Car Donations Decline in a Bad Economy

October 27th, 2010

As individuals, we’ve all been hit by the bad economy. In economies like this, people are inclined to hold onto everything they have, spend less, and unfortunately, give less. Even now that it is recovering, people are slow to donate cars to charity.

These charities rely on the generosity of others, and cannot function without the support (financial and otherwise) given by people who care. When it comes to car donations, more people are disposed to wait and hang onto their old cars, either because they do not have the extra money to purchase a new car or because they hope to get more money from selling their old car in a better economy.

Experts say this decline is only to be expected, but the truth of the matter is that the charities are not able to help as many people as they have in the past, even though there is a higher need for it now in a bad economy. Though people are struggling and need the help of these charities, their hands are tied without the support of individuals like yourself.

Adding to the decline of the economy, fewer people are donating cars because of the changes to the IRS policies. Many people assume that the process is now too difficult to make it worth it, but car donations are still easy if you choose the right organization to help you through the process—every step of the way.

If you are interested in donating a car to charity, there is no better time like the present. Make a difference and feel the warmth that comes from doing something for someone in need.

To Haggle or to Donate: This is the Question

October 20th, 2010

When it’s time to get rid of your old car, there are a few options available to you. For example, you could make a car donation, or you could sell it yourself and try to make some money from it. Unfortunately, this means you are opening your door to the hagglers – those people who only see this as an opportunity to exercise their skills and get the best deal possible. And, of course, the best deal for them means less profit for you.

The Haggler Mentality

So you’ve decided to sell your car yourself, and your first customer shows up at your door to inspect the vehicle. This is fine, you’re thinking, because you haven’t noticed the glint in his or her eye. You don’t realize that the haggler is more interested in getting a good deal than a good car.

The Haggler hasn’t come to your house to see if they like your car, or if it is as reliable as you say. They are here to talk down your price. They have a strategy, and they look forward to the experience of telling their friends how much of a discount you gave them.

They will have done their research, and they will know exactly what your car should be worth. They will plan for what they consider a great deal, good deal, and mediocre deal, and if you can’t come to an agreement that is above what they consider mediocre, they will probably walk away. You might even get treated to a little bit of a show, as they make it clear that they are more than willing to walk away from their offer if you don’t meet their price.

Unless you have your own set of haggling skills, this can be a tiresome practice that won’t do anything but use up your time and drain your profits.

The Charitable Mentality

There are a lot of reasons someone might choose to donate a car to charity instead. The most obvious reason, though, is the opportunity to do something good for an organization that relies on the generosity of others.

Donating to a charity is also a very convenient way to get rid of that old car without getting caught up in the long, drawn-out process of selling it on your own. It won’t matter what condition it’s in, you can still make a donation to help a worthy organization, and you can still receive some financial benefits from the allowable tax deduction.

Reasons To Donate A Car To Charity

October 13th, 2010

The reasons to donate a car are many—some of them are practical while others are more emotional, but all of them can make you stop and think. On the practical side of things, your current car might be getting a little older, less reliable and it might not have all the safety features available in newer cars.

Sometimes, the repair costs on an older vehicle can add up to more than the car is really worth, which might mean it’s time to donate it to charity. You want your family to be safe, which is easier done with a new car. While you might try selling your clunker, you probably won’t get enough money to make it worth your time.

However, with donating, it is easy and emotionally satisfying. With this simple act, you are helping out those who cannot help themselves. Every little bit helps, and when you combine your donation with all the others received at our organization, you can see why we can make a bigger difference.

Some people wonder how long it takes to donate a car to charity, and the answer is not long at all. Once you call us, we will schedule a time to pick up your vehicle and have you sign the paperwork—everything is on your timetable.

When your car has reached the end of its road, you can still use it to benefit others. We take care of all the details, so the entire process runs smoothly and you are left with that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you know you’ve done something good. Also keep in mind that you will qualify for a car donation tax deduction.

Car Repair Hassles

September 28th, 2010

Every car has a lifespan, and every car reaches a point where it becomes pointless to keep fixing things. When repairs are costlier than simply buying a new vehicle, you know that it’s time to say goodbye. If your car is on its last legs, it would be better to replace it now than wait any longer.

