Toy donations are tax deductible when made to a nonprofit organization and submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with proper documentation within the same calendar year of the donations. The IRS provides two forms for toy donation deductions; the one you submit depends on your total toy donation deduction amount. In all cases, an itemized list of each toy donated and an accurate record of the donation and fair market value are required.
Toy donations are tax deductible if they are made to a nonprofit organization, such as a charity or an educational or religious institution; consult the organization to confirm its nonprofit status. To deduct your donations with the IRS, you must provide an itemized list of each toy on IRS Form 1040, Schedule A for deductions totaling $500 or less, and for donations exceeding $500, you must fill out IRS Form 8283, Section A. In both cases, you will need an accurate record (including donation receipt) of each toy to submit with your taxes. Also, keep in mind that you can only deduct toy donations in a given tax year that were actually made during that same calendar year.
Nonprofit organizations may differ in their toy donation requirements. Some require only new, unopened toys, while some accept "gently used" toys and others are even more lenient. In most cases, however, your toy donation requires that no pieces are broken or missing. Consult the nonprofit you wish to donate toys to for its specific requirements.
Whether your toy donations require you to fill out IRS Form 1040 or 8283, you will need to back up the valuation of the deductions you're claiming. First, itemize the list of the toys you're donating, including the toy description. Be specific with each toy name and use the manufacturer's name wherever possible; for example, avoid "puzzle" and aim for "Disney Winnie the Pooh 25-Piece Puzzle 'Fun in the Sun'." Second, take a picture if possible; photos are not required by the IRS, but they will assist you in record-keeping and any questions regarding valuation if an audit ever arises. Third, assess and include the "fair market value" of each toy (see next section for details). Fourth, ask for a receipt at the donation drop-off point or from the person picking up your toy donation; in most cases the receipt will be blank, and you will have to fill in the toy description, photo (if available) and fair market value. Attach this paperwork to the appropriate IRS form depending on the total valuation of your toy donations.
Fair Market Value
Each toy you donate must include a fair market value (FMV) on your itemized list. If your toy is brand new, while you search for the full product name (such as "Disney Winnie the Pooh 25-Piece Puzzle 'Fun in the Sun'"), also assess the current retail price for that item with at least three national retailers and document the average retail price. For toys that are "gently used" or "used," consult your local thrift stores or online auction sites and classifieds to determine equivalent pricing.
- IRS.gov: Publication 526 (2010) Charitable Contributions: Types of Qualified Organizations
- IRS.gov: Publication 571 (4/2007), Determining the Value of Donated Property: What is Fair Market Value (FMV)?
- Donation Town: Tax Deduction – Charity Tax Deductions for Donation of Clothing & Household Items