Let me start with the Professional Organizers’ Tax Advice Disclaimer: I am not a tax accountant. I am a Professional Organizer. I’m not telling you how to do your taxes or give you tax advice. That’s what your tax person is for. Seriously, did I mention that I am definitely NOT a tax person. If you need a taxy-type Organizer, I can introduce you to one. But still, not a tax adviser.
Having said that, we all know that one of the biggest, fattest incentives for getting rid of “stuff” is donating for that tax deduction!
So, here are a few little “tips” to give your tax person the info they need:
1) If you want a deduction, be sure to donate to a 501(c)3 and not some poser organization. Just ask whether or not donations to them are tax deductible and…
2) Get a receipt.
3) Write a quick note about what you donated. Sometimes the receipt will have a list to check.
4) I once had a client whose husband said she couldn’t donate the enormous pile she and I had spent a week accumulating because he wanted an itemized list for taxes. Our options were to put it all back or to leave it in the foyer until one of them got around to it. That was NOT going to happen on my watch! So I told her to take a photo of her pile. Easy peasy. List accomplished. She gave it to hubs who saved it in their tax file with their receipt. Probably unnecessary but easy and helpful. (And that stuff was outta there)!! 5) If you donate a car to an organization like NPR or flight miles to Make-A-Wish, they will be sooper helpful making sure your documentation is in order to benefit from deducting your gift.
And here’s a friendly little reality check:
1) Deduction value will be “determined by you and your tax professional,” but it will likely be less than you think it’s worth. Sorry.
2) Deductions often don’t make a difference in your taxes, unless you’re teetering on the brink of a higher tax bracket.
3) For you tax masochists, here’s a Salvation Army Value Guide, a list of items and their rough deductible value and the actual IRS regs for donating stuff: Eight Tips for Deducting Charitable Gifts.
If getting a tax deduction helps motivate you to clear your space and give to people or causes that will benefit from your gift, DO IT! But please donate, donate, donate to a group you love. I promise you will always get the warm and fuzzy value, no matter the write off value!
Happy Tax Time!