When you donate items you have collected to charity, you must clear several hurdles to get a deduction for the full market value.
* Recipient. The item must be donated to a public charity, not to a private foundation.
* Time. You must have owned the item for longer than one year.
* Appraisal. You must get a valuation of the item from an unrelated, qualified appraiser at the time of the donation.
* Related use. The item that is donated must be used for the charity’s tax-exempt purpose.
For example, you can deduct the full value of a painting you donate to an art museum, which will display it, if all the other tests are met. However, if you donate that same painting to a charity for a fund-raising auction, your donation will be limited to your basis in the artwork. Generally, your basis will be the price you paid for the painting.