Personal Property

You are here

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

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 Williams.

How It Works

You give your personal property to Williams. Either we put your property to a use related to our mission, or we sell your property and use the proceeds.

Show More Details

Gifts of artwork, coins, and other collectibles 
You can use artwork, coins, and other collectibles to make a generous gift to Williams. Depending on the property you give us, 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 us. Please discuss these items with us prior to your donation to determine which ones we 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 Williams, 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 us.

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 us to advance our charitable purpose, you will be eligible for an immediate income tax charitable deduction equal to the full appraised value of your property. If we cannot put your property to a "related use," or you direct us to sell your property immediately for cash, your income tax charitable deduction will be limited to the amount you paid for your property.

Whether or not we are 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 property that is considered a collectible, 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 Williams 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 an income tax charitable 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 we can accept the property you have in mind.

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

Example

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

Mr. Mortensen 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 Williams College for many years, he wonders whether we could make good use of his collection.

After a discussion with Mr. Mortensen and his advisors, we determine that it would be best for Williams to sell the stamp collection and use the proceeds. Mr. Mortensen 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 Williams will sell the stamps and use the proceeds, Mr. Mortensen will be able to deduct from his income taxes only the $2,000 he paid for the stamps. Mr. Mortensen understands this and is anxious to proceed with his gift, knowing that it will provide valuable support to Williams, as well as settle what is to become of his beloved stamp collection.

How Your Gift Helps

Your gifts to Williams College help us provide the finest possible liberal arts education by nurturing in students the academic and civic virtues, and their related traits of character. It will provide Williams with the resources to provide...

Support Our MissionHow Your Gift HelpsBenefits of Giving

an incredibly low student-faculty ratio.

tutorials and summer research opportunities.

world-class arts and phenomenal athletics.