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Smart Living: The Right Thing: Can I write-off my donation without a receipt?

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Whether you’ve gotten a gift you really don’t like or you’re just prone to losing receipts , returning items without a receipt can sometimes be a minefield. Here are some tips and techniques to make sure you get your money back. Sadly, there’s no one method for getting your money back every time—your experience is going to vary from store to store, and even from customer service rep to customer service rep. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself before you go, and build up a good case if they ask you for a receipt .

Without a receipt , the amount of store credit given is usually the last sale price. Sales tax can also be credited, remember to ask for it. 13.5K views ·. Before we had the chance to bring our new son home, I took all the pink gifts and brought them to Walmart to ask this very thing . The woman at the service counter ganve me some info, at least she did after she stopped laughing with me at my story. Walmart allowed items to be returned to the store 2 times per year under your ID card without a receipt .

A reader we’re calling Agnetha was cleaning out her clothes closet over the holiday break. She assembled a pile of barely worn shoes that she decided she would donate to her local Goodwill store. After two days of sorting and compiling, Agnetha made the 16-minute drive to Goodwill to make the drop off.

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Agnetha indicated in her email that she loves shoes, but she had come to terms that it was time to get the pairs she rarely wore onto the feet of someone who might make better and more frequent use of them. “I had about a dozen pair of shoes with me to donate all in great condition,” Agnetha wrote.

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Tax deductible donations must meet certain guidelines to get a tax break for your good deed. For the 2021 tax year, you can deduct up to 0 of cash donations per person without having to itemize, meaning a married couple filing jointly could Things to remember about tax deductible donations .

I can write - off craft supplies and things such as printers, right ? Now, if I 'm driving to places specifically to put up flyers for my etsy shop, can I write - off the mileage come tax time if I keep a log of where I go and how many miles travelled? I make notes in my spreadsheets too so I won't forget why I had a receipt that was a credit slip for .83 as supplies. Well, what kind, where from, and etc? Keep excellent records. I also file my records by day and print them off. Now, when you worked for a literal 100 companies, this is useful.

Typically, Agnetha indicated that she makes the drop-off to a large trailer-truck container in Goodwill’s parking lot. Generally, there is an attendant sitting at the open doors of the container to accept the donated items who can give Agnetha or others a receipt. But on this trip, while the container doors were open, there was no one in sight from whom to get a receipt.

“I don’t donate the items solely for the possibility of a tax write-off,” wrote Agnetha. “But if I can take the deduction, I’d like to.”

Agnetha is concerned, however, that she did not receive a receipt from Goodwill and wonders if it would be wrong to claim the charitable deduction anyway.

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“Should I go back to Goodwill and get a receipt when someone is there?” asks Agnetha. “Or should I just write this off as a good deed and not bother with trying to claim the charitable deduction?” Agnetha made clear that she regularly will drop off bags of clothing to donation boxes along the highway and she rarely if ever tries to itemize those deductions on her taxes.

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You can set up direct receipt of personal donations into your PayPal available balance, quite easily and almost instantly, provided #1 and most importantly, your PayPal account is “verified” (associated with one or more verified credit or debit cards or a savings or checking bank account). The short answer is yes you can, but here is a little more info on some things to think about if your accepting donations . A. The customer needs to know that even though he is not getting anything in exchange for his money it is not a charitable donation . The customer can not claim this as a charitable donation

Charitable donations are tax deductible, but you must donate to a recognized charity. Tax law specifically bars money that you give to an individual directly. If you want to give a poor person a car, see if you can find some recognized charity to give the car through. Now some State’s have Laws that will enable Landlords, to assert a right to file for Lien Sales, to remove abandoned Property and/or obtain ownership interest in property, that is apparently abandoned. For this, you need to discuss with a local Attorney as to your rights , if you feel you may fall into this category, within such States that allow

As I’ve written before, I am not a tax attorney intimately familiar with the nuances of what can or can’t be claimed as a charitable deduction. Nor am I familiar with Agnetha’s tax situation nor how she files her taxes each year.

But according to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s website, generally a receipt from a charity for goods donated is only needed if the donation is worth $250 or more. On its own website, Goodwill provides donors with guidelines on estimated donation values. For women’s shoes, it’s between $2 and $10. If Agnetha donated a dozen pair of shoes, the estimated value would fall between $24 and $120, well below that threshold. Agnetha would be wise to make a detailed record of what she donated, when she donated it, and the estimated value that she could keep in her own files if she decides to claim a charitable deduction.

If Agnetha would like to itemize her donations on a receipt from Goodwill for her records for piece of mind, those blank forms are available online for the donor to fill out. Or she can decide to simply donate the items without trying to take the deductions. The latter is a decision only she can make.

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The rule on no receipt items is that the refund is in the form of a gift card. i .e. store credit. I have never known of a cash refund with no receipt though I am sure it happens. When buying a gift at Walmart (or just about any other store) you should ask for a gift receipt . To return or exchange items without a receipt , you are required to present a valid government issued photo ID. Information from the customer ID will be stored in a secured database of returns activity that Walmart uses to authorize returns.

Again, I’m not a tax attorney so I am useless when it comes to helping Agnetha fill out her tax forms, but if she maintains detailed, honest records on her donations, that seems the right thing to do.

(Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of "The Simple Art of Business Etiquette: How to Rise to the Top by Playing Nice," is a senior lecturer in public policy and director of the communications program at Harvard's Kennedy School. He is also the administrator of, a blog focused on ethical issues. Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @jseglin.)

Jeffrey L. Seglin wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: Jeffrey Seglin. © Provided by Tribune Content Agency Jeffrey Seglin.

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