What Is the IRS Form 8283?

Form 8283 is a tax form used by qualifying filers to deduct property and other noncash contributions donated to charity throughout the taxable year. Typically, most not-for-profit organizations will qualify. These qualifying charities include churches, literary organizations, schools, and other charities. The threshold for charitable donations is $500. Once your donations go over that amount, you’ll need to submit a completed Form 8283 with your tax return.

Completing the IRS Form 8283

You use Form 8283 when you make charitable donations that are not in the form of cash. Essentially, anything other than money that you donate throughout the year can be considered eligible for Form 8283. For example, used clothes, cars, land, artwork, or any other item that you donate.

When Is a Form 8283 Necessary?

A Form 8283 is necessary when you contribute more than $500 of noncash items to qualifying charities throughout the year. The details about your donations should be outlined on the Form 8283 and attached, in addition to Schedule A, to your 1040 tax return.

How to Value Property Donations

The value of donated property is calculated using its fair market value (FMV). It is your obligation to accurately determine the FMV of your donated property. To determine FMV you can use a few different valuation models. Whatever strategy you use to determine the FMV of your donations, it should be demonstrable that the value you found for the items is similar to what it would be if the items were purchased on the open market.

For instance, when you donate old clothes you could use the prices of comparable clothes found in second-hand shops in your community. This is the price that people would pay for your items on the open market and is a good estimate of its current value. Another example is if you donate a used car. To find the FMV you could take the information about your make and model, the year it was purchased, and the mileage to see what similar cars are selling at local used-car dealerships. In rare instances, you may need to hire an expert to appraise your items before donating to get the most accurate value.

Preparing Form 8283

To finish preparing the rest of the form, you must include the following:

  • Name and contact information of the organizations
  • Descriptions of all donated items
  • Data on how you originally attained the property
  • The amount you originally paid
  • The respective values when donated

If you track and store this information throughout the year, it will make completing the Form 8283 a breeze when it comes time to file taxes.

Section A: Value of Items Less Than $5,000

For any noncash donation less than $5,000, complete Section A, Column 1 of Form 8283. Most noncash charitable contributions fall under this category.

Steps to Finish Section A:

  1. Write the name and contact information of the charity in column (a). Every donation should be separated line by line, even if you made multiple contributions to the same organization.
  2. If you donated a car, you need to check column (b) and then write the vehicle identification number (VIN) in the subsequent boxes.
  3. Describe all items donated to the organization in column (c) for lines A-E.
  4. Provide the date of your donation in column (d) for lines A-E. This data may be found on your donation receipt.
  5. Columns (e), (f), and (g) should be completed if your donation is valued at greater than $500. Column (e) should have “various” in it if you acquired the items across multiple dates. Column (f) should explain how you came to own the items. Column (g) should include the value of that item when you acquired it.
  6. Write the FMV of the donations in Column (h).
  7. List how you calculated the FMV in column (i).

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