For many people, the annual tradition of holiday gift-giving ushers in another ritual: deciding what to do with used items they no longer need.
Between Dec. 26-31, the number of donations received at Goodwill Donation Express Centers skyrockets. Last year, donations of clothing and household goods rose by nearly 50 percent compared to other days of the year. Goodwill's donation team is gearing up to handle this critically important surge.
Donations fund Goodwill's mission of providing job training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities and others who have trouble finding and keeping jobs. The end-of-year donation rush is prompted in part by people cleaning out their closets, attics and garages to make room for holiday gifts. But many donors also are seeking last-minute tax deductions.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when donating to Goodwill:
- When decluttering your home, consider the One-Year Rule: If you haven't worn it, used it or played it in one year, it is probably time to donate it.
- Donors wishing to claim tax deductions for their donations can easily do so at mygoodwilldonation.org, or they can request a paper receipt from the attendant when dropping off their donations.
- Prepare an inventory of your items to be donated before going to Goodwill. The IRS allows a deduction for each item, but it is up to the donor to estimate each item's value.
- Please remove hangers from clothing.
- If you have a single donation worth more than $500, you will need to complete IRS Form 8283. You will also need a qualified written appraisal.
- Be certain you are donating to a legitimate charity. Resources for research include the Tennessee Secretary of State's Office and charity-rating agencies such as GuideStar. Be cautious of any donation bins that don't clearly state the organization's mission and contact information as required by law.
You can avoid the rush by donating before Christmas. There are more than 75 Donations Express Centers located throughout the 48-county territory, and most are open seven days a week. Locations and hours can be found online at www.giveit2goodwill.org, under the "Donate" tab.
Your donation at the end of 2015 will mean a happier new year for someone in need of a job.