The question came up the other day “I purchased all my taxidermy mounts in the 80s so why do I need an appraisal? All I have to do is add up the receipts to figure out what I can deduct from my taxes.” This statement could be very wrong and cause future problems.
IRS Form 526 states “If you donate taxidermy property to a qualified organization, your deduction is limited to your basis in the property or its fair market value, whichever is less. This applies if you prepared, stuffed, or mounted the property or paid or incurred the cost of preparing, stuffing, or mounting the property. Your basis for this purpose includes only the cost of preparing, stuffing, and mounting the property. Your basis does not include transportation or travel costs”.
IRS Form 526 states original purchase price or fair market value whichever one is less. So you bought your mounts in the 80s, and you figure your receipts will be less. Let’s discuss this, the market was very strong until 2008 following that the market on most luxury or extra items went way down.
Fair market value right now could be lower than the original purchase price. The only way to know is to have your taxidermy mounts appraised and compare the two amounts. Assuming that the original cost was lower could cause trouble without getting a professional personal property appraiser to review your amounts.
There is also the very real possibility that your taxidermy mounts have depreciated mainly due to age and the care they received in the past 30 years. Your taxidermy mounts could have faded, or cracked due to the lack of maintenance that is required for optimum longevity.
So the only way to get the proper answer is to hire a Personal Property Appraiser and have a fair market value appraisal completed before tax time.