Charitable Contribution Deductions for Anonymous Donations

Donated some clothes to Goodwill today and and the representative asked for my name. I said it was anonymous and she said “you can’t take a tax deduction for an anonymous donation.” I researched it and couldn’t find anything saying that. I see no requirement that the donor’s name be included on written documentation.

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Goodwill doesn’t make tax policies and it absolutely is not competent to provide tax advice. Which, in this case, is wrong.

Unless your donation is valued at greater than $500 there is no need to do more than document the donation and its value. You may do this yourself or use a valuation tool such as that provided by “it’s deductible.”

You must fill out Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, and attach it to your return, if your deduction for a noncash contribution is more than $500.

Form 8283 is here:

It’s not yet clear how things may be handed in 2018, including if charitable donations will be deductible.


Wait I thought if it’s over $250 you need a receipt from the charity with a description on the goods (no valuation, just description)? And then there are more extensive requirements at $500 to document market value and acquisition.

Goodwill has always just given us a blank receipt and said “fill it out as you please”. We’ve never donated more than $250 though, so for larger donations I’m guessing they provide more documentation.

I think we are saying the same thing. “Document” and “value” may have been imprecise, so I apologize if so. To the OP–note there is NO requirement that your name be taken or given.

In any case, the IRS says this:

In addition to deducting your cash contributions, you generally can deduct the fair market value of any other property you donate to qualified organizations. See Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property. For any contribution of $250 or more (including contributions of cash or property), you must obtain and keep in your records a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the qualified organization indicating the amount of the cash and a description of any property contributed. The acknowledgment must say whether the organization provided any goods or services in exchange for the gift and, if so, must provide a description and a good faith estimate of the value of those goods or services. One document from the qualified organization may satisfy both the written communication requirement for monetary gifts and the contemporaneous written acknowledgment requirement for all contributions of $250 or more.

The matter at hand is what “description of any property contributed” means. “Bags/boxes of clothing (or whatever you donated)” will suffice in my opinion. At least under the current rules.

Going forward, assuming fewer people itemize, I wonder if there will be more audits of those who do. I would not be sorry to see more IRS auditors let go, but we will see what happens. We are at nearly historically low audit rates these days and most of those audits are focused on those with AGIs north of $250k.

As such, I think it’s good practice to tighten up one’s documentation and, perhaps, take images of what you donate including the labels and receipts if the goods are designer or high-quality or unused.

Thanks, was pretty sure because I couldn’t find anything requiring that, but just wanted to confirm I wasn’t missing something since I remember them issuing new regulations a couple years ago.