Equipment Appraisal Blog | Understanding Machinery Appraisals

Donating Older Equipment vs. Trying to Sell

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Mon, Jan 08, 2024 @ 07:30 AM

donating used equipment versus selling machine appraisal

We see many instances where business owners and individuals no longer need to operate used machinery or have recently acquired older equipment and personal property as part of a larger purchase or estate settlement. In any of these cases, the assets are no longer useful, and there becomes a need to decide the best option for transferring ownership.

The first thought is usually determining the ability to sell or liquidate the assets; however, this process may be difficult, especially if demand is limited or the owner is unfamiliar with the potential resale markets. As an alternative, donating the property to a local business, university, training school, or non-profit organization might be a better choice. The benefits of a tax deduction and supporting your community or alma mater might outweigh the uncertainty and time-consuming process of trying to sell the items on your own.

Before you decide which options are best, it is a good idea to consult with your accountant as well as an accredited professional appraiser, especially if you know the total value of the donation will be significant. The IRS rule is that an independent appraisal is required as part of any deduction claim in excess of $5,000. You must also include Form 8283 as part of your income tax filing. The form needs to be signed by you, the appraiser, and the party you are donating to.

The cost of the appraisal can sometimes become a challenge in comparison to the tax benefit. For example, suppose you have dozens of small items that are being donated together, and all need to be appraised. In that case, the total value might not support the cost given the valuation process will be time-consuming. You need to broadly calculate your expected tax deduction by approximating the total value of your donation and multiplying it by your estimated adjusted income tax percentage.

As an example, a $50,000 donation would result in a $10,000 deduction for someone in the 20% tax bracket. If the appraisal costs $5,000, you will end up with a $5,000 overall benefit for the donation. A lower overall value for your donation will create a more price-sensitive situation regarding the appraisal cost, and vice versa.

It is important to review and discuss these scenarios with your accountant and the appraiser to try and create an affordable option that makes sense for you. Grouping together some of the less expensive items for the purpose of valuing them might be one viable way to save on the time and cost of completing the appraisal. The focus can then be placed on the higher-valued property for the purpose of detailing and itemizing the report.

Tags: donation appraisal, selling equipment, used equipment, equipment donations, used machinery

Equipment Donations are a Great Way to Reduce Tax Liability

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Mon, Apr 17, 2023 @ 07:30 AM

Equipment Appraisals Donating Machinery

When your business is looking to acquire new equipment, one of the primary reasons that necessitate this is the need to replace older machinery and upgrade your company’s production capabilities. Your first instinct may be to trade in or resell your used assets, however, another effective option is to donate them to a local non-profit, such as a public school/university, hospital, research institute, charity, museum, or other tax-exempt organization.

Consider researching options locally or contact your old schools to see if they would be interested in acquiring the used equipment which they might utilize directly or be able to refer you to a facility they know might have an interest.

The benefits to this type of transaction are not only from an income tax deduction perspective but you can also provide goodwill for your business. You may also be helping another facility and the individuals they support by providing items they might not be able to afford otherwise. Scientific, medical, and technical research and education at the high school and college levels are areas that usually need resources to maintain and grow their foundations.

Before physically donating, make sure you check that the equipment is in good working order while cleaning it up and creating an itemized list of what you will be providing to the non-profit organization. This list will come in handy when filing your taxes as well.

If you know the overall value of your donated machinery will exceed $5,000, you will be required to obtain an appraisal to support the higher claim. The advantage you have here is that the price level will be measured at fair market value, which is very likely higher than any trade-in or resale price you might get from an equipment dealer if you tried to sell on your own.

>Look to engage with an experienced accredited appraiser who is familiar with the type of assets you are donating. Donation valuations are very common for equipment appraisers, and they can provide the support needed to ensure you receive a reasonable assessment of value.

Once the appraisal is completed, you will need to fill out an IRS form 8283 for noncash donations and have the appraiser review and attest to the reported value. You can submit this as part of your overall tax return.

Donations can also be completed for unused inventory such as spare parts and tooling. Companies that produce excess finished goods can also donate these items using the same process. Equipment appraisers with experience in valuing inventory can work with you on these types of donations as well. In summary, before you decide to resell your used machinery when replacing them with newer models, consider a donation as a more effective alternative.

Tags: donation appraisal, equipment donations, Equipment Appraisal for Tax Purposes

Making an Equipment Donation? Use an Accredited Equipment Appraiser!

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Mon, Dec 14, 2020 @ 08:00 AM

Equipment Donation Appraisal

When you are considering donating equipment for tax purposes, no matter how much or how little you can afford to give, it usually goes toward a worthy cause and makes you feel good in the process. Many people donate cash while others choose to make a donation of property or equipment.

While giving is its own reward, the IRS also rewards those who make charitable contributions to qualified organizations. As long as you meet certain guidelines and follow basic rules, you will be able to take a deduction on your tax return for the fair market value of your donation.

