To enter your charitable deductions, you have two options:
- Enter your charitable donations in our free ItsDeductible program which is available year-round. When tax time comes, simply import your donations from ItsDeductible into TurboTax.
- Manually enter your charitable donations directly into TurboTax:
- Open your return in TurboTax.
- In the search box, search for donations and then select the Jump to link in the search results.
- Answer No when asked if you have an ItsDeductible account (even if the answer is yes).
- Answer Yes to Do you want to enter your donations for 2020?
- Follow the instructions to enter your donations.
FYI, normally you have to itemize your deductions in order to benefit (receive a deduction) from your charitable contributions. However, for 2020, you may take a charitable deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions without itemizing.
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Honestly, if that’s all you have to say, you probably can’t legally take any deduction for the donation.
If you donate more than $500 of non-cash items, such as used household furnishings, your tax return must include a form 8283 that lists the original purchase date, purchase price, and fair market value of each item that you donate. You are allowed to group your donations—You could claim a single dollar value for “kitchenware” rather than having to list every plate and cup, for example— but you must have your own independent records to back up the value of your donations. You must have an itemized list that describes the item in sufficient detail to determine its fair market value, as well as information about how you acquired the item and its original cost. The value of your donation is the fair market value for the item, or your original cost, which ever is lower. (The fair market value for used furnishings is usually much less than the original purchase price, of course, unless the item is some kind of collectible or antique.)
If you claim a donation value of $5000 or more for any single item or “group of similar items,“ your tax return must include a signed appraisal by a qualified appraiser and you must have both the appraiser and a qualified financial official of the charity sign your tax form 8283 listing the donation. After you e-file, you have to mail the original signed form 8283 to the IRS with a cover sheet that TurboTax will tell you to print out.
If you did not get a signed appraisal before you donated the items you are going to have a real problem if you claim these donations and are audited. You could try to make “groups of similar items“ that are each smaller than $5000, but I don’t know how successful you can be at this. You may be able to group make one group of “used clothing“ and another group of “used furniture“, but I don’t think you would be successful if you tried to make separate groups of living room and bedroom furniture.
If you want to try to claim the deduction for the donation without a signed appraisal, you can enter the donations in the TurboTax program. You can either list each individual item and allow TurboTax to value it for you, or you can take a shortcut by listing groups of items and giving each group a customized value. Be aware that the values provided by TurboTax are not guaranteed to be accepted by the IRS. If audited, the IRS can still ask for proof that the values assigned by TurboTax are actually fair and reasonable for the items you donated in the market where are you donated them.
The IRS can also ask for proof that you actually donated the items on your inventory. Even if you have an inventory of donated items, that by itself is not proof that you actually donated them. When you are not planning to get an appraisal, it is often useful to have someone from the charity sign your inventory to acknowledge its contents, or take a picture of yourself making the donation of all the items. Don’t list any item or group of items with a value more than $5000.
Remember that if you are audited, you will need to show proof that you made the donation, and an inventory of items that allows you to establish its value. If the IRS determines that you should have had an appraisal, they can disallow the entire donation.