When you're trying to help out a community organization or charity, a donation of equipment can be a great way to help fill their coffers or provide them with equipment that moves their mission forward. However, when it comes time to deal with finances and taxes, sometimes you need to have a bit more paperwork available than a receipt from the organization in question to document value. During those times, a donation appraisal is often the best way to verify value and provide documentation for tax agencies to back up that value. Here's a quick overview of how the donation valuation process works and in what situations it's most necessary.
How does a donation appraisal work and how can it benefit your finances?
With the changes that have happened recently in the tax code and new tax reform bill, many businesses are concerned about how their donations to charities will work out financially in the future. Fortunately, many of the issues surrounding donations are still somewhat similar to past years. However, if you're considering trying the new tactic of bunching your donation of a large value of equipment into a single year and then coasting through the next several years before your next donation, you'll need to make sure you're able to solidly document the value of your equipment.
But what about tax agencies? If the equipment you're donating is $5,000 or more in value, the IRS requires that you have an appropriate appraisal performed to document the value. What's considered an appropriate or qualified appraisal? Most tax agencies, not just the IRS, will happily accept an equipment appraisal that is performed by a certified appraiser. Why? Because this type of appraisal uses a set of standardized methodologies that have already been tested in a wide range of situations. This means that they've been perfected into methodologies that are accepted by tax agencies, financial institutions, legal circles and insurance companies.
What if you have already donated the equipment during this past year in anticipation of the new tax laws? If you didn't have the opportunity to have the machinery appraised at the time, it's not too late to have an appraisal performed. The methodologies that were mentioned earlier include developing calculations that work well for past values. These values have been used in a wide range of other situations, including insurance losses due to natural disasters, changing market conditions and similar situations. This allows a certified equipment appraiser to look back through time to the situation and conditions under which the donations took place as well as any mitigating circumstances such as cost of removing the equipment from your facility and who bore the burden of that expense.
If the machinery you're donating has a value anywhere near where the cutoffs for the tax agencies you're dealing with, a donation appraisal is a vital part of the process. Fortunately, when you're working with a certified equipment appraiser, you can even have the equipment you've already donated appraised as of the date of its donation, making it easier to deal with tax agency issues that you may have missed at the time of the donation. Working with a certified appraiser ensures that the methodology used in calculating value will be accepted by tax agencies and courts of law if necessary.