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Personal Property

A gift of artwork, coins, antiques, or other personal property can be an excellent way to support Amherst.

A gift of personal property may be right for you if:

  • You own artwork, antiques, or a collection of value that you no longer want.
  • You own other personal property that would be useful to us.
  • You want to save income taxes or capital gains taxes.
  • You would like to make a gift to Amherst.

How It Works

You give your personal property to Amherst. The College either puts your property to a use related to the mission, or sell your property and use the proceeds.

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Gifts of artwork, coins, and other collectibles 
You can use artwork, coins, and other collectibles to make a generous gift to Amherst. Depending on the property you give Amherst, we may either keep your property and use it for our charitable purposes or sell it and use the proceeds.

Gifts of other personal property 
You may own equipment, supplies, or other personal property that you no longer need and would be useful to Amherst. Please discuss these items with us prior to your donation to determine which ones the College will be able to put to productive use.

Relieve yourself of responsibility 
Maintaining valuable collectibles, such as works of art or antiques, can be a big responsibility. By giving your collectible to Amherst, you will no longer be responsible for keeping it secure, preventing its deterioration, or paying to insure it against damage or loss. If you are in this situation, consider making a gift of the item or items to Amherst.

Tax benefits 
Your gift of personal property will save you income taxes and capital gains taxes.

If we are able to use the item(s) you give Amherst to advance our charitable purpose, you will be eligible for a charitable income tax deduction equal to the full appraised value of your property. If we cannot put your property to a "related use," or you direct Amherst to sell your property immediately for cash, your charitable income tax deduction will be limited to the amount you paid for your property.

Whether or not the College is able to put your gift property to a related use, you will avoid all potential capital gains tax on your property. If you were to sell this property, you would have to pay a special 28% tax on the difference between its current value and what you paid for it, rather than the 15% tax applied to sales of securities.

You may also save estate taxes, as once you give your collectible or other personal property to Amherst the property will no longer be part of your estate.

Appraisal requirements 
You will need a qualified independent appraisal of your property in order to establish the value of your gift. If you give personal property valued at $5,000 or more and you wish to take a charitable income tax deduction for your gift, you will need to include this appraisal with your federal income tax return.

Consult with us before making your gift
It is important that you discuss with us the personal property you are considering for donation before you make your gift. We want to be sure that Amherst can accept the property you have in mind.

Also, we will want to discuss with you what will happen to your property once Amherst receives it. We want to be sure Amherst will be able to carry out your wishes. This discussion will also help you anticipate the likely tax benefits of your gift.

Example

Harold has been an avid stamp collector since he was a kid. His collection was appraised for insurance purposes last year at $20,000. Harold paid only about $2,000 for his stamps.

Harold is in his 80s now and is no longer adding to his collection. None of his children has expressed an interest in taking it over. A devoted supporter of Amherst College for many years, he wonders whether the College could make good use of his collection.

After a discussion with Harold and his advisors, we determine that it would be best for Amherst to sell the stamp collection and use the proceeds. Harold is pleased that the value of his stamps will help support our organization and that the stamps themselves will wind up in the collections of others who will enjoy them as much as he has.

Because Amherst will sell the stamps and use the proceeds, Harold will be able to deduct from his income taxes only the $2,000 he paid for the stamps. Harold understands this and is anxious to proceed with his gift, knowing that it will provide valuable support to Amherst, as well as settle what is to become of his beloved stamp collection.