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Donating a Car to Charity 

A Car Donation Could Help With Your Taxes 

It is simple to donate a car to charity if all you really want to do is eliminate it. Simply call a charity that accepts old vehicles and It'll tow your heap away. But if you need to maximize your tax benefits, it is more complicated. Here is a walk-through of many of the considerations, using the usual proviso that you ought to discuss these issues along with your tax preparer before you decide to act. 

You Must Itemize Your Return 
If you need to claim a car donation to scale back your federal income taxes, you need to itemize deductions. You can itemize even when the donated auto will be your only deduction, but that is usually not the very best choice. 

Here is the math : Suppose you are inside the 28 percent tax bracket and also the allowable deduction to the vehicle's donation is $1, 000. That could save you $280 in taxes. if you are inside the 15 percent tax bracket and you also get that same $1, 000 deduction, It'll reduce your taxes by $150. 

When the car donation will be your only deduction, it is probable that taking a typical deduction would help you save thousands more dollars in taxes. The only real method in which donating a car nets you any tax benefit is when you have many deductions and when their total, including the car, exceeds the conventional deduction. And remember, you are able to always donate around you would like to charities, however the IRS limits just simply the amount you are able to claim in your tax return. 

The Charity Must Qualify 
Only donations to qualified charities can give a tax deduction for you personally. A professional charity is one which the IRS recognizes like a 501 (c) (3) organization. Religious organizations really certainly can be a special case. They do count as qualified organizations, however they are not needed to file for 501 (c) (3) status. 

To assist you determine whether a charity is qualified, the simplest thing to carry out is to make use of the IRS exempt organizations site, or call the IRS toll-free number : 877-829-5500. 

A Key Concept : Fair Market Value 
The IRS defines fair market value as " the value a willing buyer would pay and also a willing seller would accept to the vehicle, when neither party is compelled to purchase or sell and both parties have reasonable understanding of the appropriate facts. " During this scenario, neither the buyer nor the seller could be a car dealer. Both should be private parties. 

What complicates the make a difference for taxpayers is under current IRS rules, you are able to only deduct a vehicle's fair market value under four very specific conditions : 

1. Each time a charity auctions your car for $500 or less, you are able to claim either the fair market value or $500, whichever is less. 

2. Once the charity intends in order to make " significant intervening use from the vehicle. " This means the charity will utilize the car in its work. 

3. Once the charity intends to create a " material improvement " towards the vehicle, not simply routine maintenance. 

4. Once the charity gives or sells the vehicle to some needy individual with a price significantly below fair market value. 

Determining Fair Market Value 
Edmunds will help you determine your vehicle's fair market value using its Appraise Your Car calculator. Go into the car's year, make and model, along with such information as trim level, mileage and condition. By taking a look at the private-party value, you will purchase an accurate concept of what your automobile is valued at. 

Note the caution from IRS Publication 4303 : " In case you make use of a vehicle pricing guide to work out fair market value, ensure that the sales price listed is for any vehicle that's the same make, model and year, sold inside the same condition, with a similar or substantially similar options or accessories when your vehicle. " 

Getting Fair Market Value Is Rare 
It is not realistic to expect that the car will meet perhaps one of the stringent fair market value requirements. Only about 5 percent of donated vehicles are ideal for use by charity recipients. A few third of donated cars are junked, and also the rest are auctioned off. 

So unless your car is in good or excellent condition, It'll presumably be sold at auction or to a car salvage yard. If so, your deduction is driven by car's selling price, not your estimate of their fair market value. And note that it price Isn't necessarily something you will know whenever you donate the vehicle, or perhaps before subsequent tax-filing time, since an organization has as much as 3 years to sell your car. 

Paperwork Is Important 
Getting tax benefits for any donated car requires lots of documentation, if the car is junked, sold at auction or assigned to a charity's client. IRS Publication 4303 has all of the details. Make sure to keep all of the papers or electronic files. You will need them at tax time. 

If there is a delay to get paperwork coming from the charity, your first option, consistent with IRS Publication 526, usually is to file Form 4868. That is a request for the automatic six-month extension of your time to submit your return. Your second option usually is to file the return in time without claiming the deduction to the qualified vehicle. Once the charity finally sends your notification, you are able to file an amended return using form 1040X to claim the deduction. You will need to attach a copy from the notification within your 1040X. 

Another Approach To Car 'Donation' 
Besides giving your car straight to a charity, There's another way your automobile may help a charity and likewise maximize your tax benefits : You are able to sell the car yourself and donate the proceeds. By delivering the service, you may have the ability to generate more cash than in case you let the charity sell it. 

Parting along with your old vehicle could help a nonprofit carry out its mission and likewise might make room with your garage for a brand new car. But the way you proceed depends in your goal. if you are focused on getting rid of the junker with minimal effort and you'd look into the tax deduction as a pleasant bonus, then donating your car makes good sense. But when your ultimate goal usually is to maximize your tax deduction, carefully review these steps, consult along with your tax adviser after which make an informed decision.

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