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Guidelines for Computer & Office Equipment Donations

The guidelines below will instruct you on what you need know when you are donating computers & office equipment, to assure the safe recycling of your computer products and the secure destruction of your confidential data. It also explains the tax benefits and the IRS rules for donating your Office equipment and computers.

I. Determine if your old computer can be reused.


If you have a computer that is less than five years old, chances are that it can be put to good use by someone else. Rather than donate equipment directly to a charity or school, it is usually best for all involved if you can send it to an approved IRS 501c3 organization. That is where comes in. We will ensure that equipment you want to send to non-profits and schools works well and runs legal copies of software, and that all your e-waste is disposed of properly. Remember that we only work with newer equipment that can run current internet programs, so if your computer is more than five years old, it is better to send it to a commercial electronic recycling center (

Any equipment that is not working or is more than five years old should be tagged for recycling,i.e. responsible destruction. An electronic recycling center is a business or organization that salvages useful computer parts before breaking down what is left, safely removing hazardous materials in the process. Note that some recyclers will charge a fee to accept old computer equipment, especially monitors, We do not.

*For listings of recyclers who charge no fee to drop off in your area, visit:

II. Contact before donating.

Call our organization, 949.466.8857, to ensure that we accept the type of computer you plan to give away. Some refurbishing organizations, for example, will refuse anything older than a Pentium II. While you may be tempted to donate equipment directly to a favorite local school or charity, remember that we are better equipped to repair and upgrade computers. We will then pass on ready-to-use equipment to those who need it, often at little or no cost to them.

III. Remember the Accessories

If you can, include the keyboard, mouse, printer, modem, packaged software, or any other accessories you use with the computer. Schools and non-profits can almost always put them to good use, and most organizations only accept complete systems.

IV. If possible, keep the operating system intact.

If you are donating hardware with a pre-installed Microsoft operating system, keep in mind that the license is only valid when used with the machine on which it was originally installed. Since charitable organizations usually cannot afford to purchase and license new operating systems, a legal transfer (whereby the computer and operating system stay together) is always preferable. While Linux and Macintosh operating systems have different requirements, as a general rule, try to include the operating system software with all donated computers whenever possible.

V. Provide the original software media and documentation.

To ensure that the software transfer is legal, pass along the original disks, media, Certificate of Authenticity sticker (usually on the computer), user manual, and other documentation that came with the equipment.

VI. Use disk cleaning software to clean your PC.

“Personal information” includes your internet browser’s cache, cookies, history; your e-mail contacts and messages; your documents; your recycling bin or trash folder; and all non-transferable software. The best way to clear this information out is with a disk-cleaning utility that overwrites all the sectors of your hard drives, making your data unrecoverable. Listed below are examples of recommended disk-cleaning utilities.

Commercial Windows Disk-Cleaning Software:

Freeware Windows Disk-Cleaning Software:

Macintosh Disk-Cleaning Software:

  • Disk Utility (built-in in Mac OS X, under “Security Options”)
  • WipeDrive for Mac
  • If the computer is still under a manufacturer’s warranty, you can also call the company’s technical services department and ask for specifics on how to delete personal files.

VII. Follow computer delivery instructions.

Many recycling & refurbishing organizations have specific locations where equipment can be donated, while others have delivery instructions they expect donors to follow. Remember that tax season will always return — and you are likely eligible for a deduction if you donate to a non-profit refurbisher such as Most schools or non-profit refurbishers can provide a tax receipt upon request. Business donors can deduct the depreciated value of the computer, and individuals can deduct the current market value of a computer. To determine the fair market value of a computer, go to the Computers for Schools Canada’s free Used Computer Evaluator. (For more information on the tax laws pertaining to computer donations, see Section 170 of the Federal Income Tax Code.)

VIII. Plan for future donations.

Rescue a box from the recycling bin and use it to store the documents that came with your new computer, so that when the time comes to donate, you’ll have everything in one place. For more information, visit Techsoup’s Computer Recycling and Reuse page or post a question to TechSoup’s Hardware forum.

IRS Rules for Donating Computer Equipment accepts a wide variety of computer equipment and will place useful equipment through the multitude of educational environments and charitable causes we support throughout the United States.

What are the tax benefits do donations allow individuals?

For individuals, the charitable deduction for contributions of technology equals the fair market value (Used retail value in the current market place.) of the donated property. The donation is tax deductible for the year in which our organization receives the equipment. Shipping costs are also tax deductible under applicable rules and regulations.

What are the tax benefits to corporate donors?

The IRS code states a  tax deduction for property donated to a charitable organization such as is allowed under applicable rules and regulations. For corporate donors, tax deductions are usually limited to the amount of the donor’s contributed property.

*Exceptions may apply consult your tax advisor.

The donation letter provided to you by will reflect the year in which our organization receives the equipment. Warehouse and shipping costs are also tax deductible under applicable rules and regulations.

What are the special benefits to corporate Donors for donations of inventory?

Under IRS Section 170(e)(3), corporations that donate inventory (property sold in the normal course of business) to certain charitable organizations, may receive an additional tax benefit. Section 170(e)(3) provides a deduction for corporate contributions of inventory as much as twice the donor’s adjusted basis in the property.

The charitable deduction for contributions of inventory (from a C corporation) will be the total of the donor’s tax basis in the donated inventory plus 1/2 of the difference between the inventory tax basis and its fair market value. This is limited to 200% of the inventory tax basis plus any incidental costs (shipping, warehouse costs, etc.) associated with donating the inventory. If the fair market value of inventory is less than the donor’s tax basis in the donated inventory then the charitable deduction should be equal to the fair market value.

*Consult your tax advisor for consideration of this option.