Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Dangerous Holiday Travelling – And How to Avoid It With A Car Donation

Friday, December 17th, 2010

It is the time of year when many people hit the roads to see family and travel for holiday vacation. The road conditions are often poor, as the winter weather has taken its toll on the roads, and sometimes snow plows just can’t keep up. If you are planning on travelling this season, make sure your car is in the very best condition. With bad roads, an older car in bad shape has much higher odds of getting in an accident. If you are afraid your car might not make the trip, then now is a perfect time to donate a car to charity and pick out something new for yourself.

There are usually many different holiday sales going on at car dealerships, and the deadline for receiving a car donation tax donation for 2010 on your used car is quickly approaching. If you donate a car to charity before the end of the year, you can get a refund for 2010, but if you wait until the new year, then you will have to wait on your tax deduction as well.

With the combination of the government deadline and the bad roads, now is the time to consider whether or not your car is safe for you and your family. No matter the condition of your car, we can always accept your car donation, even if it no longer drives. This holiday season, you can end up with a little extra cash in your pocket because of your gift, instead of the other way around.

Car Donation Charity Scams and How to Avoid Them

Friday, November 26th, 2010

More and more, we hear bad press about car donation companies that are scamming their customers and shortchanging charities of much-needed money. You don’t want to fall victim to their games, but increasingly, these companies are becoming trickier and harder to escape. You need to be able to recognize the signs when you see them, so keep the following guidelines in mind when you’re considering donating a car to charity.

Sarah Lee Marks, author of “The Complete Internet Car Buying Guide” spoke on avoiding car donation scams, and had some very good advice. For example, when the company comes to retrieve your car, “make sure they come with preprinted forms, uniforms and a branded tow vehicle before you sign over the title.”

Research the company both with a phone call and through an online search. If you are still unsure, you can request certain forms from the charity, including the 501(c)(3) letter that is granted by the IRS as well as the incorporation document given by the secretary of state’s office.

S.E. Day commented “Visit the charity, contact the IRS to inquire about the charity’s viability, request its IRS Form 990 (nonprofit tax return) and make sure the title is signed by the company receiving the vehicle.”

One of the biggest scams to look out for when you donate a car is when the organization asks you to turn over your car without signing over the title.

“The individual will advise the victim that he or she is not authorized to sign the title,” Day says. “He or she will inform the victim that the title has to be signed by the authorized personnel at the office.”

Always make sure the title is transferred correctly and completely, otherwise the organization can use the open title to resell your car for money.

If you still happen to fall victim to a scam, contact the consumer fraud investigation division of your state government or the attorney general.

Tips and Tricks: Car Donations Made Easy

Friday, November 19th, 2010

We like to keep things simple, so when we found this video on car donations, we thought it had some great basic information to share.

Some highlights to take away from the video:

  1. Research the car donation charity to make sure it is legitimate.
  1. Figure out what percentage of the proceeds go to the charity, and how much goes towards costs of operating the business.
  2. Get the title of ownership for your vehicle.
  3. Complete their requested information and provide your contact information.
  4. Sign your title over to the charity and do not leave that portion blank.

We’re here for you if you have any questions, so don’t hesitate to ask! Now is a great time to donate a car to charity, and as the year comes to a close, you need to think about a car donation tax deduction for this year. It’s never too late to do a great thing.

The Basics Of Donating A Car To Charity

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Sometimes we all need to go back to basics. Information overload can take its toll, and when it comes to donating a car, we often like to jump into all the details. Taking a step back with car donations, allows you to focus on how you can make sure you’re not being scammed.

  1. The first way you can check and make sure a charity is legitimate is you do your research. See whether there are any open investigations by researching online and with the Better Business Bureau.
  2. Check the percentage of money that goes to the charity. Charities will use a portion of their proceeds to operate their own business, but you can usually find a company that takes under 15% for their own needs.
  3. Know the write-off rules. You know the IRS has changed the rules, so take some time to learn how this will affect your individual situation. If you need help, call the car donation charity to ask questions.
  4. Value your car correctly. You usually can’t deduct the fair market value of your car, so make sure you get all the paperwork and know how much your car went for.

The biggest thing you need to keep in mind when you decide to donate a car to charity is to do your homework. It is an immensely satisfying experience, and it won’t take a lot of work, but if you don’t put in some time you might find that your donation didn’t do as much as you originally thought.

IRS Tips For Making Charitable Donations

Wednesday, 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.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About Donating A Car

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

If this is the first time you are taking the leap and donating a car to charity, then you probably have a few questions. Hopefully these answers will help you feel easier and understand the process behind car donations.

1. Can I still donate a car that hasn’t worked in years?

  • Almost always. If your car is so old that it would cost more to tow than the value it would give the charity, then chances are it will not be accepted.

2. I get a tax deduction right? How much is that deduction?

  • You can claim the value of your donated car up to $500. Or, if we can sell it for more than that, they you can use our receipt to claim that amount.

3. I don’t have the title to my car, can I still donate a car?

  • This depends on your situation. If you do not have your title, then contact us for the specifics.

4. Will my car be sold for parts or donated whole?

  • This depends on the condition the car is in. Regardless, when you donate a car to charity, you still are doing a good thing.

5. When you pick up my car, do I need to be home?

  • No. If you can’t be home, then just make sure that the keys and title are available in the car. Make sure you don’t leave anything personal in the car.

6. Do I have to pay for towing?

  • No

7. The owner of the car passed away. Can we donate for the deceased?

  • If you have a death certificate and the documentation saying you inherited the belongings, then we can pick up the car.

8. I saw an abandoned car, can I donate it?

  • Unfortunately, no. In this case, you would need to contact a junkyard.

9. What do I do with the license plate of the car?

  • Depending on the state where you live, usually you need to return the plate to the DMV. Some states require that the plate stay on the vehicle. Contact us for more details on your individual situation.

10. What should I do if there is a problem after I have donated a car to charity?

  • We accept all responsibility for your car after it has been picked up. However, if you have any previous fines, you are responsible for them.

Hopefully these answers help you in your decision, and make the process a little easier.