Documenting Donations for the IRS: noncash contributions

The Internal Revenue Service provides a tax advantage for those generous enough to give tangible property with relevant value to museums, universities, libraries and other qualifying institutions.  These gifts are referred to as Non-Cash Charitable Contributions and they exist in many forms.  Before benevolently parceling out your personal collection of valuables, explore the requirements for taking advantage of this tax incentive.  Some of these requirements stipulate:

  • If you give a noncash gift of $500 or more, you are required by the IRS to file an IRS 8283 form when you file your return for the year the donation was made.  
  • If you are donating more than $5,000.00 in paintings, antiques or other objects of art, your donation should be supported with an appraisal written by a reputable, qualified expert.  The value should be recorded on the 8283 form. 
  • If you donate artwork valued at $20,000.00 or more, the written appraisal document must be attached to the 8283 form and submitted with the tax return.

In every instance, you must be able to identify the fair market value of the donated items.  However, documentation requirements change depending on the fair market value.  So, it is always advised that you consult with a qualified appraiser when taking a deduction for donations of tangible property.

*Other valuable resources for understanding IRS guidelines for Charitable Contributions and Valuing Property are IRS form 526 and IRS form 561.