After delivering several bags of clothes and household goods to my local Goodwill (in December, not January, of course!), I was surprised when the attendant handed me a pamphlet along with my receipt. The pamphlet, titled Goodwill Stores Donation Information, includes a list of "Suggested Donation Deductions."
I was surprised they provided amounts, as my experience has always been that non-profits avoid providing definitive recommendations for deductions when it comes to non-cash donations. I suppose what surprised me most was that they would actually use the term "suggested." Quite daring!
The additional description was more in line with my expectations of a non-profit: "The Internal Revenue Service allows a deduction based on the fair market value (what a buyer would pay for the goods in a thrift or consignment shop). The better an item's condition, the greater its value... Listed below are resale values of items in area Goodwill stores that you may use to itemize your deductions."
(Just to be difficult, I might argue that it technically isn't the IRS that "allows" a deduction, as the IRS does not make the rules, only enforces them. I know, I'm a pain.)
This description made sense to me, as it seems to be saying only that these non-cash items sell for the prices listed. It's like saying: "This is the information about us, and you can do with it what you choose." To me, that is quite different from providing a "suggestion." But I guess since they included the word "suggested" in the title, they are really doing both: stating facts about their prices and suggesting we use those amounts. I'm splitting hairs, aren't I?
I wish we could get this kind of guidance from the IRS. Or is it available, and I've simply missed it? Everything I've read from the IRS uses vague terms, never providing concrete numbers. And I like numbers.
I wonder if other non-profits are providing "suggested" deduction amounts, and how the IRS will factor that information into its efforts (if at all).
Finally, is it odd that I found so much to think about from a basic pamphlet from the Goodwill?