Goodwill Donations Rise

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - As we approach the last days of 2008, people are scrambling to make some last minute tax deductions. Fox 54 found out that donating items becomes increasingly more popular towards the end of December. As 2008 reaches the end of its line, the line at Goodwill's donation center gets longer.

Kari Finley, Goodwill's media coordinator, told Fox 54, "The month of December we always see an up-tick of people donating; it's the nature of people. They clean out their closets after Christmas and they want the deduction before the year ends."

Employees at Goodwill are working hard to unload and process people's unwanted items. There are two perks to donating: you help people, and you get to write the items off as a tax deduction.

"All we can do is give you a receipt of basic items to show that you did donate," added Finley.

When you drop off your items, they give you a card to attach to your itemized list. But how do you know how much everything is worth?

"It's your best guess but your guess will be close to the thrift store value," said the managing partner at Robinson, Grimes and Company. Voynich works for an accounting company that sees several people trying to scrape up extra deductions for donations.

He says when it comes to putting a price on your items, be reasonable, "It's the thrift shop value. If they are selling the shirts for $3 a piece, then that's the price you should put down regardless if you paid $30 for that blouse when you bought it. It's not going to get more than thrift store value."

Voynich says the best bet is you make a list of your items before you drop them off, and then use the store's pricing charts to have an idea of how much you actually donated.

Accountants suggest that your best bet for ending the year is to accelerate deductions for 2008 and defer any income into the New Year. Some other tips we have are: put off the sale of any items until the new year, go ahead and pre-pay any charitable donations or put it on a charge card so you don't have to come up with the cash this year, and if you have an end of the year bonus from your job, ask your boss to save writing that check until January.