Pieces of April | Newberry

Pieces of April

Uncle Blogsy, of course, does not need to make New Year’s resolutions, being perfect as he is. I hope yours include not making faces like that.

I am not providing resolutions for my readers this year, as the ones I have given out before are still in perfect condition, being unused. I may have mentioned the banana boxes I found among the donations when I returned to Chicago (those might have been donated before midnight, December 31, of course.) I have had just as many paper grocery bags since 2014 began, several large purple plastic tubs (not only have I suggested that you avoid these, the three that came in are precisely the color of Barney the dinosaur), and a goodly number of Economics textbooks.

But one young man has really been hard at work, bringing me a large number of bags filled with books, and then asking for the bags back. “Just the cloth and plastic ones,” he noted, but then emptied out one of the paper ones so we could set the plastic ones on it so the plastic and cloth ones wouldn’t get wet on the bottom while I unloaded. I think I’d rather have dinosaur-colored tubs.

That was the FIRST visit. On the second visit he pulled the same stunt, but added a new wrinkle. He set his books into the box THREE AT A TIME, so he could take a picture of them for tax purposes. “Forgot this last time,” he said.

“Forget it next time,” I muttered.

I have mentioned before that I will cheerfully write “six bags of books” on your receipt so that the IRS understands you donated the bags as well. (You ARE keeping your grocery receipts to show what you paid for the bags, right?) But though I have heard this story of photographing donations, there has not been a mad rush to do so (and not three books at a time, either, I might add.)

Now, what passes between you and your tax attorney, lawyer, or tax preparer is your own business. The IRS, so far as I have been able to check, does not require such photographs, but several authorities recommend you take pictures. This is not just to show that you donated what you said you did, but also to document that what you donated was in usable condition. This is to keep you from donating that rusted out Chevy you found in a field and claiming you donated a 2011 model with 35 miles on it.

I have news for you. The IRS will be just as impressed with that 1957 edition of Economics and the dictionary with the broken spine as I am. However, as I say, I am not going to stand between you and your deductions.

All I would like to suggest, whether you take it as a New Year’s resolution or not, is that you could, um, TAKE THE PICTURES BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE. I have as little desire to discourage the art of photography as I do to take up working as a tax preparer. I’m just suggesting that a tasteful photograph of your bookshelves before you load the contents into Barney-tinted tubs would be sufficient.

Yeah, take a picture of the tubs, too. Those IRS agents need a good laugh now and then, too.

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