If your company has gone through temporary downsizing, storing surplus office furniture until you need it again makes sense. However, businesses that are restructuring to run with a drastically reduced headcount over the long term may need to look at other options. For example, a move to a smaller office space means either putting excess furnishings in storage (which can be expensive) or getting rid of unwanted items altogether. There are several ways to divest your company of surplus office furniture.
Sell the Items
If you have a large quantity of furniture that is in good condition, it can net you a reasonable amount of money. You won’t get anything close to the original price you paid, but it’s better than nothing. You can advertise in local papers and Craig’s list to find a private buyer, or contact professional liquidators/furniture refurbishers. Just like with a car sale, you might get more money from people who are purchasing the items for their own use rather than for resale. However, negotiations are usually much more straightforward with a dealer. If you want to make sure your furniture is being recycled/refurbished instead of simply being discarded, selling it is a great choice.
Give Them Away
The second way to get rid of furnishings you don’t need is to donate them to a charity. If you select a qualified non-profit – such as a 501(c) organization – you may be able to deduct the value of the used furniture from your business taxes. The total amount you can claim is only as much as you could reasonably expect to sell the items for on the open market (Fair Market Value). You may also be able to deduct transportation costs for shipping the furniture to a recipient organization that doesn’t have a pick up service.
The rules for taking deductions for business donations of used goods to charities are a little more complicated than those for personal income taxes. For example, the type of corporation and the degree to which business equipment has already been depreciated might impact the filing process. So, talk to your accountant before you make this type of donation.
Bad Options for Getting Rid of Surplus Office Furniture:
- Having it hauled to a landfill where it will still be sitting 100 years from now
- Dumping it in the ocean so it can become part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
- Setting it on fire to collect the insurance money
- Using it to barricade employees in the office to force them to work overtime
As you can see, donating or selling your unwanted furniture is the way to go!