Are books donated to a school or library a tax deduction?

January 29th, 2018 → 5:14 pm @


Are books donated at a school/library presentations a tax deduction?


Donated books can be a tax deduction valued at the cost to print the book (or purchase the book from your publisher), not valued at its retail price (what you could sell it for). It’s deductible as a charitable donation, but only if you itemize deductions.

I prefer to deduct books I give away as an advertising expense on my business tax return (Schedule C of the Form 1040). Then it reduces my business profit which is taxed twice (federal income tax and Self-employment tax).

Whereas charitable deductions are only deductions from federal income tax as itemized deductions and do not decrease self-employment tax.

For example one of my books retails for $9.95 but it costs $2.25 to print. I give away a few copies every year as advertising, prizes, etc. I don’t think of them as donations because charitable donations are not deductible as business expenses. I deduct those books as advertising expenses at the cost of $2.25 each on my Schedule C.

As of 2018 fewer taxpayers will itemize deductions at all because the standard deduction will be increased significantly.

I hope that helps!

Carol Topp, CPA
Accountant and author of Business Tips and Taxes for Writers


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