A last-minute rush to donate to Goodwill and whittle down tax bill

A last-minute rush to donate to Goodwill and whittle down tax bill »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. -- It's not just the holiday spirit that makes the last week of the year the busiest for Goodwill donation stores in the Portland metro.

It's also the tax spirit.

Generous folks can donate items this week and still claim them on their 2013 tax returns. Waiting until January 1st means the tax deductions can't happen for another year.

"We were cleaning out our basement. We've got stuff we're holding onto. We did it now because it's right before the end of the year so we can count it on our taxes," said Alan Lehto.

Lehto says the tax deduction was not the primary reason he donated -- just when.

Most donors at Goodwill's southeast drop-off line actually did not plan the trip for tax purposes.

Kelly Wenger says she's been making charitable donations to other organizations over the past few days -- but didn't consider doing the same when she unloaded boxes and boxes of toys, blankets and coats at Goodwill.

"I wasn't that organized about it," said Wenger, with a laugh.  "We do itemize. It doesn't hurt."

Wenger asked for a receipt. Goodwill happily provides them, but it's up to you to fill it out and value your donation.

The busiest drop-off site is the Lake Oswego store, collecting six million pounds of items a year. That's just over the weight of the items collected this week alone at Goodwill's centers in the Portland metro area.