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The main piece of information needed is Fair Market Value. Then the type of item donated and the organization receiving is important. The IRS has a publication that covers determining the value of donated items, IRS pub 561.Appraisals are not necessary for items of property for which you claim a deduction of $5,000 or less. There is an exception, you must include with your return a qualified appraisal of any single item of clothing or any household item that is not in good used condition or better, and for which you deduct more than $500.
Determining the value of donated property would be a simple matter if you could rely only on fixed formulas, rules, or methods. Usually it is not that simple.
The FMV of used household goods, such as furniture, appliances, and linens, is usually much lower than the price paid when new.
Used clothing and other personal items are usually worth far less than the price you paid for them. The price that buyers of used items actually pay in used clothing stores, such as consignment or thrift shops, is an indication of the value.Jewelry and gems are of such a specialized nature that it is almost always necessary to get an appraisal by a specialized jewelry appraiser.
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