Understanding Tax Deductions for Charitable Clothing Donations: The Case of Duncan Bass

Tax-related issues can be complex and challenging, especially when it comes to charitable donations. In this article I explore the tax-related problems faced by Duncan Bass, an individual with multiple jobs and businesses, who made substantial donations of clothing to Goodwill and the Salvation Army. By taking a look at Mr. Bass’s predicament, our objective lies in delineating the core tenets and fundamental facets of tax deductions for charitable clothing donations, highlighting the importance of adhering to IRS rules and regulations.

Duncan Bass’s Diverse Work and Philanthropic Endeavors

Duncan Bass exemplified a diligent work ethic, balancing the demands of not one but two full-time W-2 employments, collectively amounting to an approximate weekly commitment of 53 hours. Additionally, he stewarded various entrepreneurial ventures, comprising landscaping services, janitorial enterprises, and a purveyor of second-hand garments. It was from the clientele of his landscaping and janitorial ventures that he received a varied assortment of clothing items, which he munificently bestowed upon Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Over a span of two years, Mr. Bass sought to capitalize on sizeable clothing tax deductions, tallying $13,852 and $11,594 for the respective fiscal periods.

The Perceived Fallacy

Mr. Bass harbored the notion that by scrupulously ensuring that each charitable donation receipt reflected a market valuation beneath the $250 threshold, he could circumvent the obligatory process of securing professional appraisals. His modus operandi involved a multitude of visits to Goodwill and the Salvation Army, where he judiciously manipulated the recorded values on every acknowledgment of his contributions. However, his strategy was underpinned by a critical misunderstanding.

Mandated Conformity with IRS Provisions

The IRS, through the conduit of Form 8283 and the stipulations delineated within tax code Section 170(f)(11)(F) and IRS Regulation Section 1.170A-13(c), unequivocally prescribes the consolidation of akin property items—such as clothing—for the purposes of adhering to the $5,000 rule, which necessitates appraisals. Unfortunately, Mr. Bass inadvertently disregarded this pivotal requirement.

The Judicial Verdict

In consequence of the absence of appraisals affixed to his tax return submissions, the court adjudicated against Mr. Bass, thereby invalidating any deductions corresponding to his clothing beneficence towards Goodwill and the Salvation Army. This legal pronouncement underscores the criticality of comprehending and conforming to the IRS’s regulatory framework when engaging in philanthropic undertakings.


  1. Thorough Familiarization with Tax Code Provisions: Before embarking on philanthropic endeavors, a comprehensive grasp of the manifold regulations pertinent to charitable giving within the tax code is imperative.
  2. Consolidation of Similar Contributions: As illuminated by the events in Mr. Bass’s narrative, IRS Form 8283 elucidates the necessity of amalgamating donations of akin items, such as clothing, for the purposes of appraisal compliance. Overlooking this prerequisite may result in disallowed deductions.
  3. Potential Impacts on Clothing Donations: The mandatory appraisal requirement within the tax code may inadvertently deter individuals from making extensive clothing donations to venerable organizations like Goodwill and the Salvation Army, as underscored by Mr. Bass’s experience.

Duncan Bass’s anecdotal experience serves as an instructive parable, casting light upon the core principles underpinning tax deductions attributed to charitable clothing bestowals. To avert complications with the IRS, individuals are urged to cultivate an informed awareness of, and adherence to, the tax code’s dictums governing charitable giving, particularly when such acts encompass the contribution of clothing items.

I think that it’s clear that the tax code can be a bit of a labyrinth at times, especially when it comes to charitable giving.

Duncan Bass’s story is used in this article as an example of how important it is to learn the tax guidelines before making donations. It serves as a reminder that even the best-laid plans might backfire if we fail to understand how the system works.

Don’t let the complexities making donations or other tax-saving techniques hold you back. Reach out to Morris + D’Angelo today to discover how their expertise can be your ticket to financial success! Your peace of mind is just a click away.

Parts of this article are published with permission from Bradford Tax Institute, © 2021 Daniel Morris, Morris + D’Angelo

Daniel Morris
Daniel frequently provides Media Content via Workshops, Podcasts, and Printed Articles on topics like Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency, Wealth Preservation and Planning, Global Banking, and many other high-level financial topics that serve and demonstrate the Value of our Global Network that should be of interest to those who need Private High-Wealth Services.

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