How to Value Your Gown for a Tax Deduction

Tax deductions can sometimes come in the most unexpected forms. Take, for instance, your once-loved prom or wedding gown. By donating your dress to charity, it will have new use and you could get a bigger tax refund. Donating items to charitable organizations is a fine way to help those in need and increase your itemized deductions.

Make sure that your gown is in good or better condition. If necessary, you may want to consider taking the gown to cleaners or having any flaws mended before donating the gown. The better condition the gown is in, the higher the value will be. Due to tax law changes, items donated in fair condition or worse can no longer have value for a tax deduction.

Use a valuation guide to look up the fair market value of your gown. Charitable organizations such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army provide valuation guides containing lists of commonly donated items along with the values. These guides are on the Internet and available upon request at some participating donation locations.

Look for similar items in thrift shops, yard sales, and classified ads. Compare the value and condition of these items to your gown and use this information to estimate the value. This is especially helpful when you donate an uncommon item such as a wedding dress or prom gown that may not be in a published valuation guide.

Ask a store clerk at the organization to which you are donating the gown to assign a value. If you cannot determine a value for the gown on your own, ask for help. Chances are the clerk or somebody else working at the organization has taken similar donations and can give you an accurate value for the gown.


  • Always ask for a receipt with the name of the organization to which you donate and the value of your donated items. In the event of an IRS audit, you will need this to provide proof of your charitable contributions