Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Charity Donations

  1. Make an itemized list of what you donated. Try to be as specific as possible. It can also be helpful to take a couple digital pictures of your donations. It’s not required, but it can’t hurt!
  2. Here’s the hard part….It is up to you to figure out what your donations are worth. You have to determine the “Fair Market Value”. In layman’s terms, the fair market value is the price that the donated goods would sell for in a thrift store or on eBay or Craigslist. Here are some tools to help you determine the fair market value of your donations: (a) Check out the Donation Town Donation Valuation Guide; (b) Use the Salvation Army Valuation Guide or the Goodwill Valuation Guide; (c) Look up the value of an item on eBay or Craigslist – This is the best way to get the maximum value of a donation; (d) TurboTax has a great tool called It’s Deductible that will help you calculate your donation values.
  3. Make sure you get a receipt when you make your donation. Most of the charities that pick up donations will leave you a blank receipt for you to fill out. Paper clip the following items together and put them in with your tax return information for that year and/or give them to your CPA: (a) The itemized list of items you donated;  (b) Photos of the donated goods; (c) The valuation information that you used to calculate the fair market value; (d) The tax deduction receipt you received from the charity.
  4. As a final note, please remember that as a general rule your donations are only tax deductible for the calendar year that you physically make your donations. On January 1st of each year, all donations that you make from that point on will only be deductible for that year.