Get a Tax Deduction for Spring Cleaning
Dolores Kong

Spring is in the air and perhaps you're doing a bit
of spring cleaning right now by clearing out clothes
and shoes you don't wear anymore, or toys and games
your kids have outgrown. Why not get a federal tax
deduction for donating them to charity? While it's
too late to claim the deduction for the 2003 taxes,
why not get a jump on tax planning for 2004? Spring
cleaning and tax planning done all at once is a very
efficient use of time!

If you donate items worth a total of $500 or less,
you can write off those donations on Schedule A. If
you donate items worth more than that, you'll need
to also file Form 8283, "Noncash Charitable
Contributions", and attach it to your 2004 tax
return. If the charity doesn't provide a "thrift
shop value" for the donated goods, you can use such
other resources as the IRS' Publication 561,
"Determining the Value of Donated Property",; or a commercial
software program developed by the makers of Quicken,
available at

For more details on the federal tax breaks for
charitable contributions, see the IRS' Publication
Unfortunately, there's no Massachusetts tax break
for charitable donations any more. And you can
benefit from the federal tax break only if you
itemize deductions on Schedule A.