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IRS Rules for Charitable Contributions

Saul Brenner, CPA, J.D., LL.M. 05.07.2015 | eVisor

For the charity-minded, here are rules for donations which have been updated and revised in recent years.

Donating Household Items: These items include furniture, furnishings, electronics, appliances, and linens. To be tax deductible, clothing and household items must be in good, used condition or better. If you claim a deduction of over $500 for a particular article of clothing or household item, you do not have to meet this standard if you include a qualified appraisal of the item with the return. For all gifts worth $250 or more, you must get a written acknowledgement from the charity that includes a description of the items contributed.

Donating Cars, Boats, or Airplanes: The deduction is usually limited to the gross proceeds from the sale, if the claimed value exceeds $500.

Donating Money: This can be done in cash, by check, or via electronic funds transfer, credit card, or payroll deduction. Regardless of the amount donated, you must have a bank record or a written statement from the charity in order to take the deduction.  The record must include the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution.

Contributions are deductible in the year they are made. Only donations to eligible organizations are tax deductible.  Select Check, an online tool available on, lists most organizations that are eligible to receive deductible contributions. 

Questions? Contact your Berdon advisor or Saul Brenner at 212.331.7630 |

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