It's tax season and if donations of valuable tangible property were made to a university, museum or other qualifying not-for-profit institutions in 2013 it may be advantageous to claim a deduction for the fair market value of the property that was donated. If you are seeking a tax deduction for donations of tangible property, it's important to keep these four things in mind when preparing your returns.
Hire a Qualified Appraiser. "The appraisal must be made by a qualified appraiser in accordance with generally accepted appraisal standards."
The 60 day rule. "The appraisal must be made not earlier than 60 days before the date you contribute the property. You must receive the appraisal before the due date (including extensions) of the return on which you first claim a deduction for the property. For a deduction first claimed on an amended return, the appraisal must be received before the date the amended return was filed."
Coordinate appropriate paperwork for each item: Form 8283 + Appraisal. "A separate qualified appraisal and a separate Form 8283 are required for each item of property except for an item that is part of a group of similar items."
Supply a separate form for each donee. "If you gave similar items to more than one donee for which you claimed a total deduction of more than $5,000, you must attach a separate form for each donee."
This is not an exhaustive list of requirements to satisfy for your tax benefit. As always, seek the case-by-case advice of a professional appraiser and a CPA. Rules change for items valued at or above $5K as they change again for items valued at or above $20K.
Source: IRS Publication 561