Sell or do­nate used stuff?

Cecil Whig - - & & -

SELL THE STUFF. There are sev­eral ways to sell your stuff, none of which guar­an­tee suc­cess. I hosted my fi­nal garage sale sev­eral years ago, which brought great dis­ap­point­ment. I had care­fully cleaned, priced and dis­played ev­ery item. Af­ter be­ing met with way too many of­fers of, “Would you take five bucks for ev­ery­thing?” most of it was still left at the end of a very long, hot, dis­ap­point­ing day. So we hauled it to a do­na­tion bin.

But don’t let my ex­pe­ri­ences dis­suade you. De­pend­ing on what your stuff is, you may find suc­cess with Craigslist, eBay or lo­cal buy-and­sell groups. DO­NATE THE STUFF. I am a big fan of do­nat­ing good-qual­ity stuff to char­i­ties that are do­ing good in the world. I know that my stuff is go­ing to get to where it is needed most. That’s my first re­ward. The se­cond re­ward is that the IRS com­pen­sates us for do­ing it.

By do­nat­ing used items to qual­i­fied char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions, my hus­band and I eas­ily claim thou­sands of dol­lars in valid tax de­duc­tions on our in­come tax re­turn. And we do this con­fi­dently and legally. Ev­ery year, we fol­low the guide­lines in a sim­ple work­book called “Money for Your Used Cloth­ing” that is pro­duced by our friends, tax pro­fes­sion­als Wil­liam R. Lewis and Con­nie S. Ed­mond. Each year, they send teams to au­dit thrift stores and sec­ond­hand stores through­out the coun­try and cer­tify mar­ket value for used items. This is im­por­tant be­cause the IRS al­lows us to deduct on the true mar­ket value of each item we do­nate, but we have no way of de­ter­min­ing that value. And mar­ket value changes, so we won’t dare use the num­bers from, say, 2014 for our 2016 re­turn.

Once I regis­ter our “Money for Your Used Cloth­ing Tax Year 2016” work­book , we have an Au­dit Pro­tec­tion Guar­an­tee.


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