Skip to Main Content
MIT Libraries Staff Web

Gifts: Tax Information for Donors

Claiming a Tax Deduction for Gifts to the MIT Libraries

(Last Revised 11/10/11 C.Follett)

The Federal government encourages your generosity by allowing you to deduct your charitable gifts on your income tax return if you itemize. Gifts to the MIT Libraries may be tax deductible and are acknowledged by MIT in writing. Please be aware that a written acknowledgement is needed to substantiate your deduction and should be retained with your permanent records.

There are certain Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines that must be followed to assure your charitable deduction. For example, IRS Form 8283 is used to deduct non-cash charitable contributions with a value over $500. The section of Form 8283 that you need to complete depends on the total value of each group of similar items, such as books. The total value combines all annual donations made to different charitable organizations. If you donated books to other charitable organizations and are planning to claim a deduction, you must add together all of the donations.

If your non-cash gifts for the year total more than $500, you must include Form 8283 with your income tax return. Section A, the simpler part of the Form, is used to report gifts valued at $5,000 or under. You are not required to have the property appraised, but you may wish to consider an appraisal to substantiate the value of the deduction for the IRS.

If your non-cash gifts for the year total more than $5,000, you must complete Section B of Form 8283. You will need to have the property appraised no more than 60 days prior to the date of the gift. The appraiser's findings are reported in Section B and must be signed by the appraiser and by MIT.

The IRS requires the appraiser to be qualified. To be qualified the appraiser must hold himself or herself out to the public as an appraiser and state credentials showing that he or she is qualified to appraise the type of property being valued. Certain persons can never be qualified appraisers: the donor, the charitable donee, a party to the transaction in which the donor acquired the property being appraised, anyone employed by any of the foregoing, and anyone who is regularly used by any of the individuals previously listed. If you need help locating an appraiser, some standard sources that list appraisers include:

  1. American Book Trade Directory, which has a section entitled "Appraisers of Library Collections" arranged by state (available in MIT Humanities Library, Reference Collection - call number Z475.A511)
  2. Membership Directory, Antiquarian Bookseller's Association of America (ABAA HQ), 20 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036, (212) 944-8291
  3. Membership directory, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Antiquarian Booksellers (MARIAB)
  4. American Society of Appraisers

If you have questions, contact the MIT Libraries Gifts Office at (617) 258-5427, or at