View Full Version : How much are book donations worth
12-19-2004, 11:43 AM
Hello. I am cleaning out the garage and am donating a bunch of books to charity. I have a receipt from the salvation army for a couple hundred books but I don't know how much they're worth. Is there a general rule of thumb for how much books are worth when they are donated to charity. They are mostly soft back fiction books. I don't want to go through the trouble of finding the worth of each book individually because I have a ton of books so I'm just looking for a general rule of thumb for deducting the books.
12-19-2004, 12:22 PM
well, certainly you could deduct what they sell them for at goodwill: 50 cents or $1 each, or whatever it is in your area.
can you call them worth what you originally paid for them, or do you have to depreciate books just like you would a car or computer?
12-19-2004, 12:27 PM
I'd say after a certain # of years old, call them what they sell them for at Goodwill. Ones that are under.. 2 years old maybe, I'd say the new price.
I spend a lot of time in used bookstores so I know that books older than a year or two don't sell for their original price. heh
12-19-2004, 01:14 PM
half.com could be a good reference.
12-19-2004, 01:48 PM
good idea... you certainly don't want to look up the price of every single one of those books on half.com, but nothing sells for less than 75 cents on half.com, so it's safe to say each book was worth at least that much.
12-19-2004, 02:04 PM
Turbo Tax Says:
How to Place a Value on Your Charitable Contributions
Some rules of thumb for determining the value of a charitable contribution of property, as a tax deduction.
Did you know that millions of taxpayers significantly overpay taxes year after year simply because they do not know how to accurately place a value on their charitable contributions? While it is your legal right to deduct the fair market value of the used clothing, toys, etc. that you donate to charity, determining that value is no easy task.
The rule is fairly simple: you can deduct the going price for an item given its condition at the time you donate it.
Here are some ways to estimate the value of your donation:
Find out what you could get for it at a garage sale, rummage sale, consignment shop, or thrift shop.
Check the classified ads in your newspaper for the price of a similar item.
Make a realistic assessment of the item: Was it in better condition or worse condition than those offered for sale? (If better, raise the value a little).
Use ItsDeductibleTM software.Â If you do not want to start surveying thrift and consignment stores in an effort to gather valuations for the many items that you donate, try ItsDeductible. ItsDeductible determines and assigns accurate valuations to thousands of commonly donated items, taking the guesswork out of valuing donations and ensuring that you maximize your tax savings. In fact, ItsDeductible guarantees $300 in tax savings. Visit Shop Intuit to learn more about this product.
If you are donating a major item such as a car, take a look at valuation services provided for that type of property. The Kelley Blue Book Web site has prices for most vehicles. For more information on how to value items you have donated to charity, see IRS publication 561: Determining the Value of Donated Property. (You can also request a free copy by calling the IRS at 1-800-TAX-FORM.)
After you set a value on the item you donated, keep records to show how you came up with that figure. You do not have to attach this information to your tax return, but if the IRS questions your estimate, you will want to be able to back up your estimate with some evidence.
12-19-2004, 05:51 PM
Just take the cover price for the books, add them up, then divide in half. That should be sufficient...I would think...
12-19-2004, 06:06 PM
These are old books so I'm not expecting too much for them but I am just too lazy to figure out how much each book is worth (heck, I'm giving them to goodwill in boxes and they're just estimating how many books they really are). Unfortunately, the people at goodwill won't give me a price estimate so I'm going to wait a week and then drive down there and look at how much they're charging for them. I was just wondering what accountants do when someone comes to them with a receipt saying that they've donated a couple hundred books. I've tried the IRS website instructions but they've just gave me a bunch of policies (I'm supposed to assume the fair market value or a couple other options) but not the actual numbers.
12-19-2004, 07:22 PM
Just say $10 per paper-box full...
12-19-2004, 08:31 PM
Cool thanks. Oh, and my apologies for not thanking you guys in the previous post... my error. Thank you all for your advice. :)
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