Let me first preface this post by saying I am not a tax adviser, nor am I trained to give tax advice – there I said it! My disclaimer – I sure don’t want anyone calling me up to help them with a tax audit.
The other day my husband and I did an activity we do about 3 times per year and I just wondered how many others do it, or even knew to do it. (yeah, I know….you could insert many different things here, but this is not that kinda website gals!)
When I was a single mom I always donated my used items to the local Goodwill. I kept receipts and lists of the items and then I could take the donated amounts off my taxes. It takes a little work to keep track of it all and you have to know how to complete the form for donated items for the IRS, but I find it is well worth my time. When I got married, my husband had never done this – never kept track of his donations for tax purposes. He donated, yeah – but it ended there.
After some talking, I convinced him to try it “my way”. With all the changes in the deductions, it was going to require a little more work, but we tried it. After gathering all our items together, we took a few pictures and then went through item by item listing them on an excel spreadsheet with the item, purchase price and then the donated value. We then bagged the items, placed them in our car, took another photo of them in the car, drove to the donation site, took another photo of us unloading them and we were done. It took total about 2 hours. For a family of five, we go through a lot of used clothes, toys, games and household items!
After we got home, my husband looked over the spread sheet, tallied up the totals and then took 33% of the donated value of our items (rough estimate for tax use) and came up with a figure that basically was what we just “made” by tracking our donations using the tax deduction off our income. Let me just say he was convinced to keep doing it, it was well worth his time!
So the other day was one of our days to go through this process. It feels good to donate, feels great to get the things out of our house and I like the fact that the hourly rate we just made together for our family certainly made it worth our time to do this!
Please make sure you read information associated with the deductions of donated items or ask your tax adviser.
Do you have any tips or secrets that you could share with others to help them make a difference? I would love to hear it! For more information on how you can run your home with more ease and less stress, check out the Family Manager Makeover – you will be glad you did!