Donating Office Furniture: Tips for Office Managers

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Donating your company’s unwanted office furniture is a win-win for everyone. Gently-used office furniture can give new life to community centers and schools, or supply those in need with furnishings for their homes. Office furniture can also be repurposed or recycled in environmentally sound ways. Your business may also qualify for tax deductions for charitable donations. This article gives some basics on donating office furniture and claiming a tax deduction for charitable contributions.

 

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Office furniture donation basics 

From national distribution centers to community organizations, many charitable organizations gladly accept donated office furniture. These organizations take contributions and reuse, resell or recycle donated items. Accepted items vary, depending on the location and organization, but some generally accepted items are:

  • Chairs
  • Desks
  • Cubicle walls
  • Filing cabinets
  • Computers
  • Copiers
  • Printers
  • Office supplies
  • Building materials

Once you’ve determined what you’ll donate, you’ll need to find the right organization for you. Some organizations will pick your donation up, others may reuse furniture and supplies in your community, and others will sell your donation and use proceeds to fund charitable efforts. These are just a few of  the organizations you can work with to help communities nationwide:

 

  • IRN Surplus: This organization connects charities and non-profits with schools, corporations and colleges that have a surplus of furniture. They move and ship items to those who can reuse them.
  • The Furniture Trust: The trust takes unwanted furniture and distributes it to schools and non-profits. They remove and redistribute donated items in a streamlined process.
  • Goodwill Industries: Goodwill creates vocational and other courses and helps people find employment. They support communities by selling items donated by individuals and businesses.

By working with these organizations, you can ensure that furniture and supplies go to communities in need. In many cases, it’s also less expensive to donate than pay disposal fees.  You also reduce waste and avoid adding to landfills. 

 

Claiming tax deductions  

Tax deductions are great for your business. To ensure you can claim a charitable donation deduction: 

 

  • Donate to a qualified charitable organization or nonprofit. This includes churches, schools and 501(c)(3) organizations. 
  • Check the IRS database to ensure organizations are registered. 
  • Obtain an IRS-compliant appraisal no earlier than 60 days before your donation.
  • If the value of your donation is over $5,000 hire an appraiser to ensure proper paperwork for claiming a tax deduction.  
  • Consult with your accountant or tax professional to ensure proper paperwork.

  

Steps for donating office furniture

Here are a few steps to help you donate your unneeded office furniture: 

  1. Plan ahead. Agencies that pick up furniture are often very busy. Make sure you start the process a few weeks ahead of your desired pickup.
  2. Search for organizations. Look for agencies in your area that accept donations and choose one that suits your needs. Many organizations will guide you through the process. 
  3. Appraise your furniture. If you plan to claim a deduction, appraise your furniture. Enlist an appraiser if your donation is valued at over $5,000 and keep a record of their estimate. 
  4. Schedule a drop-off or pick-up time. You can either drop off furniture at the organization’s location or, if the service is available, have them pick it up from your workplace.
  5. Get a receipt. Make sure you get a receipt from the organization. In addition to your appraisal, you’ll need this to claim the deduction. Check with your accounting team to ensure you have all of the required documentation.

Donating furniture FAQs

Here are some common questions about donating office furniture:

 

Where can I find a free pickup for my donation?

 

Many organizations that offer a complimentary pickup for furniture. Search online for local or national agencies in your area and contact a representative if you have questions. Many charitable organizations provide inquiry forms on their websites. 

 

Where does furniture go after I donate it?

 

Some organizations give office furniture and supplies to nonprofits, schools, community centers and small businesses in need. Furniture is sometimes repurposed, and damaged furniture may be recycled.

 

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