Money Advice

Reselling vs. Donating Unwanted Items for a Tax Deduction – What’s Better?

Plenty of us have further stuff mendacity round we’d like to do away with. The question is, what’s the easiest way to go about it?

In some instances, it might make monetary sense to resell books, clothes, furnishings, and electronics on eBay, Craigslist, or at a storage sale. Sometimes, you’re higher off donating objects and claiming a tax deduction. The proper answer depends upon a few elements: how a lot free time you’ve gotten in your arms, what sort of items you wish to do away with, and your capacity to say charitable deductions.

Charitable Donations

Apart from the personal satisfaction you get from serving to a nonprofit, donating your further stuff can land you a helpful tax deduction. In order to get one, it’s a must to itemize all of your deductions – however that solely makes monetary sense in the event that they exceed the IRS commonplace deduction quantity, which is $6,200 for people and $12,400 for married {couples}.

To test if it is smart to itemize, take a have a look at IRS Schedule A and see what applies to you. State revenue tax, property taxes, and mortgage curiosity are the big-ticket deductions for the vast majority of taxpayers. If you don’t have any of those, itemizing could not improve your deduction – and for those who don’t itemize, you may’t declare a charitable deduction.


To qualify as a charitable donation, it’s essential to give your objects to a 501(c)3 nonprofit group and get a receipt. Churches, spiritual organizations, authorities entities, and nonprofits comparable to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and American Red Cross fall into this class. You can not get a tax break for giving the objects to a civic league, a for-profit bookstore, or your low-income good friend.

Although donating might be a good choice when you may’t discover a purchaser, that doesn’t imply you may pawn off faulty or nugatory items. The IRS specifies that used objects have to be in good situation to qualify for a deduction.


The IRS requires taxpayers to estimate donated property at truthful market worth – primarily, the worth a purchaser would pay for it at a resale outlet. If you don’t wish to launch a full investigation of the typical promoting value for every merchandise you’re giving, you need to use Goodwill’s valuation guide. However, for those who assume your merchandise is price greater than the valuation information suggests, you’ve gotten each proper to set a completely different worth in your tax return. Simply retain some kind of documentation to justify it – the “sold listings” search characteristic on eBay is a nice useful resource.

If you’re donating high-priced objects, it’s a must to soar by way of a few further hoops. If you wish to declare that a single piece of clothes or a family merchandise is price greater than $500, it’s essential to embody a skilled appraisal along with your return. You additionally want an appraisal for any group of comparable objects, comparable to books, clothes, or furnishings valued at greater than $5,000.

The “revenue” that you just obtain for your donation is basically a discount in taxable revenue out of your highest tax bracket. For instance, say that you just donate a jacket price $20 and also you’re within the 25% tax bracket. Since 25% of $20 is $5, you get a $5 discount of tax legal responsibility. The increased your tax bracket, the extra you web out of your charitable donations. You ought to word that the quantity of donations you may deduct is usually capped at 50% of your adjusted gross revenue.

Time Commitment

If you’ve gotten a lot of stuff to do away with, donating is much much less time-consuming than promoting. The most time-efficient technique to do it’s to stockpile objects and donate as soon as each six months or so. If driving is inconvenient, many nonprofits let you schedule a pickup at your own home or office. Just contact the company on-line or over the telephone and go away the products at your step – the driving force ought to go away a receipt upon pickup.

Charitable organizations comparable to Goodwill usually make home calls to select up giant furnishings like desks, sofas, and beds. Just understand that the nonprofit could wish to ship a consultant beforehand to make sure that the furnishings is in ok situation to donate.


Although the nonprofit points you a receipt, it might not itemize the whole lot. Therefore, prior to creating your donation, unfold out all of the objects and snap a few footage, as this may also help jog your reminiscence at tax time. It additionally serves as further documentation within the unlikely case that you just’re audited (don’t fear, modest donations should not an IRS purple flag).

As talked about earlier, you’ll want a skilled appraisal for a single donated merchandise price greater than $500 and for a group of donated objects valued over $5,000. After footage and any obligatory documentation are acquired, it ought to take about quarter-hour to do all obligatory calculations and fill out the tax info on Schedule A. If your whole donation exceeds $500, you’ve received to spend a few extra minutes detailing it on Form 8283 as properly.

Charitable Donation Satisfaction


If you need more money and don’t thoughts spending the additional time, it’s possible you’ll be higher off promoting your items. Here’s an summary of the method and the commonest venues to promote.


Although there are different on-line public sale websites, none are as far-reaching as eBay. It works finest for comparatively small, light-weight objects which can be low-cost to ship. eBay does have a “local pickup” choice, however that finally ends up eliminating a enormous portion of potential consumers.

Since eBay gives each purchaser and vendor safety for each transaction, you’re lined if a purchaser claims an merchandise was by no means acquired – so long as you ship the package deal with a monitoring quantity to the right handle. However, consumers can request refunds for objects that don’t meet the itemizing description, so be upfront in regards to the situation of what you’re promoting.

Selling Price
You’re more likely to get a truthful value for your merchandise – usually between 30% and 60% of a product’s retail worth. When you checklist your merchandise, eBay suggests a promoting value based mostly on the historical past of comparable objects. Since it’s a giant market, loopy bidding wars don’t occur too usually – however the public sale format means your merchandise might promote for greater than your asking value.

One of the most important downsides to eBay is the charges. Sellers that checklist fewer than 50 objects monthly don’t need to pay insertion charges (flat charges based mostly on class, promoting format, and extra). However, eBay at all times collects a promoting charge based mostly on the ultimate worth of your merchandise.

