Posts Tagged ‘donating a car’

Making Sure Your Car Is Ready For Winter

Friday, December 31st, 2010

When winter hits, many people think of winterizing their houses, but winterizing their car is far from their minds. Just how do you make sure your car is ready for winter? Depending on where you live, the snow is probably already there, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late. If you haven’t prepared your car, then there is no better time like the present.

When winterizing your car, always check your tires to make sure the tread is still good and that the tire pressure is correct. Not only will this help you save on gas, it will help you when or if you ever encounter any snow or ice. Check the fluids in your car to make sure there is enough antifreeze and window washer fluid, which will certainly come in handy when the dirty snow gets on your windshield. Have your battery, lights, defroster, brakes, heater, belts and hoses checked by a professional to make sure your car is functioning properly.

If you live in (or are travelling to) an area where you might get snowed in, make sure that you put emergency materials in your trunk, including a blanket and first aid kit. It’s also a good idea to put some kitty litter and a shovel back there in case you slip off the road and you need some extra help in getting out of your situation.

If you have checked everything on your car, and you still aren’t sure whether your car will make it to where you need to go, then you might want to consider donating your car to charity. It is too late to get a tax deduction for 2010, but if you need a new car anyway, then you can donate your car in 2011 and get the tax benefits then. Charities always can use the help, no matter the time of year, so if your car can’t take the cold, then make sure it goes to a good cause.

Tis The Season To Be Donating A Car

Friday, December 24th, 2010

The holidays usually bring out the best in everyone, with many individuals donating to charities or volunteering their time to help out others who are less fortunate. There are many great reasons why you should consider donating your car to charity this time of year, and the fact that it is the holidays is only one of them.

Holiday Giving

No matter your religion or lack thereof, we could all use a little more kindness in the world, and when you donate a car, you are helping someone who desperately needs it while helping yourself at the same time. With a car donation to our organization, a substantial portion of the proceeds go directly to children who aren’t in a position to help themselves. On top of that, you also receive a tax deduction from the government, so you don’t have anything to lose besides that piece of junk that has taken over your garage.

There are four main benefits to donating your car now. It helps the charities and the individuals it represents, it helps you, it helps spread the cheer this holiday season and also it helps to donate now because the deadline is quickly approaching to donate your car for this year’s tax deductions.

Whether this is something you have been considering for some time or it is something that you only recently thought of, it is always a good idea. The end of the year is coming up fast, and there is no time like the present to give a gift of your own.

Countdown to Final 2010 Car Donation Tax Deductions

Friday, December 10th, 2010

The year is quickly winding down. The holiday season is here, and we are all extremely busy with various commitments and activities. Before you know it, the year will be over and you may have missed your chance to donate a car to charity. This, of course, means you may have also missed your chance to take a sizeable tax deduction. If you get everything in order now, though, you can do some good for some worthy and needy organizations, and still make sure you can claim the proper deduction on this year’s returns.

December 31 is the cutoff day for getting a car donation tax deduction this year. Time may be running out, but if you start getting ready now, you can still make sure that the entire process goes smoothly.

Starting the Process

The holidays are always really busy, but if you take the time to get everything in order, you won’t run into any snags at the last minute. We previously covered some of the IRS tips for making charitable donations, and this is a great place to get started.

In basic terms, you need to get all your documentation in order and ready to go. You are going to have to itemize the contribution on Form 1040, Schedule A, and you will be required to keep records of donation and the amount you received. Keep these documents safe, because even though your car donation has to be made by the end of the year, you may not actually file your returns until next April. If you lose those documents between now and then, you could be in for some hard times down the road.

Planning Ahead

With only days left before the end of the year, you have to plan ahead to get the most out of donating a car. It could take some time to get an appraisal if you have a particularly valuable car, or the tow services might be backed up because you’re not the only one trying to get a last minute donation in before the end of the year. Now is the time to make your donations. There are many worthy causes out there that need your help, and if you want to maximize your returns, be sure to get it done as fast as you can.

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.

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.