Friday, January 28, 2011


WEST PALM BEACH, Florida - There are many reasons people donate to charity. The IRS allows for tax-deductions when certain criteria are met. And in addition to the tax advantages, the act of making a charitable donation to a qualified charity helps those in need.

In order to establish how much of a tax write off you’ll receive; a Fair Market Value (FMV) must be established. If it is a small contribution, an item worth less than $500.00, no appraisal or other corroboration is necessary. The FMV of a more expensive thing like art, antiques, boats, cars and personal property requires additional proof of how much it is worth.

The definition of Fair Market Value is the price that an article would sell for on the open market. It is the price that would be agreed on between a willing buyer and a willing seller. Methods for determining this price include obtaining an evaluation from a licensed appraiser, a signed and notarized arms-length offer to buy an item, verifiable sales of comparable items, replacement cost and/or the opinions of experts. There is no single formula that always applies when determining the value of something but asking your accountant or tax advisor which method to use is highly recommended.

The best evidence of value is a comparable sale. However, the amount of weight given to a sale depends on the degree of similarity between the comp and the donated item. The degree of similarity must be close enough so that this selling price would have been given consideration by reasonably well-informed buyers or sellers of the property. But the comp may not accurately represent the condition of the donated item; a factor that could disqualify it as a method of evaluation.

What can you donate besides boats, cars and personal property? Just about anything of value, as a matter of fact. Household goods like books, furniture, used clothing, jewelry, antiques, art and collectibles. Most things for which you take a deduction of more than $500 require a qualified appraisal.

With regard to donations of automobiles and boats, an acceptable measure of the FMV is a written appraisal. Guides containing sale prices or average prices for recent model years are available but the IRS warns that the prices are not “official,” and these publications are not considered an appraisal of any specific donated property. Be careful about using a do-it-yourself approach because the government is strict in their guidelines. According to the IRS, the FMV of a donated vehicle must be the same as the price listed in a used vehicle pricing guide for a private party sale only if the guide lists a sales price for a vehicle that is the same make, model, and year, sold in the same area, in the same condition, with the same or similar options or accessories, and with the same or similar warranties as the donated vehicle. Finding such an article may be impossible.

The St. Lucie Appraisal Company specializes in valuations of all types of motor vehicles and personal property. Here are some things you might want to consider for donation purposes: antique cars, custom cars, street rods, race cars, trucks, construction equipment, dump trucks, tractors, trailers, RVs, motorcycles, choppers, boats, antiques, art, sculpture, glass, firearms, books, manuscripts, clocks, dolls, toys, Disney, rugs, business property, collectibles, memorabilia, coin collections, stamp collections, autographs, comic books, musical instruments, wines, computers, machinery, inventory contents, residential contents and business contents.

Please feel free to call us at 772-359-4300 if you have questions or would like to inquire about our availability. Help the needy while helping yourself. Donate!


Our service area includes St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River, Brevard, Palm Beach, Broward and Dade Counties. Cities include Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach, Hobe Sound, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, Pompano Beach, Tamarac, Sunrise, Lauderhill, Plantation, Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Hollywood, Hallandale, Miami, Opa Locka, Hialeah, Coral Gables, Kendall and Homestead.

Diminished Value Appraisals throughout Florida including, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, St. Augustine, Lakeland, Panama City, Orlando, Pensacola, Fort Myers, Key West, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Clearwater, Kissimmee, Melbourne, Daytona Beach, Ocala, Gainesville, Lake City, Sebring, Bradenton, Titusville, Panama City, Bonita Springs, Naples, St. Petersburg and Tallahassee.

Our rates for services are as follows:

Auto Appraisals (Donations, Bankruptcy, Divorce, Insurance Disputes) $125.00

Stated Value Appraisals (Antique & Classic Cars, Street Rods, Motorcycles, RVs, Trucks) $175.00

Auto/Truck/RV Condition Reports $225.00 and Up

Diminished Value Appraisals (Determines how much less your car is worth after accident repairs) $225.00

Personal Property Appraisals (Contents, Collectibles, Art, Antiques) $225.00 and Up

All other services and additional time when necessary  $75/Hr.

Expert Witness - Court Appearances, Depositions, Mediation $225/Hr.

You may obtain appraisals for Financing, Charitable Donation Tax Credits, Collateral, Damage Claims, Equitable Distribution, Bankruptcy, Estates, Insurance Stated Value, Purchase & Sale and Diminished Value.

Appraisals of Personal Property, Art, Boats, Classic & Custom Autos, Antiques, Collectibles & Memorabilia, Electronics, Machinery, Motorcycles & Choppers, Furnishings, RVs, Trucks & Heavy Equipment. Business Valuations specializing in all types of small businesses.


Keywords for this article: accountant, Antiques, Art, AUTO, boats, CARS, charity, collectibles, comic books, donations, fair market value, florida, IRS, licensed appraiser, RVs, tax advisor, tax write off, WEST PALM BEACH,st lucie appraisal, Revised 08-29-2012

Updated 06-19-2013