Just a friendly reminder: today is the last day you can make a donation in order to deduct it on your 2012 tax return. Here are the steps of how I go about preparing my items to be donated:
1. Clean Out Closets and Garages.
Make this simple on yourself since this is the last day and we are working with a deadline. Go through your closets and see what you have not worn in quite a while. Also, any items in these rooms either you are not that fond of or just do not feel like they can be repurposed for other needs. Give the garage a quick swipe of any items to be donated. Under normal circumstances, I personally keep a donation box under the closet below our stairs and when I come across something to donate I throw it in this box. Biannually, I will donate items in the box in order to stay on top of things.
2. List All Items
Now that you have all of your items gathered, I would get a piece of ruled paper or use Microsoft Excel to list your items. Here are how my columns appear: 1. Description of item 2. size of item 3. how many. In the description column, I write a very detailed description (wo/men’s or childs item with long sleeve (ls) or short sleeve (ss) and name brand of item.) I know it may sound tedious but after donating, one can easily forget items and you will need this detailed information for a later step.
3. Take Pictures
You can either take pictures of each item separately, do it by room or perhaps one big picture in your garage or drive way. I see these pictures as your insurance of specific items donated. Plus, it allows you to be able to recollect items if the description does not. If you end up with more than one picture, I copy and paste them onto a Powerpoint spreadsheet and print them out to include in my tax binder.
4. Drop Off
Now you can drop your items off at your local donation place. Be sure to get a donation receipt and sometimes the donation center person will either just give you a signed donation receipt or they will ask for you to fill out your name and address. At this time, I will quickly write a description of what I am donating i.e. clothes/shoes or home items, baby clothes. Just so they have it on their tangible copy.
5. Entering Items for Taxes
I use an online program by TurboTax called ItsDeductible, this online program allows you to accurately value your donated items plus it easily imports to Turbotax. This is why it is so important your descriptions are accurate so you can get the best value for your donated item. My favorite aspect of this online program is it is FREE!!!! Also, it allows you to track monetary donations versus just tangible items as well. To keep track of each time you donate, I ensure I do each donation by the donation date so all donations do not get lumped together on ItsDeductible.
Here is to deducting as much as possible and may you have a Happy New Year!!!