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A Car Donation Could Be The Tax Benefit You're Looking For

Aug 17, 2007
In a time when transportation is vital for virtually everyone to go about the daily business of living, more and more charities are looking for car donations to help them give others a hand up. And while it's not likely the biggest motivating factor behind why those who donate do, the gesture typically comes with a big tax write off at the end of the year. For those who need a tax break and can afford to donate a car, the effort can pay off in a number of ways.

Nonprofit agencies of all kinds accept car donations for a variety of different reasons. Some agencies will even accept boats, trailers and other vehicles, as well, giving those who donate a tax-deductible write off slip in return.

Agencies that solicit used car donations tend to do so for the following reasons:

* To help individuals. Agencies that work to get homeless people or those simply down on their luck back on their feet will sometime accept car donations to assist these people in gaining employment and independence. Car payments can be very high and can stand as a barrier between a person and the road to self-reliance.

* Single parents. For the above reasons, used car donations can be real life savers for single parents trying to make ends meet while paying all of the expenses that go along with child rearing.

* Fleet creation. Some agencies need multiple vehicles to help their operations run more smoothly. Car donations and even truck donations are ideal for assisting them in doing so while helping them avoid the price of buying new.

* Auction. Some agencies that accept car donations do so to sell the vehicles for pure profit with the money going back into the nonprofit's coffers to further its charitable mission. The donation even of a clunker car can result in some big financial rewards for the nonprofit and the people it serves.

Before making a used car or even a new car donation to a nonprofit agency, it's important to do the following things to ensure a proper tax credit for the gesture:

* Know the real value of the car donation before you give it away. Get a written appraisal, if possible, so you can prove the worth.

* Make sure the nonprofit is a reputable agency that has proper federal documentation for tax write offs. Generally, you will want to see proof of 501(c)3 status before you make a car donation. Some big name agencies are not a concern, but with small ones, proof of status is important to protect you.

* Be certain of the agency and your honest desire to make a car donation before you sign the title over. Also, make sure the agency knows the value and gives you the proper forms to claim the deduction.

Used and new car donations can help nonprofit agencies and the people they serve in a number of ways. Just make sure your bases are covered before you make a car donation and you should find the resulting tax deduction is a nice "thank you."
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