A couple times a year, I get a whim to de-clutter my life. Go through all the closets, cabinets and drawers and figure out what I really need to keep and realistically, what can I live without. It’s an invigorating and almost cleansing time, driven not only by the need for “less stuff, more space”, but also the idea that someone else could benefit and even enjoy something I donated. So, I take on the daunting task of facing the tough questions…do I really need this, when was the last time I used/wore this…and really, I’m not getting back into my “skinny jeans” any time soon.
The good news is there may be a silver lining in the way of non-cash charitable donations. This is actually a win-win for you if you itemize on your taxes, making you eligible for a deduction, saving you money. And, even better, you can feel good knowing you donated your valuable items to a worthy charity. The big question is how valuable are they? Surprisingly, most people underestimate the value of their donations, missing out on savings in the way of deductions at tax time. To the rescue is a great free online tool I’ve used to help answer the question of how much is my “stuff” worth.
It’s called ItsDeductible and you can check out for yourself online. If you do a lot of donations throughout the year, I’d suggest trying the online version as it allows you to add information whenever you want, all year round, then transfer that information right into TurboTax when you’re ready. There’s a nifty online toolbar that you can download and use with Internet Explorer. This allows you to simply add in a donation whenever you want without even going to the website. However, if you prefer to do it all at tax time, that’s an option too as ItsDeductible is included in TurboTax Deluxe and above.
There’s some cool features you get with ItsDeductible, including:
- Easily tracks thousands of donated items, as well as mileage, cash, bonds, and mutual funds.
- Provides resale values for your non-cash donations, based on the style and condition of the item.
- Instantly imports to TurboTax Deluxe and above at tax time, and fills out the right tax forms for you.
- Add donations any time- 24/7, 365 days a year.
- Helps reduce your risk of an audit with values based on IRS guidelines.
- Get fast answers to your donation questions for free with TurboTax Live Community.
In addition to the free TurboTax Live Community, which allows you access to tax questions and answers, you can now view videos to help you get the most of your charitable donations and even share your own video to help others.
For those of you on the ball…you can kick start your donations for next year, beginning January 1, 2010, by entering your 2010 item donations.