The Gift of Inventory – Maximize Your Tax Deduction

Donating excess or obsolete inventory can help small businesses avoid hefty storage fees and make room in their warehouse for the products which do sell. Small business owners could also receive a valuable tax deduction if the donation meets certain requirements.

  • What can be donated? Obsolete inventory exists when the items are no longer in season/style, have expired, or are outdated for the purposes of your business. To qualify for a tax deduction, it must still retain some value and must be able to be used by the charitable organization. A computer is an example for which you can receive a tax deduction. However, the donation of a typewriter to a charitable organization will unlikely qualify for the tax deduction.
  • How much can you donate? The IRS encourages businesses to donate excess inventory to charity in quantities that can be used in the charitable organization’s normal course of business and help them to meet the stated mission of their organization. For example, a manufacturing business can’t receive a deduction for donating 200 widgets to the Salvation Army since they provide no benefit to the charity. However, a clothing store donating 200 coats to Salvation Army would receive a charitable deduction. What if there were 1,000 coats? To receive a deduction for all 1,000 coats, the Salvation Army would have to be able to sell these in the normal course of business, otherwise a deduction would be allowed for only a reasonable number of donated coats.
  • Who can you donate to? Only charitable organizations that are listed as 501(c)(3) organizations will qualify for the tax deduction. Schools, hospitals and churches are some examples of these types of organizations. If you’re in doubt, you can ask the charity about its status.
  • How much can you deduct? The amount you can deduct is the smaller of its fair market value on the day you contributed it or its basis. The basis of contributed inventory is any cost incurred for the inventory. You must remove the amount of your charitable contribution deduction from your opening inventory, as it is not part of the cost of goods sold. If the cost of donated inventory is not included in your opening inventory, the inventory’s basis is zero and you cannot claim a charitable contribution deduction.

If your small business has excess inventory, contact your local Padgett office to see how you may benefit from making a donation.

For more information, contact Padgett Business Services in Bothell, Washington at (425) 408-1695. We handle your bookkeeping, accounting, tax (personal & business) and payroll needs – so you can focus on what makes you money. Serving Bothell, Lynnwood, Kenmore, Mill Creek and surrounding areas.

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