If I buy tools and use them to build furniture that I donate to
charity, what can I write off?
Maybe on the tools.
Does it get more complicated if I ever use the tools for a personal
This looks like you bought the tools, and made one item that was donated to charity, then used the tools for yourself. Now if you donated the tools to the charity that would be a different story.
I assume I could write off cost of tools, materials, electricity, and
perhaps time spent? But I am unsure on specifics.
- Tools: Maybe. See above.
- Materials: Yes. But save the receipts.
- Electricity: Yes. But hard to calculate unless you needed to run a kiln for 3 days.
- Time spent: No you can't deduct your time.
You can also deduct mileage, parking and tolls.
Make sure you get receipts for parking, tolls, materials, and that you get a receipt from the charity when you donate the furniture.
Edit to discuss the cost of the tools:
- If you donated tools you already owned, then the value of the donated tools would be significantly less than the purchase price.
- If you bought new tools and donated them without using them, then the purchase price on the receipt would be the value used when figuring the deduction.
- You could purchase the tools, deliver them to the charity, use them on site, and then leave them at the charity. That would also make the value equal to the purchase price.
- If the only thing you did was make the furniture that was donated to the charity, and then delivered the tools at the same time, then I would have no problem having the donation equal the purchase price.
- If you waited a long time between making the furniture and the donation of the tools, the tools would be considered used.
The point is that you can't claim a donation for the tools if you keep the tools...