If you want to donate paintings or other art to a charitable, tax-exempt organization, it is important to learn the Internal Revenue Service rules and regulations surrounding charitable donations. Nonprofit organizations may sell donated paintings at a charity auction to offset the organization's operating or programming expenses; therefore, making sure the organization is a legitimate charity is key prior to donating your valuable paintings.
Find a charity you can donate your paintings to and make sure that organization has a mission and programs that you want to support. Do not be afraid to do research into an organization and review their 990 IRS tax filings to ensure that the organization is not operating in the red.
Verify the charitable organization is a legally-incorporated 501c3 that is eligible for tax-exempt donations. Search for the charitable organization on the IRS website (IRS.gov) to confirm its 501c3 classification.
Hire a professional appraiser to appraise your paintings. Be sure about the value of the paintings you want to donate to help you avoid overstating or understating the value of the artwork and help determine the fair market value of the paintings.
Decide if you want the proceeds from the painting to go toward a specific cause or program within the organization you have chosen. Discuss the needs of the organization with the executive director to help you make your decision.
Donate the art to the charity of your choice. Provide information about the artist, including biographical information, and any other information you have about the artwork that might be helpful during the auction.
Fill out any paperwork required by the charity and sign documentation to confirm your donation of art to a charity. Obtain an acknowledgment letter or receipt from the charity for each painting donated. This paperwork will help you and your accountant determine the amount you can claim as a deduction on your taxes. Keep your paperwork in a safe place until you file your taxes.
Complete IRS Form 8283 if your painting is valued over $500. Have your appraiser fill out Part III, "Declaration of Appraiser," for any appraised paintings donated. Have the charity fill out Part IV, "Donee Acknowledgment." Attached Form 8283 with your Form 1040 tax return.
It is important to keep records of all contributions you donate to a nonprofit organization. Make sure that the organization has sent you a written acknowledgment that includes a good-faith estimate of the value of the art you donated. If you are unsure about how donating a painting may impact your taxes, it is best to consult an accountant who understands the process of claiming tax deductions.
For large donations, be sure to keep a picture of the painting with your tax records as proof, along with an itemized list of your donations. This can help if you are ever questioned about your donation by the IRS.
- IRS.gov: Eight Tips for Deducting Charitable Contributions; Updated March 2011
- IRS.gov: Topic 506 -- Charitable Donations; Updated February 2011
- The Planned Giving Design Center: Donating Art: Ten TIPs Every Planner Should Know; Joy Gibney Berus; 2004
- IRS.gov: Publication 561 (4/2007), Determining the Value of Donated Property
- IRS.gov: Publication 526 (2010), Charitable Contributions