Donate furniture!As you prepare for the tax and moving season, you probably aren’t thinking about writing off things around your house, but it pays to go through the clutter—especially this month. But before taking these write-offs, there are some things you need to know or else you can forget about saving tax dollars.

WRITING OFF FURNITURE DONATIONS—BEWARE OF ASSEMBLING!

If, in the past year, in the process of moving, clearing out the clutter or trading up, you have donated any furniture to a charity organization, you are entitled to the value of the furniture for a write off. For 2007, make sure you have a copy of the receipt and declare it. BEWARE: Some charities refuse to accept any goods that have been assembled. Make sure to leave unopened furniture in the box! Ex: Salvation Army won’t take IKEA furniture because of legal issues arising over assembly and the fragility of the piece. Assembled furniture, believe it or not, poses a legal risk.

HOW TO DONATE FURNITURE- THE FURNITURE BANK

Some regional stores are offering a discount of up to 10% on new purchases if you donate your old furniture to the “Furniture Bank”, a national depository (there are 70 around the country) that takes furniture from anyone in over 30 cities and gives it to those in need—could be going to a number of different charity organizations. Disaster relief victims are the ones that usually receive the goods.

Either you or that retailer can send the goods to the Furniture Bank. The Furniture Bank will pick up the goods directly from your home and remove the goods for no charge—FREE! You, as the consumer, assign your own value to the goods based on age of piece, wear and tear and demand for the piece.

This is a win-win, because you are saving money on taxes and saving money on your new furniture purchases. Furniture will be used, not thrown in landfills, like many pieces we leave at the curb. Green thinking. Will also take furniture from hotels that are closing or remodeling.

WHICH CHARITIES, SPECIFICALLY, GET THE GOODS

The Furniture Bank, whose overhead is underwritten by corporations, works with national charities such as the American Red Cross, United Way, Department of Social Services, etc. Social service agencies, only, can distribute the goods.

OTHER WAYS TO DONATE FURNISHINGS:

  • Charities: This is especially nice if you are passionate about one organization in particular, like a hospital, a church, a social welfare group, etc. BEWARE: May have to pay for shipping .
  • Consignment: Better in cases where your goods have value. You are responsible usually for shipping but you usually get 50% of the sale price, and donate the value of the other 50% by deducting the difference between what the good sells for and what you get. Again, keep your receipt for taxes.
Jennifer Litwin