If your gift of personal property has no relation to our mission, then your tax deduction is limited to the lesser of cost basis in the property or its fair market value. We suggest that you acquire IRS publications 526 and 561 to review all the comprehensive information available for gifts of personal property.
The key question to determine is whether or not your donation has a legitimate use related to the charitable mission of our organization. For example a gift of artwork or a stamp collection can enhance an educational purpose; a gift of a piano or other musical instrument can enhance a musical program; a gift of kitchen equipment can enhance a feeding program, etc. If your gift is related to our purpose, then your income tax deduction is based on the fair market value of the property. For gifts of property with a value of $5,000 or more, an independent qualified appraisal of the property is required by the IRS.
In some cases the answer is yes. Personal property can be transferred to a charitable remainder unitrust that will provide the donor with tax deduction benefits as well as setting up an income stream for beneficiaries such as a spouse, children, and/or other loved ones. Only personal property with a value of $50,000 or greater should be considered for this purpose.