6 Common Questions about Donating Large Items

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Plenty of people regularly give old clothes or small household items to charities who recycle or resell the goods to benefit the needy, but not many people realize how much more good they can do by donating their large, unused items to causes that can use them.

Big appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens, and more as well as vehicles like cars and boats are widely accepted by charities around the world looking to provide a better life for those who just need a little help. Still, donatinglarge items can be slightly more complicated than simply dropping off a bag at your neighborhood thrift store. Here are the answers to the six most common questions regarding large item donation.

1. What Kind of Large Items Can Be Donated to Charitable Causes?

There are countless non-profit organizations in the world, so it is likely that any item you wish to donate, you can find a charity that is willing to take it. Most commonly, organizations are looking for large items such as:

  • Furniture, including beds and couches
  • Cabinets
  • Large appliances, like refrigerators and washing machines
  • Motor vehicles and boats
  • Houses

2. What Condition Does the Item Have to Be In?

As with many of the questions on this list, the requirements forthe condition of donated items will depend on the organization you are looking to donate to. Generally, items like furniture must still look presentable, as charities that take furniture do not refurbish their wares before resale or use. Conversely, vehicles like cars or boats are usually accepted in any condition, running or not, because organizations usually plan to fix them up to earn a high selling price that will then benefit various charitable activities. A good rule of thumb is to inquire with various organizations before attempting to donate a large item.

3. How Do Tax Deductions Work With Large Donated Items?

Small donations in the form of clothing or small appliances are tax deductible, and most charities that accept these goods will provide a receipt that can be sent to the IRS come April. It works virtually the same way with large donated items, except your deduction will be significantly higher. The organization will assess the value of your donation as part of the acceptance process. Then, upon completion of the donation, you will be emailed or mailed a receipt to use as evidence of your tax deduction.

4. How Do I Transport My Large Items to a Donation Center?

This, too, will depend on the resources available to your chosen charity, but for the most part, organizations that accept large items are willing to make house calls to pick up potential donations. After notifying the charity of your intent to donate a large item — either via telephone registration or online and mailed submission forms — the charity will likely want to schedule a pick up time to ensure no one’s time is wasted.

5. What About Any Titles or Registrations for My Items?

If you are attempting to donate an item that is required by state to be registered in your name, such as a car, boat, or house, the charity will require you to furnish these documents before they can accept the donation. Some organizations are willing to take in items that lack appropriate titles or registrations, but often they cannot provide tax receipts unless the items are documented under the donor’s name.

6. What Kind of Information Will Charities Require Before Accepting Large Donations?

Again, this depends on the organization you hope to benefit. Some groups will only ask what type of donation it is — for example, if it is an appliance, a piece of furniture, or something else — while others will inquire about in-depth details. You may be asked to provide information like:

  • When the item was made
  • When you purchased the item
  • How often the item was used
  • What the item was used for
  • Whether the item was exposed to contaminants, like animal dander, pest infestations, or contagious diseases

Additionally, organizations that take in particularly large or costly donations, like vehicles or houses, may ask you to submit images of your potential donation. All charities will use the information you provide to assess your item’s value and determine whether or not they can use their item to benefit th

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