If you’re one of the taxpayers who itemize, charitable contributions can be a great way to reduce your taxable income. In addition to money you give to nonprofit causes you support throughout the year, you can also claim items you donate. In particular, that closet full of clothing that no longer fits can actually be donated, with the value of the items claimed on your taxes.
To itemize your clothing donation, you’ll first determine the fair market value and then use IRS Form 8283.
About the Clothing Donation Tax Deduction
Clothing donations are taxable as long as you itemize on your taxes. However, there are documentation requirements attached to them. If it all possible, it’s best to get a receipt to serve as proof that you made the donation, although you aren’t required to have one if a donation’s fair market value totaled $250 or less and it was impractical to get one (using a clothing bin for example). If the donation is $250 or more, you’ll need written documentation of the donation that includes the name of the organization, donation amount and a description of the items. If you need help determining the fair market value of your clothing items, check the Goodwill Donation Value Guide.
Clothing Donation Exceptions
Unfortunately, not every charitable donation is tax deductible. If you gave your unused clothing to a friend, for instance, you can’t claim it on your taxes, even if your friend lost all her clothing in a disaster. You can claim a Goodwill tax deduction, as well as deductions if you donate to organizations like the Salvation Army, as well as many crisis centers. If you aren’t sure, the IRS maintains a database called the Tax Exempt Organization Search. You can enter your city and state and get a list of qualifying nonprofits in your area.
2018 Taxes and Standard Deductions
Before you go the extra mile to get a receipt, you’ll want to pay close attention to the standard deduction. It has seen such a substantial increase, you may find that itemizing isn’t worth it. Starting in 2018, the standard deduction for single filers is $12,000, and married couples filing jointly will have a $24,000 standard deduction. Unless you have a long list of deductions, those clothing donations may not even put you close to what you can get without itemizing.
Claiming Donations on Your 2017 Taxes
If you’re filing your 2017 taxes, use a clothing tax deduction calculator to determine if your donations help you exceed the $6,350 standard deduction ($12,700 for married couples filing jointly). If so, gather your paperwork and list your clothing deductions on Form 8283.
- Goodwill: IRS Guidelines
- IRS: Form 8283 Noncash Charitable Contributions
- IRS: Charitable Contributions - Written Acknowledgments
- Goodwill of Northern New England: Donation Value Guide - What is my Donation Worth?
- IRS: Tax Exempt Organization Search (formerly Select Check)
- Forbes: New: IRS Announces 2018 Tax Rates, Standard Deductions, Exemption Amounts And More
- IRS: Publication 526
- Online tools ItsDeductible and DeductionPro allow you to record and assign valuations to your donations throughout the year. With ItsDeductible, at tax time, your list of donations with valuations can be easily imported to the charitable deduction section of Schedule A (Itemized Deductions) in your online return. CharityDeductions.com also allows you to create donation lists with valuations.
- Don't forget to get a dated receipt from the charity when you donate. Attaching the list of donated items to the organization's receipt is a good way to track your donation activity for the year.
- If you end up donating items worth more than $500, you have to file IRS Form 8283, to which you can attach your itemized lists for the year.
Stephanie Faris has written about finance for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2013. She spent nearly a year as a ghostwriter for a credit card processing service and has ghostwritten about finance for numerous marketing firms and entrepreneurs. Her work has appeared on The Motley Fool, MoneyGeek, Ecommerce Insiders, GoBankingRates, and ThriveBy30.