You cannot claim any type of tax deduction on the loss from the sale of personal assets. The only time you can claim a loss is if you sell stocks or bonds or similar investments at a loss or property which was held to produce income.
If you sell a personal home or car or any other personal asset at a loss, the loss is not allowed as a tax deduction.
What you may want to consider is instead of selling the books, instead you may want to donate them to a qualified charity. By doing so you could take a tax deduction as a charitable contribution for the fair market value of the books at the time the donation was made.
Thank you mousey
No, if you sell personal assets at a loss you are not required to report the sale on your tax return. The only time you need to report the sale of a personal asset is you have a gain which would be subject to tax. While the IRS does tax the gain you have on the sale of a personal asset, they do not allow deductions for a sale made at a loss. I realize that does not seem quite fair, but then again the IRS is not necessarily known for always having fair rules.
Hello again mousey,
Yes, you would owe taxes on the sale of the violin. Any time that you sell a personal asset at a gain, you must report the sale on your tax return and pay taxes on the amount of the gain. If the asset was held for more than one year before you sell it, then you pay long term capital gains tax rates which are currently capped at 15%. Any personal assets that you sell at a loss are not deductible and do not need to be reported.
If you sell an item at a gain, you need to keep copies of documents which show what you originally paid for the item and also keep records of what you sold it for.