How do Donation Receipts Work?

09/10/2019 by Rebecca Toews

(and what is the value of my donated items?)

As you add up your generous donations at year-end, you may want some resources for valuing those items for tax purposes. Bridging is happy to provide receipts and documentation of your donation. Thank you for helping us FURNISH HOMES WITH HOPE!

Donations accepted by Bridging generally fall into two categories:

For both categories, Bridging provides acknowledgement of receiving the items, but per IRS nonprofit standards, Bridging does not assess the value (or “fair market value”) of the item or items.

Determining the “Fair Market Value” of donated items

While there is no specific formula for determining the fair market value for an item you donate to Bridging, a good rule of thumb is to consider the “selling price” of the item. The IRS defines fair market value as what a consumer would willingly pay for an item if neither the seller nor the buyer was under any duress to make the sale.

In order to ensure a standard of dignity for the clients we serve, we do not accept items that have rips, tears, stains or strong odors, or are otherwise unusable. Not sure if you should donate an item? Consider whether you would proudly give the item to a family member, relative or friend.

Deduction for item or items valued less than $500

Some organizations put together valuation guides for donors. Please take a look at the guides provided by The Salvation Army to get you started in valuing the items you donated.

Deduction for certain household items valued at more than $500

In compliance with IRS Standards, Bridging will send a signed, acknowledgement letter for your donation on Bridging letterhead. The letter you receive serves as your verified signature/donation receipt for the item donated. (This letter serves as the receipt you need if you donate a bed you purchased from an online mattress retailer.)

To obtain this acknowledgement letter/receipt, please email your request to We are able to process these requests weekly.

The request should include:

  • Name
  • mailing address
  • email address
  • date of your donation
  • description of the items you donated.

Please note, per IRS requirements, Bridging’s pick-up program fee does not qualify for a tax reimbursement, it is a fee for services and covers staff, fuel, truck insurance and maintenance expenses.

Bridging does not provide legal or tax advice. For more information on assessing value on donated items, or if you have specific questions about a donated item, please contact your tax preparer, or visit IRS.Gov for more detailed valuation information.

TL;DR: Is All This Worth the Time and Effort?

Since you must itemize your deductions in order to claim them for tax purposes, valuing your items donated may only be worth your while if your total itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction for your filing status for the year. You can’t itemize and use the standard deduction in the same year. (For 2019, the standard deduction for single filers is $12,200. It’s $24,400 for married taxpayers who file joint returns, and $18,350 for those who qualify as head of household.)

Thank you for helping us FURNISH HOMES WITH HOPE! The support of our community helps us furnish homes for more than 13,000 people each year.

Donate Help bridge the gap between those who have and those who have not

Whether it’s $1.00 or $1 million, it all makes an impact on our mission! All donations are tax-deductible and are a vital part of our life-enhancing work.