For most classes, you might be charged a ultimate worth charge of 10% of the full quantity of the sale, together with each buy value and any transport charges. In different phrases, for those who promote a jacket for $20 and cost $5 to cover transport, your ultimate worth charge is $2.50. However, eBay additionally affords sellers a 14% low cost on transport charges, so the expense usually comes out to be a wash. The ultimate worth charge is charged when your merchandise is bought, not when the customer pays – so for those who occur to get a deadbeat purchaser and also you’re compelled to cancel the transaction, it’s a must to wait a few weeks or a few months for eBay to refund the charges to your vendor account.

On high of 10% to eBay, you additionally pay a lower to PayPal for internet hosting the transaction. PayPal expenses 2.9% of the sale value, plus a flat $0.30 charge per transaction. Between the 2 firms, your charges quantity to round 13% of your gross income.

Listing & Selling Time Commitment
Despite its reputation and user-friendliness, promoting on eBay can nonetheless be a time-intensive endeavor. To checklist one thing for sale utilizing a computer, sellers should enter the merchandise title, select a class, create a itemizing, and snap a few footage to add. On common, this takes round 5 minutes per merchandise listed. Alternatively, for those who create the itemizing out of your smartphone, the eBay app lets you select a picture out of your telephone’s gallery.

If you’re itemizing 5 or ten objects, the time spent can add up shortly – so for those who’d wish to quicken issues up, contemplate promoting a number of objects as a single lot. However, it’s vital to know that tons are likely to promote at a a lot decrease per-item rate.

Your eBay time dedication isn’t over when you checklist the merchandise. Potential consumers can message you with questions, and you could have to answer some actual head-scratchers – I acquired a question a few months in the past asking, “Are these shoes navy blue or just dark blue?”

Once your merchandise has bought, you want to print out a transport label, find a appropriate transport field and packing supplies, pack the whole lot up, and drop it on the USPS or one other provider. Estimate one other quarter-hour per merchandise for promoting and transport time. If you’re new to promoting on eBay and aren’t aware of the account interface, your first few gross sales could take you an additional 10 to fifteen minutes.

All informed, eBay is a handy technique to get money for your stuff, however charges are a bit stiff and the method might be considerably time-consuming. eBay works finest for small, helpful objects which can be low-cost to ship, comparable to final year’s smartphone or used designer jewellery.

It’s not very cost-effective to promote one cheap merchandise, comparable to a shirt, due to the time dedication required. However, if the objects are comparable – say, a wardrobe of maternity garments – you may checklist them as a lot and spend fewer hours on the method.

Ebay Listing Selling


Items which can be particularly giant or heavy don’t promote properly on eBay just because clients don’t wish to pay the transport charges. In that case, a community-oriented gross sales website (the place consumers and sellers bodily meet) comparable to Craigslist could also be a higher choice.

Selling Price
Whether you may promote your stuff for a affordable value relies upon closely on the place you’re situated. Big cities with excessive populations present a wider viewers and a higher shot at a truthful value for your items. If you’re in a rural space, you could have to promote at a low value, or it’s possible you’ll not discover a purchaser in any respect.

The excellent news is, you don’t incur any charges when posting on Craigslist. On the draw back, there’s no purchaser or vendor safety. If you and your buyer agree, you may obtain fee by way of a secured transaction on PayPal. The commonplace charge is charged, however PayPal affords to mitigate the transaction within the occasion of a dispute. Alternately, you might be paid the old style manner in chilly laborious money from the vendor once you meet to trade the merchandise. This, nevertheless, has no purchaser or vendor protections.

Listing & Selling Time Commitment
Posting an advert on Craigslist takes about 5 minutes. At a minimal, you want to create a brief description of the merchandise together with a promoting value – together with a few photographs may also help a nice deal too.

What takes extra time is fielding questions and affords. Since costs are versatile on Craigslist, it’s possible you’ll get hagglers asking for a higher deal or providing to commerce companies for your stuff.

Whereas eBay penalizes consumers and sellers who don’t comply with by way of with the transaction, Craigslist doesn’t. On eBay, consumers who bid however don’t comply with by way of on a buy can obtain unfavourable suggestions and feedback, as can sellers that don’t ever ship the merchandise. However, Craigslist is totally nameless and has no score system. Depending on how aggressively you value your items, you could have to repost your merchandise a number of instances and take care of a handful of potential consumers earlier than you make the sale.

Craigslist is nice to promote cumbersome items and furnishings which can be tough or inconceivable to ship. Unfortunately, coping with flaky clients might be irritating and time-consuming.

Garage Sales

If you’ve gotten a lot of stuff to do away with and also you’d want to promote it domestically in a single fell swoop, a storage sale could also be your only option. People anticipate rock-bottom costs at storage gross sales, so your whole money proceeds could also be lower than what you’d get on Craigslist or eBay. However, you could possibly do away with a ton of stuff with out having to put up and monitor particular person on-line adverts.

To make a storage sale work, you want a great amount of things and an open driveway to arrange store. If you solely have a few objects to promote, contemplate teaming up with some pals and pooling your undesirable wares. A greater variety of products can entice extra consumers – and offer you some pleasing company whilst you promote.

Local Garage Sale

Final Word

Whether you select to donate or resell in the end depends upon how a lot you worth your time and the way badly you need the additional money. The tax deduction you get from donating is usually lower than the web money you’ll get from promoting on eBay or Craigslist, however the technique of donating is far much less time-consuming – plus, you’re positive to be ok with the place your belongings are going. If you don’t wish to spend your helpful free time wheeling and dealing, contemplate donating your items and decreasing your tax invoice.

Have you donated or bought your further stuff? Which do you assume is healthier?

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