Winter is just around the corner, which makes things even more difficult if you have constant repairs. In the wintertime, you want a car that is in good working order. You need a car that you can rely on. You need new tires and brakes that work, because you don’t want an old car to be the cause for an accident.

Repairs are costly, and sometimes, without you even recognizing it, your repairs could be costing you more than your car is actually worth to keep. If this describes your situation, it’s time to get a new car and get rid of the old one. But what do you do with a car that needs so many repairs that it would cost you more than you’re willing to spend?

Consider donating your car to charity. When you donate car(s) to charity, you’re helping someone in need who does not have the financial needs to help themselves. Not only do you help your own situation, but you help someone who desperately needs it.

You will be safer on the roads, which can save you even more money because accidents cost money and health bills. Given the fact that you can also get a tax deduction, you are making a great financial decision.

Car Donation Tax Deductions for 2010

September 22nd, 2010

It’s already September, and 2010 is quickly drawing to a close. With 2010 almost over, it’s time for you to start thinking about any donations that will affect your taxes for the year. This April 15th, you want to get a return, and with a car donation, that becomes more of a possibility.

By donating a car to charity, you can claim a tax rebate. This is one of the larger tax deductions you can take, so if you have a clunker on your hands, you can directly benefit while helping out those in need. When you donate before the end of the year, you can claim the value (up to $500) for a tax deduction.

Donating a car helps provide financial support to charities so that they can continue giving the support they freely give to those in need. You hardly even need to lift a finger except to call to have your car picked up. We will do all the rest of the work for you, and in no time at all, you can get that old car off your driveway.

If you have a newer car that can sell for over $500, then you can still use it for a tax deduction. You will get an IRS form mailed to you with the amount of the sale, and even if it sells after April 15th, you can amend your form in order to get the full amount deducted.

You’re helping your own wallet, you’re helping charities, and you’re even helping the environment by upgrading to a more fuel efficient car, but in order to get the tax deduction for 2010, you need to act now.

IRS Tips For Making Charitable Donations

September 8th, 2010

If you are planning to make a charitable donation of any kind (not just a car donation), there are a number of things you can do to ensure that you take the appropriate car donation tax deduction and that the right organizations benefit from your gesture. The IRS lists 10 tips that every taxpayer should know before taking deductions on donations. (See the original, detailed list here.)

  1. Make sure that the contribution is going to a qualified organization, or it will not be deductable.
  2. The contribution must be itemized using Form 1040, Schedule A.
  3. Remember that special rules apply to a car donation and how much of it will actually be deductable.
  4. If you receive something (merchandise, services, etc) in return for the contribution, this can change the deductable amount.
  5. Keep detailed records of all charitable donations, no matter how large or small.
  6. You can only deduct the contributions that you made during the year.
  7. You can include credit card or check payments in the year you made the contribution, even if you won’t pay the credit card bill until the next year.
  8. Any contribution of more than $250 must have written acknowledgement from the recipient organization to substantiate the donation.
  9. If you deduct items (cars) worth more than $500 you must fill out Form 8283 Noncash Charitable Contributions.
  10. You might need to get an appraisal if you claim the donation is worth more than $5,000.

Whether you are taking a car donation tax deduction or making some other kind of charitable contribution, these tips and guidelines will help you understand what needs to happen to maximize your deduction.

When Is It A Good Time To Donate A Car?

August 30th, 2010

Technically speaking, you have between now and midnight on December 31 to donate a car if you plan on taking the tax deduction for 2010. That does not, however, imply that it’s okay – or even a good idea – to wait until December to start the donation process.

The summer months are actually the perfect time to start thinking about your car donation tax deduction. It may seem like the due date is months away, but you can take advantage of the longer days and the nicer weather to get your car ready to go. More than that, the towing companies will be available at your convenience, and you won’t have to fight with all the other people trying to donate their cars at the same time.

The “holiday rush” is always a stressful period, whether you are shopping for gifts or doing your taxes. This is not the time to try and donate a car for your deduction. It’s one thing to run to the accountant at the last minute to get your taxes prepared, but it’s a different thing entirely to try and contact a charity or car donation agency and get your car towed, gather the necessary documentation, wait for the final sale of the car and get the necessary receipts at the last minute. Planning ahead will make tax season a far more manageable experience.

