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Your Money Weekend | Financial Planner

Checklist: Charitable Donations

November 24, 2000|LIZ PULLIAM WESTON

Things to do this weekend with your money

Donating household items to charity can be a relatively easy way to get a tax break if you itemize your taxes. Even if you don't, cleaning out your closets and donating excess stuff can be a good deed that also makes room for incoming holiday goodies.

4 Today: Burn off some Thanksgiving calories by inspecting closets, attics, garages, basements and other storage areas for usable donations. If you itemize, document your contribution by photographing your donations.

4 Saturday: If you want to deduct your contribution, make sure you're giving to a charity that's recognized by the Internal Revenue Service. You can use the IRS' search engine at www.irs.ustreas.gov/bus_info/eo/eosearch.html to find a complete list of qualifying organizations.

4 Sunday: You'll need to assign values to your donated items for tax purposes. Accountant William R. Lewis has a $25 guide, "Cash for Your Used Clothing," that can help determine fair market values of used items. You can find more information at www.taxsave.com or at (800) 875-5927. If you donate more than $500, you'll need to complete IRS Form 8283. If your donation is worth more than $5,000, you'll need to have an independent appraisal done.

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