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Good Question ‘Reply All’: Apples, Donations & Escalators

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(credit: CBS) Heather Brown
Heather Brown loves to put her innate curiosity to work to answer yo...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Becca from Sartell asked: Why do we give an apple to a teacher?

Some believe the apple is a symbol is knowledge. But others suggest that back in the 1800s, frontier families were responsible for feeding teachers and apples happened to be plentiful.

The tradition continues even after families no longer fed teachers.

Mary wanted to know: What are the tax rules for Goodwill donations?

According to Chad Piehl, an accountant with Piehl, Hansen and Beckman, the IRS rules are the same for any other non-cash contribution.

Piehl says people must tally up the fair-market prices for all of the goods. That can be found through places like Goodwill’s website.

If the total is less than $250, a receipt is necessary. Between $250 and $500, a more detailed receipt is required, including information about what was given, the date and a statement that no goods or services were received for the donation.

Anything above $500 requires an additional IRS Form 8283. And for donations above $5,000, an independent appraisal is required.

Diane from Minneapolis asked: Should we walk on escalators?

According to the National Elevator Industry, Inc., the answer is no.

A spokesman for NEII says walking on an escalator is considered an unsafe riding practice due to the difference in step height between escalator steps and traditional stairs.

He says walking can be unsafe and lead to accidents if riders aren’t paying attention.

But most places do have regulations against walking on escalators, and they ask that people stand on the right and walk on the left.

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