Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Taxes and Holiday Thrift Store Donations: How to Write it Off

Going through my final pile of things to sell/donate! My sanity and life is nearly reclaimed!

Thrift store donations increase exponentially during the Holidays. This is a good time to clear out your home for the new year while giving thrift store valuable merchandise. You realize these donations are tax deductible as well, right? Let's see if you can save on taxes next year!

Here's how you can easily write off those thrift store donations:

1) Is it Worth it?  Don't bother itemizing your deductions unless what you're donating for the season (or the year!) will be worth more than the Standard Deduction you receive from the IRS. You can get an estimate of what your standard deduction is on the IRS website.

1) Keep Track: With pen and paper in hand, keep track of what you're donating. You can divide what you're donating into groups like "kitchen supplies," "toys," and "clothing".

2) Estimate Value: Items must be valued at the amount the thrift store can sell it for or it's realistic yard sale value, NOT the retail value or what you paid for it.

3) Get a Receipt: Do not leave the thrift store without a receipt of what you've donated. The IRS can audit your return seven years after it's been filed, so keep your receipt on record for seven years. Yep, Tax Man's evil.

4) File it: Attach IRS Form 1040 Schedule A to your Tax Return to claim your deductions.

Choosing the Right Store: My main concern with donating is choosing the right organization. We've had discussions on the site about how we feel morally about stores like Goodwill raising prices when they're known as providers for the needy and Salvation Army being firmly against the LGBT community. I prefer to find indie thrift stores to donate, but I'd love for us to discuss...

Where do you feel is the best place to donate to? How do you determine which thrift store is good to make donations to?
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31 comments:

  1. I usually donate to a thrift store that's affiliated with a local church.All money raised goes to help those less fortunate in my city(like school supplies and coats for kids,hats/gloves/scarves for the homeless,Thanksgiving baskets, and Christmas gifts for the needy.)

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    1. Thanks for the thoughtful feedback, I need to investigate good churches in the area to give to.

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    2. When I go on rescue missions to find art, I take along nice things from our home to donate. When I find a store along the way that treats its art well, e.g., in bins or on the wall not on the floor, then I go around the back and drop off our extras. If they treat art well, they may treat other merchandise and customers and employess well.

      "All People Deserve Art"

      Rodney

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    3. That's a good way to determine where to donate, Rodney. I've subconsciously avoided (and hence avoided donating to) thrift stores that treat their merchandise like junk and just throw it on the shelves.

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  2. Van - I also donate to indie thrift stores or the ones directly affiliated with a woman's shelter, hospice, a church, or the humane society.

    I have become more anti-Goodwill these days...I stopped shopping there. Their claim is that they "provide jobs"...well, so do other businesses...one main difference is that GW receives their inventory for FREE!

    Of course, my other rants about GW are the increased prices for useless junk, competition for the resale market, etc...off my soapbox now. LOL!

    -PaMeLa ;)

    ~~~~

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    1. I love that people are pointing out the humane society thrifts, I'd forgotten about those and will make a point of supporting them more.

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  3. My stuff usually goes to my church thrift store where I work out or Goodwill. The Goodwill where I live has a drive thru drop off and they're open the latest, so it's really convenient to stop by after work.

    I really have no objections to where I donate but I'd also consider donating to your local DAV, as the proceeds go to help Veterans.

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    1. I do love it when drop-offs are open late as many of us work normal business hours and can't make it out to a thrift before it closes.

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  4. Wow, I had no idea about Salvation Army!! In the past I've just gone to the one closest to me, but after reading this (at least for donations sake) maybe I'll do more research.

    Back in Virginia at my parents house we donated to one that benefited a children's hospital. Here in Indiana where we are there is only Goodwill & Salvation Army.

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    1. I didn't know about the Salvation Army's stance until Harper let me know in the comments of a post where I wrote about thr Salvation Army in Puerto Rico. Salvation Armies really do reach out to help the needy, but it's fair to know where they stand morally. It certainly affects where we donate our wares/time/money.

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  5. In Canada thrift store donations are not tax deductible unfortunately. They are just thinking of changing a law that would allow restaurants to donate rather than throw out food to the less fortunate and receive a tax donation. Something has to give!

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    1. I didn't know that! Thanks for informing me. I'm all for the donating of food and allowing that to be deductible! Giving is rewarding on it's own but it's nice to have extra incentives, too.

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  6. There's a humane society thrift store in Jax right around the corner from my Dad's place. They donate there all the time and I've shopped there when I come down and visit. Nice place and their money goes straight to the animal shelter. You might know it-- blue building, if I remember right.