Claiming a Deduction for Donated Equipment or Machinery

Individuals, partnerships, and corporations are all eligible to claim a tax deduction on their tax return for donated property such as machinery & equipment. If you donate these tangible assets, and believe the value will be in excess of $500, you are required to fill out IRS Form 8283 (Non-Cash Charitable Deductions). On donations above $500, but no more than $5,000, you need to fill out Section A of Form 8283 but likely will not need to provide an equipment appraisal supporting the value. For donations where the value exceeds $5,000, you are required to fill out Section B of Form 8283 and you will need to provide an appraisal.

The IRS does not necessarily think everyone will overstate the value of their donation so they can claim a bigger deduction, but they must be able to document larger transactions using a reasonable process of independently valuing the property. The IRS generally does not question donations under $500, but you should keep records/receipts of all charitable gifts just in case they do. An equipment and machinery appraisal is required on more highly-valued items because the potential to overstate can materially reduce the amount of revenue the agency receives. 

In most cases where you need an appraisal, you do not need to attach it to Form 8283 and submit it with your return. An exception would be if your claimed donation is over $500,000. Keep the appraisal in your records just in case the IRS questions the amount of the claimed deduction.

Who is a Qualified Appraiser?

Equipment value established by an accredited equipment appraiser is more likely to be accepted as accurate by the IRS. An accredited equipment appraiser has the experience, education, and ability to perform an equipment & machinery valuation by following generally accepted appraisal standards. Accredited equipment appraisers are so designated by the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and are compliant with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).

In summary, do not try to save a few dollars by hiring the cheapest appraiser you can find. You should always look for an accredited equipment appraiser who has the credentials to complete a supportable assessment of your donated equipment values. Using an appraisal company that only hires accredited appraisers is the best way to assure you will receive the best bang for your buck and feel confident that you're receiving the most benefit from donation.

Tags: Equipment Appraisal, donation appraisal, equipment donations

How does a donation appraisal work and how can it benefit your finances?

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Tue, Mar 27, 2018 @ 12:27 PM

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.

Tags: donation appraisal, equipment donations, IRS 8283 form

Benefit from Your Equipment Donations: Why a Machine Valuation is Vital

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Tue, Nov 15, 2016 @ 02:00 PM


When you're considering making donations to community or charitable organizations, it's really easy to get caught up in the great feeling that you're doing something wonderful in the world. Unfortunately, many business owners or managers don't fully consider the legal and financial ramifications until after they've completed the donation process. Here are a few reasons why you should always get equipment appraisals before making that donation.

Benefit from Your Equipment Donations: Why a Machine Valuation is Vital

Get a better picture of what you're donating.

Sure, you saw something similar go at auction for about $5,000 last month, but was it really a comparable piece of equipment? Maybe the charity you're working with "knows a guy" who can provide an estimate of value for your receipt. Unfortunately, if you don't have a certified machine valuation, you don't have legal proof of the donation's actual value in many cases. When it comes time to split up a company or deal with an audit, you may be accused of intentionally dumping the company's assets instead of having to split them or pay taxes on them.

Provide documentation of donations to the charitable organization.

Many charitable organizations work with donors who will provide additional funding or matching funds once a particular goal has been met. Instead of providing them with a piece of machinery with an assigned minimum value, wouldn't you rather provide them with the actual value so they can take advantage of what those donors or matching foundations have to offer? Having a certified value gives you and the charitable organization more flexibility in what you do with that equipment appraisal.

Have that important piece of paper when the IRS comes knocking.

Every business owner dreads the possibility: the IRS audit. If you've made a donation of valuable equipment but don't have legal proof of its actual value from a certified machinery appraiser, the IRS can accuse you of dumping assets to lower your tax liability. Unfortunately, this is because companies have done this in the past. If an oil company has a banner year and knows they need new equipment, they can donate the old equipment to show a loss of assets before investing in new equipment in the new year.

If you've already donated, it's not too late to get an appraisal!

Have you already donated that equipment? Don't panic! There are legal methodologies that allow a certified machine appraiser to provide you with a backdated value for equipment that has already been donated. This type of appraisal will take into account market and industry conditions at the time the donation was made, allowing you to take advantage of the tax benefits of your donation without the risk of an IRS audit or of undervaluing your equipment. A past donation like a powered electric wheelchair to the ALS is something that can be handled through this process.  Make sure the appraiser is a Qualified Appraiser in the eyes of the IRS and that they regularly sign off on IRS 8283 forms. 

Now that you know what to expect, make an appointment with a certified equipment appraiser before making donations to that wonderful 501c3 that you've been wanting to help along. By knowing your equipment values and having a certified machine appraisal in hand, you're ready to make a change for the better in our world while documenting exactly what has changed hands.

Tags: machine valuation, equipment donations