How to Get Furniture Appraised for Tax Write-Offs

The Internal Revenue Service allows you to deduct the value of furniture you donate to qualified charities. If the value of the furniture is less than $5,000, you won’t need an appraisal to write off your donation. However, if the value is more than $5,000, as is often the case with antique or collectible items, you must have the furniture appraised before you make the contribution. The appraiser must be qualified by IRS standards and have experience performing furniture valuations.

Step 1

Select an appraiser. In most cases, qualified appraisers must be recognized as having special competency in furniture valuations from a professional appraisal organization. Visit the website of a national appraisers association, such as the Appraisers Association of America or the International Society of Appraisers to find an appraiser in your area that meets this IRS requirement. The appraiser must not be a party to your donation or have a vested interest in the value of your furniture, nor can the appraiser’s fees be based on the value of your furniture.

Step 2

Contact the appraiser to schedule the valuation. The appraisal may not be more than 60 days old when you donate the furniture. If you acquire an appraisal and wait longer than 60 days to make the donation, you’ll need a new appraisal. In most cases, the appraiser will come to the address where the furniture is located to perform the valuation.

Step 3

Obtain an Appraiser’s Declaration. The IRS doesn’t require you to send the actual appraisal with your tax return, but the appraiser must sign a declaration which states he is qualified to make the valuation and is not a party to your donation. Download IRS Form 8283 from the IRS website and take it to your appraiser. Your appraiser will sign the “Declaration of Appraiser” section on page 2, Part III of the form. You’ll provide the original declaration to the IRS, but keep a copy of the signed declaration and appraisal report with your records.

Tip

  • If you don't need an appraisal to write off your furniture, download a valuation guide from the Salvation Army or Goodwill. These guides list value ranges accepted by the IRS for furniture donations.

Photo Credits

  • antique mahogany chair image by Margrit Hirsch from Fotolia.com

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