Downsizing? There’s a charity for that

You have spent a lifetime carefully choosing your furnishings to make your home comfortable and a reflection of your personality. But, it is time to minimize and you don’t know what to do with your furniture, art, antiques and collectibles. Did you know that you can donate “things” too? It is called a noncash charitable donation.

I recently worked with a client moving from a 3,000 sq. ft., 5-bedroom house, filled with high-end vintage furniture, antiques, fine art, and momentos. Everything represented a cherished memory. And, when it came time to decide what would make the cut to the 2-bedroom condo, every choice was a bit crushing. Somethings were obvious…the 12-person dining table, the 8 ft. breakfront, the sectional sofa. Somethings were a bit harder…the 12-setting Christmas china, the record collection, the commissioned art.

But, a tax deduction did soften the blow a bit. Knowing that his treasures would be valued for their worth AND given another life with an appreciative recipient helped. In this case, my client was making a donation to his alma mater. The university had just acquired a private home which would house visiting guests and dignitaries, which needed furnishings.

The first step was to determine if the university was an eligible donee (you can search the IRS site for tax exempt organizations), verify that the donation fulfills the school’s mission (ask your accountant about the “related use” rule,) and confirm that the institution can accept the donation (it is not always able to accept for reasons of space, insurance or condition.)

Once those three terms were met, he engaged Antiquestor Personal Property Appraisals. An appraisal is necessary to substantiate claimed values $5,000 and over per category. Along with understanding how the appraisal needs to be presented to the IRS, Antiquestor helps navigate the 8283 form, attach the right documentation, get the right signatures and fill in the correct dates.

In the end, my client felt fulfilled by supporting his alma mater, found a good home for his cherished items (which were transported by the school–a significant financial savings,) didn’t have to physically disperse the items (a significant time savings) and got a tax deduction on that year’s return. It is a win-win for all parties. Contact Antiquestor Personal Property Appraisals to see how we can help you make a noncash charitable donation.