Tax Tips for Donating Your Horse

If you're considering donating a horse, consider the following tax tips when seeking a deduction.

Universities with equestrian programs may offer your horse a great home–like this donated reining horse at Texas A&M University. No matter where you donate your horse, check to see if the organization qualifies as a charity under IRS guidelines. | Photo by Glen Johnson, courtesy of Texas A&M University

In the July 2005 issue of Horse & Rider we explored various options for horse donations. Can you expect a tax write off if you donate your horse? Keep these tips in mind as you explore options for donating your horse.

  • Get advice from an accountant before claiming a tax deduction for your horse.
  • Be sure the organization qualifies as a charity under IRS guidelines.
  • IRS regulations generally allow you to deduct “fair market value”–the price your horse would fetch on the day you make the donation. If you are donating an aged, foundered horse to a rescue group, for example, you will not be able to claim the price you paid when he was a 4-year-old show champion.
  • Most nonprofits let the donor determine the fair market value of the horse.
  • If the value is more than $500, you’ll need to file IRS form 8283 with your tax return to claim the deduction.
  • If the value is more than $5,000, you will need to support the claim with a written appraisal by a qualified independent expert, such as an experienced professional trainer. Have two appraisals, in case the IRS disallows one.
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