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Can we avoid massive number of appraisals for gift of collection?

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Can we avoid massive number of appraisals for gift of collection?

Our 501(c)(3) museum founder wants to donate a collection of 500,000 artifacts to the museum. The artifacts range in value from just a few dollars to 10's of thousands. The overall estimated value of the collection may be as much as $1 million. Is there any way this can be done without a massive number of appraisals and accompanying cost?

You can’t avoid an appraisal if the donor wants to claim a charitable contribution deduction for the gift. If I assume that the artifacts are of the type that would be displayed in the museum and have appreciated in value over what the founder paid for them over the years, the founder would seek a deduction based on the fair market value of the collection and an appraisal would be required for “the collection.” Appraisers normally don’t separately appraise every single piece in a very large collection, but often appraise the collection in lots of similarly valued items, recognizing that some pieces are not particularly valuable while some can be very valuable depending on their condition. The valuable pieces are usually valued separately but without a full formal appraisal for each piece. The parts of the collection are frequently added up and considered in reaching a value of the collection as a whole. It is a lot of separate valuations, but probably a single report.
The appraisal will have to be made contemporaneously with the donation and by a qualified appraiser who follows generally accepted appraisal standards. Since the claim will be more than $5000, the donor will have to file a summary of the appraisal with the Form 8283 attached to the individual tax return for the year in which the deduction is claimed. If the claim is more than $500,000, the donor must file a copy of the actual report. (See Ready Reference Page: “IRS Requires Substantiation of Contributions”)
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

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