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Donating a Car

Things to know before you donate your car

1. Find a Charity and Check Them Out

To donate a car find a reputable charity, if the charities you usually donate to do not accept vehicles then ask friends or search sites. Check out the credentials of the charity you are willing to donate to. Find out the tax status of the charity how they use their funds, how long they have been around etc. Charities should be IRS approved 501(c)(3) organizations in order to qualify for charitable contributions. Most religious organization do qualify ad charitable organizations. You can find more information in publication 78 at IRS website.

2. It is better to deal directly with the organization rather than middlemen

There are companies who advertise and process car donations but they are really handlers, they take the car from you salvage what they can for profit and then donate to the charity. You might not get the full benefits.

3. Find out how they calculate the value of donation

Every charity depending on what they do with the car you donate you might get a different value for your donations and tax deductions. Do the homework before and find out exactly how you much value is attributed to your donation.

4. Check to make sure you don't have outsanding tickets or fines before transfering title

Make sure you pay any outsanding parking tickets and then make surethe title gets transfered from your name to the charity or organization you donate so you are not liable for any further fines or accidents.

5. Document your donation when you donate cars

Always keep good records with dates and names etc. If your donation is for more than $500 you might need a third party appraisal or the organization might provide you with one. If the value is less than $500 then you can probably report fair market value from Kelly Blue Book.

Car Donation Resources by State

What You Need To Know Before Donating Your Car

Many families will maintain their old car even after they have invested in a new one. It may be that they know they would receive little in trade-in value or because they simply need a second vehicle for the family. Whatever the case, there will come a time when that reliable old beast finally gives it up for good. It’s often not worth spending the money to have the car fixed anymore, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be sent to the junkyard.

There are many charitable organizations that will gladly come and take your old car off your hands, giving you a rather valuable tax write off in the process. It’s a great idea that truly benefits both sides, but only if you take the time to do it properly. That begins by making sure that you deal directly with the charitable organization of your choice. There are plenty of middle men that advertise the charitable process, but when they take the car, the charity actually only ends up receiving in the region of about 50% of the cars value. Go directly through the charity to ensure that they receive 100% of the funds.

We mentioned already about how your donation can mean receiving a tax write off, but that is only true of the organization you are donating to is approved by the IRS. If you are not sure and are depending on receiving the tax benefits, ask the charity first or get the information you need for the IRS website. There may be nothing worse than thinking you are going to have one result, only to find out that you are without a car and the tax benefits you were relying on.

Another thing to keep in mind when donating a vehicle is how much that it will cost to deliver it to the charity. The reason so many people opt for a middle man is because they will come and pick the car up for free. If you want to ensure that the charity of your choice gets the full amount, but can’t afford to pay someone to deliver it for you, think about doing it yourself. Of course this only applies if the car is still in working order. If it is, contact the charitable organization to discuss a time and place where the car can be dropped off.

Once you have dropped the car off, it’s incredibly important that you take the time to transfer the title over to the charitable organization. There is no telling what might happen to the vehicle after it is out of your possession, with parking tickets and other fines levied against you should the car pick them up while the title is still in your name. This is not something that happens regularly, but is still something that has to be considered if you want your car donation experience to be a pleasant one.


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