Rules for charitable contributions of clothing and household items

To be tax-deductible, clothing and household items donated to charity generally must be in good used condition or better. A clothing or household item for which a taxpayer claims a deduction of more than $500 does not have to meet this standard if the taxpayer includes a qualified appraisal of the item with the return.

Donors must get written acknowledgement from the charity for all gifts worth $250 or more that includes, among other things, a description of the items contributed. Household items include furniture, furnishings, electronics, appliances and linens.

Guidelines for monetary donations
To deduct any charitable donation of money, regardless of amount, a taxpayer must have a bank record or a written communication from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. Bank records include canceled checks, bank or credit union statements, and credit card statements. Bank or credit union statements should show the name of the charity, the date and the amount paid. Credit card statements should show the name of the charity, the date and the transaction posting date.

Donations of money include those made in cash or by check, e-funds transfer, credit card, and payroll deduction. For payroll deductions, the taxpayer should retain a pay stub, a W-2 or other document from the employer showing the total amount withheld for charity, along with the pledge card showing the name of the charity. For more information contact Robert Burch (773) 779-4447 or irs.gov

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