When donating new merchandise to a thrift shop, how would one value the items for tax purposes? The retail amount actually paid or what it would sell for in the thrift shop? The shop's income for the item would be a guesstimate.
It is not the amount you paid retail. It's the amount it will sell for in the second hand shop.
We use ItsDeductible by Intuit. It will give you the prices and if you register the software and have any problems, they will pay the additional tax and penalties. You have to keep the documentation and photos. It's very easy for those who don't routinely shop in second hand shops. It is actually a higher price than our local stores.
Ask a thriftstore employee if they have a list of the reasonable value of various items. I once saw a list posted in a thriftshop with this information clearly stated.
Below is a link to Goodwill values for just about everything. Also, there are many sites in a Google search for "donation value list".
Here is a link that might be useful: Goodwill list
Here's the official view-----
Here is a link that might be useful: IRS - value of donated goods
Thanks all for the information.
What I have is 29 yards of brand new upholstery fabric for which I paid $6/yd., regular retail being something around $30/yd. I'm not even sure a thrift shop is the place to donate it. I could try ebay; shipping will be high, probably $60-80 (I checked at UPS).
I'd list it on ebay. Somebody looking for expensive fabric is not going to bat an eye at paying $60 for shipping if they can get a bargain on the fabric. Also, I have seen folks list it as a dutch auction per yard (with up to 29 yards available) - the bidders bid at the per yard price and specify how many yards they want. That way you're not forcing one person to take all 29 yards.
I know the market for upholstery fabric on ebay is very good - I have both bought and sold some on there.