I don't know if any of you have encountered this issue but I just heard from some folks here in California that a museum back east has been soliciting Lepidoptera collections from private collectors here. They are also providing appraisals of the collections
donated. The last one I heard about was an appraisal for $150,000. I checked with my CPA who specializes in federal and state tax law and got the following information.
1. Recipients of donations should/must not be the ones providing the appraisals of the donated material.
2. Anything valued at over $5,000 with an appraisal from the recipient of the donation is considered fraud by the IRS, which will make the deduction invalid and may lead to legal action by the IRS against both the donor and the recipient.
I know it is difficult to find folks willing to do appraisals of donated insect specimens but it is essential that this be done with a neutral party's signature.
Lynn S. Kimsey
Bohart Museum of Entomology
Univeristy of California
One Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616