Old pianos take up a lot of space, and if you don’t play it very often or even at all, it may be time to let it go. If you have an unwanted piano, then donating it could be an excellent option for you. In this guide, we are going to give you all the information you need to move forward with your piano donation and even get a tax deduction in the process.
Table of Contents
- 1 Choose Where to Donate To
- 2 Check the Condition
- 3 Valuing Your Piano
- 4 Tax Deductions
- 5 Donation Criteria
- 6 Limits on Space and Time
- 7 Helping the Charity
- 8 Tax Filing Requirements
- 9 Piano Donations FAQs
- 10 Conclusion
Choose Where to Donate To
There are a few options available to give your piano to:
- The Beethoven Foundation takes piano donations depending on the condition of the instrument. If they accept the donation, they then pick up the piano for free and give you a receipt for tax deduction purposes.
- Another charitable organization is Pianos for Education who work in all 50 states throughout the US. They will also pick up your piano for free, but the donation will once again depend on the condition of the instrument.
- You can check local charity shops and organizations to see if they would accept your piano. You can also give it away free online. Storing and disposing of a piano will both cost you money, so donating is by far the better option to free up some space in your home.
Check the Condition
Any charity that is willing to accept your piano will have certain standards that need to be met when it comes to the condition of the instrument. When you get in touch with the charity about your piano donation, they will chat with you and talk through the condition of the piano. If they think it’s good enough, you will be allowed to donate it. A piano that is in poor condition won’t be accepted by any charitable organization.
Valuing Your Piano
Before you donate your piano, you will need to find out what it’s worth. This should be done by you no matter what kind of piano you have, from a baby grand to an old upright. Piano valuation shouldn’t be left to the charity you are donating to. The basic information you need to know is what you could sell it for if you were selling it privately for a profit.
When you get the piano appraised, if it is worth less than $5000, then you won’t need to get a professional appraising service involved. You also don’t need to submit certain tax forms in this situation, which we will touch on further later.
If the piano does end up being worth more than $5000, then you will need to have appraised. The person giving you the appraisal shouldn’t be involved in the charitable organization you are planning on donating it to.
Professional Piano Appraisals
There are two options you have if you need to have the piano appraised professionally:
- Contact the American Society of Appraisers
- Go to a local store or website, which can give the instrument a more comprehensive look over and establish a value for a specific purpose.
The reason you need to have the piano valued before you donate it to charity is because of the tax deductions you can receive. The IRS requests a fair market value of items you give to charities. The price you are looking for in this situation is the value of what you could expect to get from a private party if you were selling your piano out of your home through ads online.
A big perk of donating a piano is that it is tax-deductible. If you’ve donated large items in the past, then you will have some kind of sense of what to expect in the area. The next part of the process is determining whether the piano donation is valuable to you as part of your taxes.
If you already have a lot of tax-deductions for the year, then the donation probably won’t be of much use to you. But if you prepare your own taxes, then it’s definitely worth checking to see if you can deduct your piano donation from it.
There are other reasons why donating a piano is a great idea, aside from monetary gain. These include:
- The instrument goes to a place where it will be appreciated and used.
- You are supporting a local charity.
- You are bringing joy to those who may not have the opportunity to own an instrument like a piano.
There are two different ways you can donate your piano to the organization of your choice.
- Restricted donations – This is where you to the organization how they can use the piano you are donating.
- Non-restricted donations – This is where the organization will decide on the best use for the instrument or may sell/exchange it to get resources for the charity.
If you were planning on donating the piano to a school, it would be classed as a restricted donation because you intend it to be used by the students at that school. Sometimes the people you are donating too will already have a purpose in mind when they receive the piano, but you can still specify what you would like as well. If they already know what it is going to be used for then, you may not need to place restrictions on the donation.
Placing restrictions on a piano donation has to be used carefully. Doing so can limit how the receivers can use it and may lead them to get rid of the piano in the future if it no longer serves their needs.
Many non-profit charities choose not to receive donations of restricted items. This is because they can become a liability further down the line. Adding restrictions on top of your donation means you will have fewer choices on who you can donate to.
A non-restricted donation is a preferred method of donating because you pass on full ownership of the item, leaving it up to the organization to do what they want with it. If the organization that receives the piano can’t find a use for it, they may choose to sell it instead and receives funds that will help them in other ways.
Limits on Space and Time
Before you decide on donating your piano, you need to think about any limitations you have on space and time. If your piano needs to be moved by a certain day or time, then this should be factored into your donation decision. Someone who is super busy may also not have the time to look for someone to take the piano off their hands.
Helping the Charity
Donations of pianos are not something an organization has to deal with on a daily basis. They may not even know whether the donation is something they should even accept. A charity is more likely to refuse your donation if they can see it becoming a liability in the future. Something that would be considered a liability includes:
- You are asking them to pay for the removal of the piano
- The value of the piano is less than the cost to move it
- They don’t have the spare space to store the piano
- They don’t have the right contacts to help them sell the piano on once they have it
- The maintenance on the piano is poor, and they would need to spend money on refurbishing it
In any of these circumstances, your donation ends up causing problems and does not outweigh the benefits of the donation. Some tips to help you maintain the value of your donation are:
- Paying for the cost of the removal. This is also a tax-deductible expense for you
- Find someone that would pay for the cost of the move as a charitable donation
- Pay someone to fix the piano so that it is in good working condition before you donate it
Tax Filing Requirements
Anyone that is looking at donating pianos will need to have it valued first if you want to deduct it from your taxes. If the valuation comes back at being over $5000, there are certain things you will need to do in order to make the donation tax-deductible. In this instance, you will probably need to fill out and file Form 8283.
When you look at the form, make sure to read it carefully as, in some cases, it is required for donations over $500. You can find all of the 8283 forms on the IRS website, and they can also be submitted online too.
Piano Donations FAQs
Does Goodwill accept piano donations?
Goodwill doesn’t have any information on their website about donating a piano. However, we know they accept larger donations. Your best bet is to call your local Goodwill store to see if they’ll take it. If not, consider giving it to a dedicated charity such as the Beethoven Foundation.
Does Habitat for Humanity take pianos?
You will need to check with your local store to see if they have the capacity to accept a large item, such as a piano.
Who will accept a piano donation?
Many different charities would love the donation of a piano. The Beethoven Foundation is a brilliant one as they pass on their donations to local care homes and schools, so your piano can find a new home. There may also be local charity shops who would accept your donation. Or cut out the middle man and go to care homes and schools to see if they would like a new instrument.
Now that you’ve donated your piano, you’re sure to be happy with all the free space you have to play with. Having a dedicated mover on board can help to speed up the entire process. Your donation has the potential to make a lot of people happy, bringing the joy of music to wherever the piano ends up next.