Court Denies Clothing Donations to Goodwill and the Salvation Army

Tax Planning

Duncan Bass worked hard.

  • He worked one full-time W-2 job for about 53 hours a week and a second, concurrent W-2 job for about 15 hours a week.
  • In addition to his W-2 jobs, Mr. Bass operated a landscaping business, a janitorial business, and a used clothing store business.

His landscaping and janitorial clients gave Mr. Bass men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing. He donated the better clothing to Goodwill and the Salvation Army, claiming clothing tax deductions of $13,852 and $11,594 for the two years before the court.

Mr. Bass did not donate the lesser-quality clothing items he received from his clients. Instead, he sold them through his used clothing store.

What Mr. Bass Thought

Mr. Bass testified before the court that he visited Goodwill and the Salvation Army 173 times. He did this to ensure that every donation receipt he completed showed a market value below $250, so he wouldn’t need appraisals.

That Was Wrong

IRS Form 8283 and its instructions, along with tax code Section 170(f)(11)(F) and IRS Regulation Section 1.170A-13(c), mandate grouping similar items of property (such as clothing) for purposes of the $5,000 rule that requires appraisals.

How the Court Ruled

The court ruled that since no appraisals were attached to his tax return, Mr. Bass could not deduct any of his clothing donations to Goodwill and the Salvation Army.


The tax code has many rules that apply to charitable giving. Make sure you know those rules before giving.

In Mr. Bass’s case, IRS Form 8283 clearly shows that gifts of similar items, such as clothing, must be grouped for purposes of the appraisal rules.

You have to think the tax code’s appraisal requirement pretty much does away with extensive clothing donations to Goodwill and the Salvation Army.

Christopher Ragain

My name is Christopher Ragain, I am the founder of Tax Planner Pro.  I love helping small business owners find creative and legal ways to beat the TaxMan.  My team and I love to write and you can find all of our insights on this blog!

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