    We donate to our local Goodwill.. The prices at our small town's Goodwill have stayed low and I have seen stuff I donated remain at the store. Kind of fun to see my stuff hanging on the racks or on the shelves. We know the workers there and they give us discounts or let our kids pick a toy for free, so we are happy to donate there.

    We're getting ready to donate a car-load's worth of stuff, too! Not only is it a good time to donate before the end of the year, it's also a good time to shop with the rush of donations coming in!! Fun fun!

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    1. I love that Thrift Store and even volunteered there once. I completely forgot about it when I was out donating, gotta make it out there next time. They're really organized, friendly and pretty fair with their prices.

      I love donating and making a little more room for new stuff ;)

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    2. I admire SA for standing fast on what they believe. It's not like they are raising money to promote anti-gay bigotry.

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    3. Salvation Armies around the world have put money into getting signatures for anti-gay bills and petitions. They've also tried to use their status as a Church to deny gay employees benefits. I won't deny they do good for the world.

      The Canadian Salvation Army contacted me at let me ask them questions for the site (http://www.thriftcore.com/2011/05/salvation-army-canada-interview.html) and the Director of Puerto Rico's Salvation Army stores talked to be personally about what they do to help people in need in their community (http://www.thriftcore.com/2012/11/salvation-army-in-puerto-rico-true.html).

      When I talked with these individuals I didn't know about their LGBT stance. Discrimination hits home for me and hits hard, and I cannot support Salvation Army in good conscience any longer. Knowing the good Salvation Army does, I wouldn't berate those who do donate their time/money/wares to the organization, though.

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  7. Salvation Army, despite their stance on the LGBT community, does amazing charity work here at the local level, and they do NOT have a policy of refusing help to anyone in need, be they gay or otherwise. A person in need is a person in need, regardless of sexual orientation.

    The independent watchdog group, CharityWatch, has Salvation Army among its top ratings (A/A-) partly because 80% of its money is spent on services and programs.

    I find it off-putting the way armchair moralists bully people who support the Salvation Army - including harassing the volunteers ringing the bell. Why pick on volunteers and charitites? It's a private organization whose mission is to do good by its own charter.

    I have met people who would rather tear the whole organization down (to hell with the people who depend on them) just so that they can be smug about their own justice policy.

    People should be free to chose where their charity money goes without harassment and also to start any charity organization with whatever charter mission they want, including ones specifically helping the LBGT community.

    If I want to donate to Salvation Army because I support the local charity work they do, let me do so instead of trying to make me feel guilty for not picking a "righter" one. If people want to boycott Chick-Fil-A for their stance, by all means do so - their mission is profit, not charity work. However, I urge people to be more generous with charity organizations. Boycott them if your consciousness say you must, but stop bullying their donors and berating their overall charity mission.

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    1. In my heart I cannot support them for their LGBT stance, but I wouldn't go out of my way to protest or bully their mission. I've seen the good they can do for people and communities.

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    2. They will help you if you are gay, yes, but you have to be celibate.

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    3. I did read that information before, but can't find it stated on the Salvationarmyusa.org site anymore. If it's true, unmarried straight couples that aren't celibate should be denied assistance as well since the bible states sex is for procreation only.

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  8. I guess it's important, too, to understand what you mean about The Salvation Army being "being firmly against the LGBT community", and what your notion of what the organisation actually is.

    There is a staggering amount of incorrect information on the web in this regard

    Many of the blogposts and news stories that usually have a spike over the Christmas period are so full of errors and omissions that you have to wonder about their credibility.

    J

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    1. Agreed, I've been careful to use the most credible sources I can to make my decision. You can read the good and bad about the organization on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvation_army

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    2. Interesting that this came out yesterday:

      http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/6/vilifying-the-salvation-army-harms-mission-of-char/#.UMIS1QSWGMH.twitter

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    3. I can only hope William Roberts is telling the truth in the article, but I'm not convinced. Thanks for sharing, Johnny.

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  9. I do not donate often, but when I do it's to Value Village, the evil for profit thrift store that everybody seems to hate outside the thrifting world. The Goodwill a couple blocks from my house, doesn't accept donations & I don't donate to SA. I usually now donate to Talize, money goes to Children's Wish Foundation.
    We don't have Humane Society Thrift here. Wish we did.

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    1. I used to donate to vv, now Talize.

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    2. We don't have Value Village or a Talize down in Florida. I'm curious to explore them one day...

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    3. If you ever come to Toronto, let me know & I'll bring you on a thrift Extravaganza across downtown & the Greater Toronto Area! (GTA).

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  10. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to
    make your point. You definitely know what youre talking
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  11. I'm so glad I inspired this. They look amazing and I know you are going to enjoy them for a long time. This is really an interesting blog as it focuses on the very important topic. i came to know about so many things or tips. tax Preparation

    ReplyDelete

I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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