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Determining the Value of Donations

The Tax Court was recently asked to determine the value of ancient Biblical fragments.

• The Tax Court was asked recently to determine the value of ancient Biblical fragments donated to a public university by a collector. The collector donated to Duke University a number of fragments, including excerpts from the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers. The collection included the oldest known version of Exodus 15 (the "song of the sea"). The collector claimed a charitable contribution deduction in the amount of $700,000 for the collection. The IRS audited the collector's tax return, and asserted that the collection was not worth more than $25,000. The collector appealed, and the Tax Court concluded that both valuations were wrong since they had been based on the testimony of academic experts rather than antiquities dealers. The Court determined that the true value of the collection was $337,000, since this was the amount that an antiquities dealer ...

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Posted:
  • September 1, 1992

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