Time for Summer Cleaning and Charitable Giving

Tax Deductions and Credits

One of my favorite parts about summer is being able to open the windows and breathe in the fresh air. There’s something very relaxing and uplifting about being able to open your windows and invite the world into your home and I welcome it each summer, as long as I’m patient enough to wait for the allergy season to pass! After months of being stuck inside because it’s too cold outside, I welcome warmer weather and a chance to do a little tidying around the house. It’s easy to accumulate things so the idea of summertime cleaning always appeals to me.

Charitable donations
Charitable donations

Fortunately, Uncle Sam has the same idea and if you do things right, you can clean out your home and get a nice tax deduction for your trouble when you file your taxes. As you go through your home and clear out your clutter, don’t forget the less fortunate. After all, what you don’t want cluttering up your home can be a treasure to someone else – and a tax deduction for you.

Remove Clutter from Your Home

As you do summertime cleaning, keep an eye out for items you don’t use anymore. Will you seriously use that exercise bike? That old sports equipment? Do you have clothing that you don’t wear anymore? Books that you are slowly replacing with electronic versions? All of these items can be donated to a local thrift store or other charity organization.

Removing clutter from your home can provide you with the chance to carefully consider your relationship with stuff, downsize some of your lifestyle, and create more space in your house. To make the process more manageable, concentrate on one area at a time, breaking the task down into smaller pieces.

I like to put little used items into a box. If I don’t touch the items for the next month, or two or six, I just take the box out to Goodwill and make a donation. If I don’t use something for six months, chances are I won’t use it ever again.

Donate Your Clutter for a Tax Deduction

As you clean your home, consider the condition of your items. If you want a tax deduction, the items you donate must be in good condition. Be honest about each item, setting aside the items in good condition for donation, and preparing the items in poor condition for disposal (recycling if possible). Keep track of the market value of the items you plan to donate.  You can use ItsDeductible to track the value of your charitable donations year-round.

When you take your donation to the charitable organization, ask for a receipt. In order to deduct the value of donated goods, you need to document details of the donations. Some organizations will only issue you a receipt if you ask for it, so remember to ask because you are required to have a receipt for your charitable contribution.

File the receipt in a folder meant for tax documents. That way you will know right where your documents are and you won’t have to worry about trying to find the receipt at tax time.

Lastly, you can claim the deduction if you itemize your deductions and you’ll get a fraction of its value as a tax deduction, depending on your tax bracket. If you claim the standard deduction, you won’t be able to get a tax deduction for charitable donations.

Summertime can be a good time to remove clutter, providing you with an orderly home. On top of that, you can also help others. Donating your goods can help a charity by providing needed supplies, or provide items for sale in a thrift store to fund charitable activities. Not only can you help others, but you can also help yourself with a tax deduction. You can deduct the dollar amount of the value of your donated goods, resulting in a reduction in your tax liability. Your new beginning can help you at tax time, and provide a new beginning for others.

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