deductionDo you remember moth balls?

That was one thing I dreaded when mom used to call out to us kids to say it was time to get the winter clothes out of the basement.  Yuck, that smell.

The other thing I disliked even more was to look at my old clothes.  The styles had changed, my body had changed. Nothing fit or looked good anymore.

My mom always had a plan for what to do with old clothes, though. She’d tell us to assemble the clothes into three piles: fit, charity, trash.

If it fit, we had to keep it, like it or not. If it was in good condition, we would donate it to charity. If was in poor condition, it became a rag or trash. My mom really knew how to recycle clothes.

I didn’t realize then, that along with being a giving person, my mom also had taxes in mind. She knew that she could take a tax deduction for her gift.

Now, with the seasons changing, it’s the perfect time for you to do the same. You don’t have to wonder what to do with old clothes, you can recycle clothes or donate them to charity and take a tax deduction.

Donating and deducting 

If you itemize deductions on your federal tax return, you may be able to claim a charitable deduction when you donate dresses or you donate suits or other items of clothing. The IRS allows you to deduct the fair market value of clothing, shoes, household goods and more. Charities such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill offer value guides to help you determine fair market value of items you donate, but you can also check with tax adviser for market values in your region. It’s important to get a receipt as a record of your contribution. The receipt should include the name of the charity and the date of your donation. If your donation exceeds $500, you will need to complete Form 8283 and file it with your tax return.

I have followed in my mother’s footsteps. My children and I have the same ritual when the seasons change and we must decide what to do with old clothes. We pull out our boxes and separate our clothes into three piles. We repeat the process in November, donating old toys so that children who are less fortunate may have new things to play with. It also makes room for any new things Santa might bring.

And, unlike mom, we don’t use mothballs.

For more information on tax deductions and charitable contributions, you can always contact Liberty Tax Service at 1-877-at-Liberty.

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