Form 8283: Noncash Charitable Contributions

Form 8283, officially titled "Noncash Charitable Contributions," is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) document used to report specific charitable donations on your tax return. It applies to situations where you've donated noncash items exceeding $500 to a qualified charitable organization.

What are Noncash Charitable Contributions?

Noncash charitable contributions encompass a variety of assets donated to qualified charitable organizations instead of cash, checks, or other monetary gifts. These can include:

  • Artwork (paintings, sculptures, etc.)
  • Real estate (land, buildings, etc.)
  • Vehicles (cars, boats, airplanes, etc.)
  • Securities (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.)
  • Household goods (in good condition, with certain limitations)
  • Intangible property (intellectual property, literary manuscripts, etc.)

Important Note: Exclusions exist for certain types of property, such as personal use items with minimal value.

Who Needs to File Form 8283?

You must file Form 8283 if you meet all the following criteria:

  • You donated noncash items to a qualified charitable organization.
  • The total claimed deduction for all your noncash contributions in a tax year exceeds $500.
  • You intend to deduct the fair market value (FMV) of the donated items on your tax return.

What is a Qualified Charitable Organization?

The IRS defines a qualified charitable organization as one that is exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. You can verify an organization's qualification by searching the IRS website or requesting a written acknowledgement from the charity itself.

How Do I Determine the Fair Market Value (FMV) of My Donation?

The FMV refers to the price a willing buyer would pay to a willing seller in an arm's-length transaction, meaning no pressure from either side. For most donations, obtaining a qualified appraisal from a professional appraiser familiar with the type of property you donated is recommended, especially for high-value items.

Are There Situations Where I Don't Need a Qualified Appraisal?

The IRS waives the appraisal requirement for certain noncash contributions with a claimed value of:

  • $5,000 or less for donations of household goods in good condition (excluding clothing).
  • $500 or less per item for any other type of noncash contribution.

However, it's always advisable to keep detailed records of the donated item's condition, including photographs and receipts, to support the claimed value in case of an IRS audit.

Can I deduct the cost of improvements made to a donated item?

Generally, no. The deduction is based on the FMV of the item at the time of donation, not any additional costs you incurred.