As part of the recently signed pension bill, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service will have to better define what constitutes "good" condition for donations of clothing or household items.The IRS can deny deductions for donated items such as furniture, appliances, linens or electronics if the items aren't in appropriate condition.

Any significant household item valued at more than $500 must now be appraised before the taxpayer can take a deduction. Another new rule requires that taxpayers who deduct cash donations have a receipt or bank record, such as a canceled check, to prove that they made the gift.

A temporary break will also allow taxpayers over the age of 70-1/2 to contribute up to $100,000 directly from an IRA to charity without paying tax on the money. Other changes created land conservation tax benefits for family farmers and ranchers, as well as extending incentives for companies to donate food and books that were enacted after Hurricane Katrina. There is also a list of restrictions to tighten the rules for taxpayers and charitable organizations taking advantage of the tax exemptions in ways that may be abusive.

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