You may have tried to sell these things on Craigslist, dealing with flakey people and others trying to hard-negotiate $8 for something you're asking $10 for… or gone at lengths to set up a canopy at a bike swap. All this effort is time consuming, tedious and not worth the chump change you're getting for your used parts; not-to-mention that nasty sunburn from sitting for 6 hours at a bike swap meet. Therefore, old bike parts end up collecting. As you pass by your ugly pile of parts and try to justify keeping them for a "retro build", you can hear your spouse complain about it in the other room.
This is a problem of many cycling enthusiasts - but personally, I think I may have found a solution. I am a 1099 independent contractor, and during my decade long career, I have not really taken advantage of charitable deductions. I itemize my business deductions every year and end up paying something to the state and feds. However, I wanted to start taking advantage of this opportunity to help lower my tax bill.
I discovered that Hope Services - a local organization helping people with special needs - indeed has a used bike shop. Not only do they recycle old bikes into usable, working condition, but they employ many special needs adults through their program. I put two-and-two together, gathered all the old parts I didn't need and gave Hope Services a substantial donation of goods. In return, I was given a receipt for my donation in which I will forward to my tax preparer. Hope Services has a special place in my heart for personal reasons, as well.
Even if you do not itemize tax deductions, giving old, usable parts to a local charity is a great way to off-load all that stuff that is collecting dust and annoying your significant other. Do a search for your local bicycle charity and ask them about how you can donate. Bicycle related charitable organizations are not landfills or recycling plants; please use discretion.
The IRS offers nine tips on deducting charitable contributions HERE.
Disclaimer: This article is NOT tax advice, but simply a report about what I have done. I am not a tax professional, advisor, accountant nor am I licensed in tax advice. Please contact your licensed tax professional for additional information about charitable giving.