This past year we donated a ton of stuff to Goodwill. For starters, we moved. On top of that, we’re done having kids, and they’re growing fast. Thus, we had lots of stuff to clear before, during, and after the move. Right after our moving sale, I hauled several loads of stuff to the Goodwill donation center, including tons of kids clothing, a decent amount of adult clothing, toys, random housewares, etc. We also made another donation run right at the end of the year (just in time to claim it on our 2006 taxes).
Prior to each trip, I wrote up a list of what I was donating and then stapled it to the Goodwill receipt (the receipt instructs you to either list the items directly on it, or to attach a list if you need more space). But that was the easy part… The hard part is figuring out what everything was worth. None of it was high dollar stuff, but it was pretty valuable in aggregate. In the past, I’ve just done a lowball guesstimate and moved on.
This year, however, Turbo Tax greeted me with an offer to use their online valuation service called ItsDeductible. I figured it would be tedious to enter everything in, but I also figured that it might end up being worth the trouble, so I logged in and got started.
As it turns out, I was right on both accounts… It took me awhile it get everything entered — you have to find it, determine what condition it was in, and then enter the quantity — but the end result was value that was probably 2-3X higher than I would’ve guesstimated by just looking on the lists and ballparking it. The other piece of good news is that Turbo Tax automatically downloads the information and incorporates it into your return. Pretty slick.
On a per item basis, nothing seemed out of line, so I’m fairly comfortable with the results. However, I’m still not sure of is how these valuations would hold up in the face of an audit. They seem reasonable, but who knows?