What Do You Do When Asked To Donate A Painting?
"We have all been asked to donate a painting to a good cause. Most of us would love to give back and donate every time, but this isn't realistic. I learned a while back a rule of thumb that I would recommend: set aside two to three paintings every year for donation to causes that you believe in and support 100%. For me, that usually means the auction supporting my kids' elementary art program and a couple of local non-profit art centers. If you do prints, have an extra supply ready for donation to other causes you might like to help. Be careful when donating to big foundations or programs that promise exposure in exchange for your good will.
"I stopped donating to large foundations who always promised "exposure" after attending a gala where my work was part of a silent auction. I should also mention that I was volunteering for the foundation and my job was to ask artists to donate work (not an easy thing to do). The gala was full of well-to-do people dressed in black tie and bidding for great deals on art, vacations, golf clubs, etc. I made a small purchase as well. A few weeks later I received a tax receipt in the mail and a letter telling me my purchase was tax-deductable. This kind of shocked me. Not only did I get a cool pair of socks for a great price, I also got to write it off! But then I realized something that I feel is incredibly wrong. Every item at that auction was not only purchased for cheaper than its face value, it was also a tax deduction. Savvy collectors know the game. The greater injustice is that the artists can only write off the price of their supplies. You can't write off that painting, even if you were told you can by someone seeking a donation. You can blame that on Richard Nixon."
Here's a link to a story on Hyperallergic that explains why you can't write off the value of your donation.