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I'm a novice at itemized deductions, and the instructions for form 8283 are particularly confusing.

I've been clearing out a lot of books this year, and I've been donating them to my local library. I didn't donate them all at once - I would take in a few dozen every time I had enough to fill up a bag. I got receipts as I went along, but I just realized that I'm getting close to the $500 limit for filling out Form 8283. (I was pretty conservative in my valuations, but I had a lot of books.) I was planning on making another donation before the end of the year, but I'm not sure how to handle the tax form, or if it's worthwhile.

I read the instructions, but I'm not clear about how to handle a lot of small donations to a single charity. If I donated 350 books with a value of about $600, it seems like I would need to fill out the sections on date acquired, how acquired and cost basis - but that seems like a hard thing to do for 350 books that I acquired over a 20+ year period, at different times in different ways. Also, I don't think I would need an appraisal for only $600 in donations but the instructions are not all that clear.

Any advice? The easiest thing to do would just be to save my remaining donations for next year, which would keep me under the $500 limit, but I'm not sure I will be able to itemize next year so I'd like to donate them this year if the paperwork isn't too overwhelming.

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No. of Recommendations: 3
I donate a lot of non-cash stuff and the IRS is really sticky about it. They ALWAYS audit me and make me do a chart and answer all the questions: when acquired, fair market value when acquired, when donated, etc.

I've just learned to keep the chart as I go through the year.

Also, FWIW, when they've disallowed my deductions, I've often managed to get them to back down by questioning their assessment. In one case, they demanded an itemization and then disallowed it in one fell swoop. So I wrote back and asked them specifically which items they thought were over-estimated? The handkerchiefs at 25 cents, the shirts at $1? After all, I told them, it seems only fair that if you want an itemization from me, you should give me an itemized disallowance.

So I got back a letter and they told me they were allowing everything.

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