the cash? This can give the charity of your choice more options in terms of spending that money, and it might cut out any middlemen seeking to make a profit off your donations.

By donating your used items to the qualified charitable organization of your choice, not only are you doing something generous, you might also be sparing yourself some tax liability and saving yourself some money; it’s a win-win!

About the Author

Jo Willetts, Director of Tax Resources at Jackson Hewitt, has more than 25 years of experience in the tax industry. As an Enrolled Agent, Jo has attained the highest level of certification for a tax professional. She began her career at Jackson Hewitt as a Tax Pro, working her way up to General Manager of a franchise store. In her current role, Jo provides expert knowledge company-wide to ensure that tax information distributed through all Jackson Hewitt channels is current and accurate.

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