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Determining the Donation Value of In-Kind Donations

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  • January 28, 2019

When you make an in-kind contribution to a charity, that charity is not allowed to determine or tell you how much your donated item is worth. It’s worth noting that when establishing the value of donations, the IRS utilizes “fair market value” which is determined based on the condition of your in-kind gifts, both big and small. Since “good” condition is subjective, determining where your donations fall on the scale can become a complicated and nuanced process that may not be worth your time across the board. Let’s consider the general guidelines for common in-kind donations.

Household Appliances

As one of the likely larger donations you’ll be making to a charity, household appliance values can be especially challenging to determine. The 2018 range for an electric stove, for example, was between $75 and $150, based on condition. A washing machine was very similar, from $50-$150.

Furniture

When you start considering the furniture donation category, things become far more complicated. With an endless amount of variables in this category – condition, style, furniture type – determining an estimated value requires that you use your best judgement. A coffee table in excellent condition, for example, would be valued between $50 and $65 while a chair would fall in the $25 to $100 range.

High-Value Items

Are you donating a nice piece of jewelry to your favorite charity? Be sure to have it appraised, the IRS recommends that anything valued at over $5k be appraised. Depending on how high of a value your donated items are, you may need to fill out and submit Form 8283 detailing the value of your donation.

When determining how to determine the donation value of the in-kind donations you’ve made in the past year, be sure to consider what the standard deduction is for your filing status. If you’ve already reached it, it’s likely not worth the time to itemize the value of your in-kind donations.

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