Preparing for Tax Season: Donating for Deductions

The last article from one of LSIN's partners talked about how to avoid tax scams. This time, learn how to maximize deductions on your tax return by donating unwanted items to your local donation center. It's a great way to combine spring cleaning and tax season: a win-win situation all around!


Anything that you donate to charity can be used as a deduction on your tax return (make sure to get a receipt!). Donating to charity can mean sending money to good causes, but it can also mean getting rid of an old couch, a set of antique chairs that have been sitting in the garage, a road bike you had good intentions to use, the bunk bed frame your grandchildren have outgrown... you get the idea. The monetary value of any items you donate is what you can use to lower your tax payment.

Is there a storage closet somewhere in your life with old skeletons from past shopping sprees? Time to dig them out! They may be worth something to you in April. 

If you already have some items in mind, you may be wondering where to drop them off. Here's a tip: there are better and worse places to go, especially if you have high-value items. Not all centers are created equal!

If you have lots of small, low-value items

Try Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and other classic names. These places will make a quick assessment of your item's value based on its category and give you a receipt. If your item is special, collectible, or rare, you're unlikely to receive the full value. If it's not, these places are fine. There's no need to spend extra time hunting down a more specialty donation center.

If you have a few high-value items

On the other hand, if you do happen to have a set of antique chairs, you may want to seek out a smaller, independently-owned donation center to take them. These places are more likely to spend time generating an accurate assessment of your item's value, which will work in your favor on your tax return. Loudoun County has plenty of small places like these and a quick Google search should find some close to you.

For more advice on maximizing your "donation deductions," head over to this original post written by The Organizing Mentors.

LSIN Admin