I’m writing this blog post while doing my taxes. Or let’s be real, while procrastinating from doing my taxes!
An idea came to mind while accounting for all of the things my last disaster of a tenant left behind when I evicted her. (For all the details of that calamity, you can read it here.) Of all the things I expected, one event I didn’t forsee whas that she would leave most of her possessions behind – things worth thousands at retail price. *
This left me with a big headache on my hands. I paid $400 to have the mattress (ewwww), box frames, and couch taken away,** and my garage was still littered with dozens of bags of clothes and shoes, kitchen appliances, and more. I took all this to Goodwill and itemized them as deductions on my taxes – totaling out to $600+ worth of stuff.
Which is when the abovementioned thought came to me, one that some might say is devious or downright low: You can donate stuff and make money from the federal government.
The usual method people use to make money is to produce new items for sale or reclaim used items, repair or refurbish them, and later resell them for profit. I tried using the latter strategy last year to refinish and resell furniture – alas with no success!
However, you can also just drive by your city streets for stuff people left out front for others to take – old chairs, filing cabinets, tables, cheap computer desks – you name it! Rather than resell them, you immediately drive to your local charity and drop it off. For 10 minutes of your time you get a receipt from the charity to knock off part of your taxes. If you get lucky and find larger peices of furniture this can quickly save you hundreds of dollars in deductions – or should I call them finder’s fees?
Naturally the federal government doesn’t like this, so there is a cap to how much you can save/make with this strategy. Unlike with an actual business, you can only go so far. It may also not be appropriate depending on your tax needs (Please note: I am totally not an account, so ask one for more details!). However, we can all agree that the more money in your pocket the better. If donating items helps you move from a situation where you owe the government money to where it owes you money, it wouldn’t hurt to max it out
*This shouldn’t have surprised me – if she couldn’t pay rent she probably didn’t have money for a truck or a storage unit either. Maybe I could’ve given her money for the truck and saved myself the headache…but would she actually use it for moving or just pocket it and run?
**Note to self: buy a pickup truck next time I need a car so I can do this stuff myself. $400 is highway robbery.