January 3, 2014 : Kali Hawlk – Guest Contributor
Make the Most of Unwanted Holiday Gifts
Ed note: Sure, you love your Great Aunt Bea, but that sweater she bought you, maybe not so much. Instead of trying to regift some of the odd presents you received this year, consider donating them. Here are a few tips on making that happen, all while receiving a write-off on next year’s tax return.
As sure as Santa will eat those cookies you left out by the fire, you’re bound to be gifted some unwanted items this holiday season. Thanks to receiving things you already have or stuff you simply don’t need to add to the clutter in your home, you’ll be tempted to pass off your less desireable gifts to others who may want them more than you do.
Before you re-wrap your presents, consider turning them into multitaskers instead. By donating them to a charity of your choice, they can serve those in need, and you can consider your donation as a tax write off for next year’s return.
When it comes to donating to charities many people simply give cash or checks. But most organizations and nonprofits will accept donations in a wide variety of forms, including goods, services, time and labor, and volunteer efforts. When it comes to accepting items like the ones you’ll want to regift, make sure it is in good condition and serviceable.
By “regifting” presents you either don’t want or need, you’re able to give back to your community, make sure your item is placed into the hands of someone who will put it to good use and extend the giving spirit of the holidays beyond the last couple weeks of the year.
There are a few things to keep in mind when donating items to charities if you’re planning to write off those gifts on your taxes. Be sure to ask for and keep receipts for your donations. It’s smart to keep detailed records so you can prove you earned your write off by donating to an approved charity, in case the IRS performs an audit.
If the goods you’re giving are worth more than $500, you’ll need to fill out IRS form 8283. You can ask your H&R Block tax professional to help you sort through your donations to ensure you’re filling out all the correct paperwork.
Where should you donate? There are many options. You could drop by a local Goodwill, church or shelter to see if they have a need for your items. Or use the Internet to help you find the perfect charitable match. The Giving Effect has a directory of charities and their needs, or if you have gift cards that you aren’t interested in using, you could donate them to places like Gift Card Giver.
This holiday season, donate those unwanted presents to a good cause instead of regifting to someone who probably has their own presents they’re looking to give away. You will not only help those who truly need it, but you’ll save on next year’s tax bill.