Goodwill of North Georgia is wrapping up their busiest week of the year and with New Year's Eve landing on a Saturday, latecomers are expected to join the rush.
Last year, Goodwill of North Georgia received more than 67,000 donated goods in the final week of 2010 -- 20,000 of those were on Dec. 31 alone.
"It's the busiest time of the year for us," said GNG Public Relations Director Elaine Armstrong. "People are just cleaning out their closets this time of year. Some of their donations may be things they got for Christmas and they're getting rid of their old ones, like cell phones or computers.
"People remember that Dec. 31 is the last day they can donate to Goodwill and claim deductions on taxes."
For those looking to make last-minute contributions before the end of the year, Lynn Quick of Professional Accounting and Financial Services provided advice for a smooth claim process come tax time.
"Basically, you've got to have a copy of the receipt from Goodwill or the organization to which you give. I suggest you keep a list of everything you give -- items have to be in good or excellent condition, it cannot be in poor or tattered condition. I would suggest taking a picture of the things you're donating," Quick said. "Not every individual item but just an overall gist so that if you were audited you would be able to prove what you donated."
Quick and Armstrong suggest making an inventory of contributions before taking them to the donation center. In addition to photos, compile an estimated value from a third party for an accurate claim. Quick suggests using the free, web-based program offered by Intuit, the makers of TurboTax, found at www. itsdeductible.com.
"Most people will estimate very low and this is based on a national average of sales," Quick said, recalling a situation in which a client saw large benefits from the free program. "I had her apply those values to what she gave. [Her estimate] went from $400 to $4,000."
To get a receipt from the donation center, Armstrong reminds contributors to ask staff at the drop-off location. She also gave additional tips related to donating goods, whether it be furniture, clothes, books or electronics.
"Check pockets and drawers. Sometimes you stick a photograph or a piece of paper in a book while you're reading it, so if you're donating books you might want to thumb through the pages," Armstrong said. "Also, wipe the memories off of your cell phones and computers."
The Cartersville Goodwill Donation Center at 929 Joe Frank Harris Parkway will be open today from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., limited hours on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and regular Sunday hours on New Year's Day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 678-721-0823 or visit www.goodwillng.org.