I realize everyone’s crazed about the holidays but a quick way to save on your taxes is to donate clothes and household items to charity. Note that tax savings only apply if you itemize on your taxes. However just because you can’t deduct it doesn’t mean you can’t give. If you don’t itemize you’re still helping the less fortunate by cleaning out your home.
Once the holidays are over from December 26-31st you still have time to go through your closets, drawers and kitchen and collect items you no longer need or use. It’s also a great way to get rid of gifts you received that you know you’ll never use and that cannot be returned.
Start by getting a shopping bag(s) and move through your home adding unused items. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn it or used it in a year it needs to go.
As you go, make a list of the items your adding into the bags. You don’t have to list each similar item separately just list “10 shirts” etc. I tally for each category. When you make your drop off you will write down all of these items on your receipt.
For any non-cash donation over $250, you’ll need to have a letter from the charity acknowledging the gift before you file your tax return.
A good way to value your items is to use this guide from Goodwill. Or this guide from the Salvation Army. The value you claim is generally what you would get if you sold it. So even though you paid $100 for shoes you barely wore they aren’t worth anything close to that any more. Be realistic in your valuations. No tax deduction is worth an audit. I would ere on the very conservative side. Here are some tips from the IRS.
Here are the two drop off locations where you can get a receipt:
Goodwill Store & Donation Center
1201 W. Washington Blvd.
Hours: Sun: 10:00am to 7:00pm; Mon-Sat: 9:00am to 8:00pm
Salvation Army Family Store & Donation Center
2270 N Clybourn Avenue
Hours: Sun: Closed; Mon-Sat: 8:00am to 10:00pm