? Choosing Suitable Autos To Donate to Non-profit Organizations
Since regulations were changed in 2005 with regards to how you can take deductions from charitable auto donations, the decision to donate an automobile is harder than ever for many people. However, by following a few easy steps in determining how your vehicle is likely to be used, you can get a pretty good idea of how to go about getting the highest possible deduction when you donate.
For starters, you should take into consideration the likely benefit you’d receive when you donate. Even with a higher than average allowable deduction, you could end up not claiming it at all in the end. Claiming charitable deductions has traditionally been thought of as something rich people do because it necessarily means you’ll have to file an itemized return. This can actually mean a higher tax bill for some people.
If you don’t have any other legitimate deductions and are filing as the head of household, it is entirely likely that a standardized deduction will actually be higher unless the car you’re donating is of rather high value. Indeed, itemized deduction tends to benefit the self-employed most prominently since they are very likely to be rolling a sizeable percentage of their income back into the business anyhow (in part, to offset the double taxation that is the trade-off for not having a boss to answer to.)
Before you donate, you will also want to consider your motivations. If there’s no other reason than a tax rebate to motivate you, perhaps donation isn’t for you. The most successful automotive donations are enhanced by the satisfaction that good deeds have been done. If you want to impress someone else, that’s fine, too. However, given the restrictions and flaming hoops you’ll have to jump through when you donate, it’s a good idea to have at least one other compelling reason to donate, even if it’s to get the nagging voice of your spouse out of your ear concerning the car up on blocks in the back yard.
Consider also the condition of the car you plan to donate. Is it running? Would it require thousands of dollars in parts to be made reliable? Does it get much of its value from style rather than substance? Can you actually see a family of four going to the grocery store in it? Do you have another more suitable vehicle to donate? Honest answers are the only worthwhile type.
The practical uses of a car (rather than a sale price) are far more valuable to yourself, your deduction powers and the charity you choose to donate to. As such, charities that use automobiles to help fulfill their mission, such as poverty achievement, schools and organizations that assist the elderly are very often looking for good quality, reliable transportation. When you donate to such an organization, the odds of your car being used rather than sold is very high, providing it’s in good, trustworthy shape.
This means that if you can find an organization to keep from selling your car for two years after taking ownership when you donate, you can take the fair market value as a deduction. This has been severely curbed since the early ‘aughts when the amounts actually given to charities and the amounts claimed as deduction on individual and business returns differed by more than 95% in some cases.
To combat this, if one donates a car that is then sold at wholesale, you can expect a receipt of sale for somewhere between 10 and 15% of the value you could get by conducing the private sale. As such, many car donations that were once conducted for convenience sake have now become regular sales that result (or not) in cash donations.
It would also be wise to consider just how you’ll miss the car you inetend to donate. In an effort to avoid regret later on, you may find yourself getting rid of the other car if you’re very attached to that old one. Also, since older cars are more likely to appreciate when you sell after even just a year or two of ownership, depending upon the collectibles market.
Choose the right car and enjoy the maximum benefit when you donate.
– 1 –