My husband died. How do I value his clothing for donations?


Q. My husband died and I plan to donate pretty much all of his clothes. How do I put a fair number to them so I can deduct it on my tax return?
— Widow

A. We’re sorry to hear about your loss.

Donating non-cash items can help a charity while helping you reduce your tax burden, assuming you itemize your deductions.

For the 2022 tax year, the standard deduction is $12,950 for single filers and married filing separately, $25,900 for joint filers and $19,400 for heads of household, said Joseph Sarnecki, a certified financial planner with U.S. Financial Services in Fairfield.

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a taxpayer can deduct what is considered the fair market value of clothing, household goods, used furniture and more.

“Unfortunately, there is no direct formula as fair market value is considered the price a willing buyer would pay for them,” Sarnecki said. “Of course, the value depends on the condition of the item among other factors. Also, by law, the charity cannot determine the value. You have to.”

To get an idea, check out what the IRS has to say, and see this guide from Goodwill.

“Keep in mind, if a single item of clothing that is not in good used condition or better, for which you take a deduction of more than $500, requires a qualified appraisal,” Sarnecki said.

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This story was originally published on Aug. 18, 2022. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.