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I'm impressed at how many Fools have charitable inclinations!

1. Generally, as long as the organization is a bonified 501(3)(c) organization, a receipt from them giving the date of the gift, the amount (of cash or description of non-cash gifts), and a statement that you did not receive anything of material value in exchange for the gift is sufficient.

2. Non-cash gifts are valued at fair-market value. In the case of a computer, this probably is not much! If the value is more than $5,000 you must have a professional valuation. In this event, there is also a form (I forget the number) you must file. This must also be signed by the charity, simply to state that they did in fact receive that gift. (If they sell it within 2 years, they must file another form stating the sale price. This is sometimes called the "tattle-tale form" - Hmmmmmmm.)

3. If the charity can use the donated item (i.e., your computer) for its charitable purposes, you can claim the full fair market value. If it cannot, you can claim only your tax-basis (cost less depreciation) or the fair market value, which ever is lower. Basically, this means that if they use the computer, you get a better tax treatment than if they put it in rummage sale.

Hope this is of some help to you.

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