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Short on Cash? Gift-in-Kind Donations Can Also Help Support Charities

Feb 8, 2022

Donations provide the money that nonprofit organizations need to maintain operations and accomplish the goals of the organization’s mission. Donors have the option of gifting a charity with money or time, but they also have the option of donating tangible and/or intangible goods and services that the nonprofit would normally pay for with operating funds. Not all tangible and intangible goods and services donations are created equal, and only some are considered a tax-deductible gift-in-kind.

Defining Gift-in-Kind

Tangible personal property gifted to a charity is generally considered to be a gift-in-kind. Gifts typically include personal property (clothing, blankets, household items, etc.) donated assets, vehicles, and artwork. Generally, tangible gifts-in-kind are tax-deductible at fair market value.

Intangible property, such as advertising time, copyrights, patents, and services performed by a third party can also be considered a gift-in-kind. Intangible gifts-in-kind are tax-deductible at fair market value.

Gift-in-Kind Exceptions

Property that is given to a charity for partial or limited use, gifts of time, personal effort, and donor-performed services are not deductible and are not considered gifts-in-kind. Likewise, corporate gifts provided by the corporation performing the underlying service, such as airline tickets gifted by the airline itself, are not considered gifts-in-kind. However, gifts of inventory by a company would be considered gifts-in-kind.

While volunteers can write off the cost of travel when they donate their time and service to a nonprofit, the hours and effort they contribute are not considered a gift-in-kind. For the same reason, a donor who opens her house to host a charitable event would not be considered to have given a gift-in-kind since the house is “given” for limited use only. However, if the host pays a third party to cater for the event, that may be considered a gift-in-kind.

Reporting Gifts-in-Kind

Not-for-profits must make a good-faith effort to determine the fair market value of every gift-in-kind received, and record that value on financial statements. It may be necessary to obtain appraisals for donations of tangible items like jewelry, art, or cars to determine the fair market value of those items.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board issued ASU (Accounting Standards Update) No. 2020-07, Not-for-Profit Entities, Presentation and Disclosure by NFP’s for Contributed Nonfinancial Assets in September 2020. This new accounting standard is effective for annual reporting periods beginning after June 15, 2021, or fiscal years ending June 30, 2022, and after. This new standard requires not-for-profits to present contributed nonfinancial assets as a separate line item in their statement of activities. It also requires new disclosures related to contributions of nonfinancial assets including certain qualitative information, not-for-profits’ policies related to contributions of nonfinancial assets, donor-imposed restrictions, valuation techniques used, and principal market used to determine fair value. Not-for-Profits should familiarize themselves with these new reporting requirements to ensure compliance

The Gift of Good Advice from CRI’s Nonprofit CPAs

Reach out to one of CRI’s not-for-profits CPAs for assistance with determining which donations to your organization are considered gifts-in-kind, and help you develop best practices for evaluating and reporting these items.

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