The holidays are an unmistakable reminder to maximize end-of-year tax deductions. And if you can help brighten a child’s holiday at the same time, well, what’s better than that? By donating toys to charities this holiday season, you have the opportunity to do just that. Provided you itemize your deductions, toy donations to the following organizations (and many more) can be written off on your 2010 tax return:
Toys For Tots
One of the better-known toy charities operating during the holiday season is Toys For Tots. Run by the U.S. Marines, Toys For Tots collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December of each year with the goal of distributing them to less fortunate youngsters all across America.
If you’re looking for a charity that is unquestionably legitimate and has never even remotely been linked to scams, this is it. Toys For Tots has been around since 1947, consistently ranks in Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Philanthropy 400 and was named “Outstanding Non-Profit Organization Of The Year” by the DMA Non-Profit Federation in 2003. Toys For Tots offers a comprehensive list of ways to donate here.
Toys ‘R Us
Toys R’ Us is another holiday season toy donation option. In addition to accepting donations in many areas on behalf of Toys For Tots, Toys ‘R Us has consistently collected toy donations of its own from nearby citizens during the latter months of each year. Customers are also encouraged to donate new, unwrapped toys at Babies ‘R Us and Toys ‘R Us Express locations.
As an added encouragement to donate, Toys ‘R Us assures donors that “all toy donations made at “R”Us stores will be distributed locally, so every toy donation made will directly benefit needy children in your area.” Donors are also provided with receipts (for deduction purposes) whether they donate online or in stores.
If there is no Salvation Army in your area, there is probably a Goodwill center instead. These two organizations serve largely the same purpose: providing donated, good-quality items to the nearby poor for free or at vastly reduced prices. Like Salvation Army, Goodwill stores happily accept donations of new or gently used toys and will provide you with all the tax-related documentation you might need.
Use the Goodwill Locator to find a location near you. Also, have TurboTax donate $5 to Goodwill on your behalf on Facebook from now till Dec. 31, 2010.
The Toy Bank
Since The Toy Bank program took off in 2003, over $50 million in new toys have been donated and distributed to hundreds of children’s charities. The program, run by Toy Industry Foundation, works with nearly 400 charities including Ronald McDonald House Charities and My Stuff Bags Foundation (which serves foster children.) Additionally, The Toy Bank has relationships with dozens of special needs schools, military families and at-risk children.
In short, there is no doubt that toys contributed to The Toy Bank will reach worthy and deserving recipients this holiday season.
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Another reliable option for holiday toy donations is Ronald McDonald House Charities. On a webpage devoted exclusively to their Toy & Food Donation Program, RMHC explains that they welcome any or all of the following:
- Board games
- Stuffed animals and dolls
- Books for various reading levels
- Video games (rated E)
- Movies (rated G)
- Balls and outdoor games
The only requirement is that these toys be new and store-bought (handmade toys are not welcome.) If you want to help kids in your area specifically, use the chapter locator to find wish lists of children nearby.
Finding Other Charities
There are countless other charities to donate toys to this holiday season. To find them, consider the following resources: