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Well, that was odd. I entered each book and item of clothing into "It's Deductible" (ID) and let the software figure the value, as opposed to prowling thrift stores and figuring out myself what a fair market value would be. Then while in TurboTax, I imported the ID results.

Very nice, because TT then filled out the Form 8283 for me. However, on Section A, Part I, column g, TT showed a fair market value about 15% higher than the ID estimates.

From the ID web site:
Estimated Value
This is an estimated value to be used for planning purposes only. Estimated values will be updated with final values when they are imported into TurboTax (Deluxe and above).

Anyone know why final values would be different from estimated values? FYI, column h shows "Comparative sales" as the method used to determine FMV. The Form 8283 instructions on the IRS site didn't shed any light on the ID process.

Just curious. I'm not entirely comfortable with unexplained numbers showing up on a document that I'm signing as "true, correct, and complete...under penalties of perjury."
(I'm also not comfortable with charitable contributions being deductible in the first place, but that's a different issue, and as long as the deductions are allowed I might as well take them.)

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I'd say relax and don't worry about it. Using something like ID is a pretty standard method to estimate the value of donated goods. It sounds to me like ID had an initial set of values, and when you uploaded to TurboTax, it fetched an updated value sheet that happened to have slightly different numbers, and recalculated your total. The up-to-date valuation is about 15% higher than before.

When you print the information for your records, I'm pretty sure TT will give you the option to print out the details of the valuation (probably as an optional printed page). Keep that. On the remote chance that you get audited, this is likely all you would ever need to provide. The IRS isn't going to challenge the ID valuations. They're checking for people who grossly fabricated things.
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