Giving can be good for the soul. It can be good for your pocketbook, too.
One of the benefits of donating to a worthwhile charity is that your good deed will be rewarded by Uncle Sam.
If you gave some clothes, shoes or accessories to a nonprofit organization last year - and you have a receipt - it's time to figure out what those donations are worth as a deduction on your income taxes.
Lots of people sell themselves short by undervaluing the items they donate to organizations like The Salvation Army or Goodwill. Deciding how much your prom dress, designer stilettos and skinny jeans are really worth can be a little tricky.
The amount of the deduction is its fair value, based on comparable sales of used clothes at thrift stores. So I paid a visit to The Salvation Army to get a crib sheet on how to figure that out.
First off, donated clothing and accessories must be in good used condition or better. Taxpayers shouldn't take deductions on clothes that are soiled, stained or ripped. And there are a few more factors to consider.
"We look at whether it's in style. Is it hot? Is it happening? That certainly is going to make the item more valuable," Major Paul McFarland of The Salvation Army told me. "Then we're going to look at the wear. If it's a newer item, that makes it a greater value. If the wear is a little bit more, that will lower the price."
For instance, a men's shirt in excellent condition can fetch $12; a good one - no visible signs of wear is worth about $6.50.
A woman's dress in good condition can be valued at $8; but if it's more ornate, the deduction could go up to $18.
Girls' dresses range from $7.50 to $18 if they're in good shape; while good infant's clothing can be valued at from $4 to $11.
A men's two-piece designer suit in good condition is worth around a $20 deduction.
The same rules apply for shoes and accessories. Brand name shoes in good shape are worth more than well-worn gardening Crocs.
A good pair of men's loafers can fetch $6 to $14. Boy's sneakers could be worth $5 to $6.
A good working watch is worth $20, while pendants go for about $9.
McFarland says about 75 percent of the clothes and accessories donated are sold in the thrift store, which means they are worth some sort of deduction.
For more value estimates, check out The Salvation Army's tax value guide at www.salvationarmyusa.org and click on Ways to Give; for tips on what to donate, use Goodwill's guide at www.Goodwill.org.