Of course, if you do take care of the car donation during the summer months, you will be responsible for keeping track of your receipts and documentation for a while. You should always keep your tax documents together so that when the time comes you won’t have to run around trying to pull together everything you need to get the best deduction possible. Many of us don’t like to think or plan this far ahead, but when everything is said and done, you will be grateful that you did.

Environmental Benefits Of Donating A Car To Charity

August 24th, 2010

We all like to do our part for the environment, but one 15 year old took it to the next level. Though Ashton Stark isn’t old enough to drive yet, he took his grandfather’s 1972 VW Beetle and turned it into an electric car. The battery-powered car will take the Oregon teen anywhere he needs to go, provided he doesn’t go on the freeway.The teenager has a passion for electric cars, and took one year to convert the Volkswagen into an electronically friendly vehicle.

Talking to NPR, Stark said, “I was actually looking online with my dad at electric cars, because we heard a lot about them and thought they were kind of cool. I decided I wanted to do one. And once I got the body from my grandpa, it all just kind of fell together.”

Running on nine golf cart batteries, which his father helped him install, the Bug can go about 45 mph for 45 miles on only one charge. While this is environmentally friendly, not everyone who owns an old clunker can make the changes or use a car that will only work around town.

If it is time for you to upgrade your ride, and this type of remodeling isn’t your thing, consider donating your car to charity. You are still doing your part for the environment by upgrading to a more fuel-efficient vehicle, and you are helping a charity at the same time. After all, we can’t all be 15 year old geniuses.

*blog details taken from Photo courtesy of egat via Flickr.

Car Donation Charity Founder Admits to Fraud

August 16th, 2010

After pocketing over $2 million from car donations, Shoba Bakhsh, founder of “Hope for the Disabled Kids, Inc.,” has plead guilty on the charges placed against her. This is in line with the State Attorney General’s efforts to crack down on fraudulent car donation charities.

Bakhsh was charged with lying to donors and misusing the funds for her own family and uses. Since the lawsuit, her company has been shut down. In the time it was operating, it accepted thousands of cars generating over 2 million dollars. The company operated eight years, and not a penny was spent on the charitable organizations it claimed to represent for the last two. Although, because Bakhsh destroyed all the records from the previous years, there is no telling if anything ever went to the charities.

As Attorney General Cuomo stated, “This individual manipulated donors and exploited children with serious medical needs in order to enrich herself and her family. As a result of her actions, millions of dollars that should have gone to help disabled children were instead spent on department store bills and real estate. As our investigation continues, my office encourages New Yorkers to be generous and informed donors.”

When you donate a car to charity, do yourself a favor and do the research. You want to make sure your money goes to good use, and the one sure way to do that is to pick a great company to complete the transaction for you.

Car Donations In Any Condition

July 29th, 2010

A car doesn’t have to be in working condition to be a valid donation. In fact, you can donate a car that doesn’t seem to have any redeemable value at all. There is even a special occasion when someone will make sure the vehicle never runs again before trying to sell it. The resulting shape and state of these vehicles has been called “art” by some and “cubes” by others.

While some charities use a car donation as transportation within their own organization and others fix up the vehicles to sell them at auction, these options just aren’t available for vehicles that have been – in the best sense of the phrase – run into the ground. That doesn’t mean they are completely worthless, though. In fact, up in Winnipeg there is currently a program going on in which the Habitat for Humanity is benefiting from cars that have a certain “boxy” theme to them.

In an article in the Winnipeg Free Press they discuss the collaboration between Habitat for Humanity and Urbanmine – a metal recycler. This car donation program will give the proceeds from the recycled car to Habitat, which will then used those funds to help with the construction of new homes. This is just one of the many examples of people using charitable car donations to make a difference wherever they can. In this case, there are two distinct benefits. One, the Habitat for Humanity will receive some very important funding, and two, the recycling process will remove old clunkers from the road and make sure they don’t just waste away in a landfill.

No matter how attached you may be to your old car, there comes a time when you just have to let it go. You may not be fond of the idea that your faithful car or truck is headed toward a temporary career as “modern art” but the money made from recycling the steel and other components in the car can really help out a worthy organization.