Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Looking over my projected tax return, it seems my husband and I cannot itemize our deductions. The interest rate on our mortgage is so low that we no longer have enough interest to take Schedule A over the standard deduction for married couples. I’m now looking for other options for my charitable tax deduction. Do you find yourself in the same situation?
What can we do with our charitable contributions? We have lots of clothing, small appliances, electronics, and more to turn over to my favorite charity.
Instead, let’s give them all to a friend—who can itemize! We’ll still get those things out of our house, and we won’t have to make all the neat, detailed lists of what was donated.
Making a list and checking it twice
What lists? When donating more than $500 worth of stuff to charity, you must provide details. Your list needs to include: what is donated; how many units of it (how many pairs of shoes, for example); what it cost you originally (approximately); and its value when making the donation (also approximately). Look at Form 8283, at the bottom of Part I—you’ll find a grid with the data needed for your tax return.
What if you don’t have the original cost or current value?
No sweat! You can use the Salvation Army site, which provides “thrift shop values.” You also can take advantage of better, free tools from TurboTax ( – ItsDeductible.com) and H&R Block (DeductionPro). These sites have databases that contain cost information and current, allowable market values. Simply make a list of what you will be donating, print out the resulting reports, and enter the summary data into your Form 8283. Note that you can also have these sites import the data directly into your tax return for you if you prefer.
Good condition is mandatory
In order to claim deductions, the things you donate must be in good condition. It’s the law. How can you prove this? Take photos. Everyone seems to have digital cameras or phones that take photos. Use them. Save the digital photos into a folder with your tax data, or print the pictures and put them in your tax file. No need to send them in to the IRS.
Plan your donations
Some people manage to gather so many things to donate each year that their non-cash deductions total thousands of dollars. When your total non-cash donations for the year reach $5,000, you need a written appraisal to be able to claim them.
How can you possibly get such an appraisal in December, when you’ve been donating all through the year? You can’t. That’s why it’s important to plan out your donations. When you know your things are going to be worth a lot of money, save them up. Get them appraised. And donate only once—at the end of the year.
If you’re selling your home, you know you’ll probably have a lot to clean out and donate. When someone dies or moves into a care facility, you know you will be donating, essentially, the entire contents of that person’s household. For such a large donation, it’s worth getting it all appraised and summarized before moving forward.
Incidentally, if your stuff is really worth all that much, have you ever thought of selling it? Perhaps you can turn it over to an estate agent or garage sale specialist. You can always donate the proceeds. There’s a lot less paperwork involved.
And no, you won’t have to pay taxes on the sale of your stuff. Just report it on Schedule D with the same cost as the sale price. Undoubtedly, you are selling these things for less than you paid for them.
Making Sure You Get the Adoption Tax Credit
Filing Taxes: Seven Reasons to Adjust Your Withholding
Paying Taxes: How Is Your Vice Taxed?
Saving Money: Could You Benefit from the Savers Tax Credit?
Tax Tips and Tax Consequences of Failed Businesses
Eva Rosenberg, EA is the publisher of TaxMama.com , where your tax questions are answered. Eva is the author of several books and ebooks, including the new edition of Small Business Taxes Made Easy. Eva teaches a tax pro course at IRSExams.com and tax courses you might enjoy at http://www.cpelink.com/teamtaxmama.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.