Noncash charitable donations in 2008 fell by nearly a third from the previous year, according to the winter 2011 issue of the Statistics of Income Bulletin (SOI). Released Thursday by the IRS, the SOI features preliminary data on 140.5 million individual income tax returns filed for tax year 2009. 

In an article entitled “Individual Noncash Contributions, 2008,” Pearson Liddell and Janette Wilson write that for Tax Year 2008, 23 million individual taxpayers who itemized deductions reported some $40 billion in deductions for noncash charitable contributions.

Of these taxpayers, seven million individuals itemizing deductions of more than $500 on Form 8283reported $34.6 billion in noncash deductions for charitable contributions. The number of taxpayers reporting deductions on Form 8283 increased by 1.2%, from 6.9 million in Tax Year 2007, while the amount of donations decreased 34.5% from $52.8 billion in 2007.

Between Tax Years 2007 and 2008, corporate stock donations declined 48%, from $23.7 billion to $12.3 billion. The authors note that for Tax Year 2008, there were no notable tax law changes that affected the deductions allowed for noncash charitable contributions.

Still, corporate stock donations accounted for the largest percentage of total noncash donations in Tax Year 2008, followed by clothing (22.9%) and household item donations (9.1%).

The authors report that the overall average donation amount claimed decreased between Tax Years 2007 and 2008, from $7,617 to $4,930. Average corporate stock donations decreased between the two tax years, from $117,458 to $99,912.

Taxpayers with adjusted gross income (AGI) of $10 million or more collectively deducted 6.1% of their AGI in noncash contributions, claiming $9.2 billion on approximately 4,250 returns. Their donations represented 26.7% of all individual taxpayer donations in Tax Year 2008.