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Goodwill prepares for donation surge; donated items tax deductible
122908 GOODWILL 1
Wesley Jones, right, sorts through donated clothes at Goodwill Industries Monday.
    Christmas is over, and it’s closet-cleaning time. People everywhere are making room for the new gifts they received, but many aren’t simply tossing the old items — they’re taking them to Goodwill.
    It’s not just the kind thing to do — there’s a benefit to the generosity. Donated items can be sold to fund the Goodwill cause, which helps people with disabilities and other limitations live independently and find employment. But another great benefit to the donors comes in the form of tax deductions.
    That’s right. Those clothes you no longer wear, or even the ones you never wore that still have tags on  them — can help fatten your tax returns.
    But hurry — you only have until Wednesday to make that donation for it to count toward your 2008 taxes.
    Goodwill takes all sorts of items — furniture, clothing, toys, books, housewares, jewelry and more. The local Goodwill store on Northside Drive East near Lowes recently had a saddle for sale, said Division Manager Tony Brown.
    This is the busiest time of year for donations, he said. While normally “we have 250-300 donors a week, we’ll have that many Wednesday,” he said.
    Most people do end up cleaning out closets to make room for new Christmas gifts at this time of year, but the majority of donors at this time are thinking tax deductions, he said.
    A donor can come to the drive-through donation doors, and an attendant is there to help unload and to give donors receipts for the donated items.
    However, it’s “up to your accountant” as to the value of the donations. Goodwill doesn’t give a value for the receipts — just lists the items donated, he said. “We don’t determine anything” as far as value.
    The largest number of donated items is clothing, he said. But anything of value can be donated.
    The items are displayed for sale for four weeks, placed on a “rotation schedule,” and if they do not sell, are “baled up and picked up by trucking companies,” Brown said. “Most goes to third world countries.”
    Today and Wednesday will be the busiest days of the season for Goodwill, he said. The store’s donation area will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the store opens at 9 a.m., he said.
    The store’s inventory should be impressive after the New Year begins, because of the volume of donations, Brown said. But, “After the 31st, which is the busiest day of the year, things will slow down.”
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