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I normally do my taxes on turbo tax but I recently got a well paying job and donated roughly 5000 books to a local charity. I don't have an exact count of the books but I do have a count of the boxes of books and pictures of the two truck loads it took to ship. I also received a receipt that verifies the amount of boxes. The person who was taking the books said I could value them at about 50 cents per book.

Would it be beneficial for me to get a professional tax preparer or could I continue to file using TurboTax?

  • Do you know if you typically itemize deductions? – Hart CO Apr 3 '18 at 1:35
  • You might not get any tax effect from it, as the flat deduction (6k+/12k+ married) is probably higher than your donation. Check that first before you put all the effort in. – Aganju Apr 3 '18 at 13:50
  • @Aganju comment and the answer below should be combined. You should only think about this in the case your books were worth enough that you are better off itemizing. (Your state taxes also come into play here.) If the books were worth enough to go over the threshold, you will need an appraisal. – Andrew Lazarus Apr 3 '18 at 22:29
  • Good point, you'd need enough other deductions to get any benefit from this. Given the low effort to estimate their value, doesn't hurt to enter it in and TurboTax (or whatever other software) will use or ignore it whichever benefits you the most. – B. Johnson Apr 4 '18 at 22:42
  • So it sounds like donations wont benefit me at all unless I can donate over the flat deduction. If so, that's too bad. – Kei Nagase Apr 6 '18 at 18:46
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No, you don't need a professional tax preparer to handle such a donation. TurboTax can handle this just fine.

One cutoff you should be aware of (and TurboTax, etc. would tell you this) is if you donate more than $5,000 in non-cash donations (of a given type), you would need a qualified appraisal per the instructions for form 8283 (assuming you're itemizing deductions). However, claiming fifty cents a book (which seems reasonable assuming they're in readable condition) puts you well under this limit.

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