You can donate your time, money and of course certain products in good condition that you no longer use. However, it’s the products that seem to be so puzzling for many people. If the item is relatively costly, you may want to write it off as a tax deduction. While a 501(c)3 charity will give you a receipt, it’s your job to prove to the IRS at the end of the tax year that the item was worth a certain amount of money. This will require research and documenting like items/years/conditions and preferably taking photos before making a donation.
However, many people are also surprised to find out just what variety of items are eligible for donations. In certain instances, you might be able to donate healthcare items such as CPAP accessories or other monitoring devices. Check with your local hospital or care facility; they’ll likely have leads and recommendations.
Here are a few other items you should think twice before trashing or recycling:
1. Your car
Is there no way your lemon could ever make lemonade? In some instances donating a junker is a better move than trying to sell it (even for scraps). There are many charities including Goodwill who will haul off your car and give you a receipt to write it off. The IRS may consider vehicles a loss, and this is a great move if you’re on the border between tax brackets. Follow Entrepreneur’s tips on how to hire an accountant, and check to make sure this is the wisest move for your car.
2. Your old eyeglasses
There are a few charities which accept prescription eyeglasses, but the Lions Foundation is one of the most prevalent. They have chapters in most major cities and a collection box in various spots around town. If your prescription has changed or you’re just tired of your specs, donate them to a foundation that refurbishes them and supplies them (for free) to those who can’t afford it.
3. Your bone marrow
You might not think of this as an “item”, but bone marrow donors save lives every day. Registration is simple and can be done via mail with a cheek swab sample. In especially high demand are ethnic and racial minorities (you’re more likely to match with someone who shares your heritage). If you do get matched with someone in need, it’s a relatively fast, safe and pain-free process and you won’t be held liable for any medical costs.
Want to find out how you can benefit financially from donating? Visit the IRS’ site for tips and advice.