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Book Value for an In-Kind Donation

  • 1.  Book Value for an In-Kind Donation

    Posted 14 days ago
    We are receiving several musical instruments as in-kind donations (we are a school, so our music department can happily use them). I am hung up on what specifically to use for the book value for the gifts. We will receipt as just the items (1 flute, 2 violins, etc...), but I know that the donors have gotten valuations in ranges for them (ie - the flute could be sold for $900-$1100). Should I just book the average of the two values? Each of the individual items should be well under the $5,000 threshold from the IRS and it's from several donors, so I don't expect the total values to reach that amount either.

    This is a first for us, as previously all in-kind donations had been booked without dollar amounts or not tax receipted at all, so any advice is appreciated. Our gift acceptance policies merely state that in-kind donations have to be approved by the advancement office and head of school, no guidance about amounts.

    Thank you so much!

  • 2.  RE: Book Value for an In-Kind Donation

    Posted 14 days ago
    When left with only a donor estimate, I turn to this new-fangled thing called Google :-).  Pretty much anything that can be sold has been sold, and you can often find a comparison on the interweb.  And when it comes to common items such as musical instruments, I've often contacted a local instrument reseller for advice.  You can also get a gut-check from your own music staff.

    BTW, the same rules apply even if $5,000+.  Donors are not required to give you an appraisal.  And if they don't want to claim a deduction, they also do not have to give you an 8283.  I have followed the same protocol mentioned above for many 5-6 figure in-kind donations.

    The final counting decision rests with your Gift Acceptance Committee - should there be a difference of opinion.  And also, remember that what you count these at might not be the same value that your CFO will use for recording an asset.


    John H. Taylor
    John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC
    2604 Sevier St.
    Durham, NC   27705
    919.816.5903 (cell/text)

    Serving the Advancement Community Since 1987