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Tax Deductions on Car Donation Explained

Posted in Car Donations on April 30th, 2007

Any donation you make to help out a worthy cause can also help you with your taxes. If you have an old car parked in your garage and you don’t know what to do with it, car donation is a wonderful way to help a charity. Although the car donation laws have changed, this is still a good way to help yourself and others too.

In 2005, the laws changed regarding tax deductions on boats, vehicles or airplanes that are valued over $500. Now, the charity must provide written documentation or acknowledgement within the 30 days of processing your donation. If the charity gives an exaggerated or false statement, they can be fined or penalized.

Under the January 2005 rules, your tax break is based on how the charity uses the donated vehicle. If the car is sold, the gross sale price can be deducted. If the charity uses the donated car following the new law for “significant” charity work that is tax approved, you’ll be able to deduct the market value of the vehicle. However, some stiff penalties will be charged for falsified documents. The law is watching carefully those charities not following the rules and regulations involved with car donation.

Even though the old laws had some problems, many charities are skeptical about the new car donation laws. A lot of organizations are concerned about what might happen when the responsibility of tax deduction is put under the authority of the charity rather than the donor. Some of them have actually sent a letter to the Treasury Secretary that suggests that people may be discouraged from donating cars if they aren’t aware of the deduction amount that will be allowed. This, they fear will mean that some donors will be lost. Charities feel that donors must be able to weigh the cost of benefit in order to know if it is enough for them.

If you do decide to pursue car donation, you will find out that the process is easy. You can contact most charities by phone or online. It is important to ask the charity you wish to get involved with for some specific and important information. This is necessary in order to avoid complications and also be sure you understand the process. It’s not hard, but does require you to fill out some important information and get the car ready.