Posts Tagged ‘tax deduction’

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.

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.

It’s a Tough Time for Car Donation Nonprofits

Monday, December 6th, 2010

But, according to a study done by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative, things are starting to get a little better. This report showed that about a third of the charities in America had an increase in donations throughout the first nine months of 2010. Unfortunately, this increase hasn’t been enough to keep up with the demand for charitable services.

Just like many other industries, nonprofit companies have been hit hard by the recession. They rely on the charity of others to generate their operational budgets, and when economic times are tough, people are less likely to make a donation. Of course, when economic times are tough, there is usually more unemployment and increasing need for the services these nonprofit organizations provide.

Last year was one of the hardest ones in a long time. Our giving was at the lowest it had been since 1956. This can be very troubling for both the nonprofit organizations and the people who rely on their services. And that is why this slight increase in giving has been viewed by some as a positive sign for the future.

Despite the increase in car donations, worthy nonprofit organizations always need more. There might be some positive signs in the economy, but that doesn’t mean everyone suddenly has more money that they can part with. Things still seem a little shaky, and it’s this kind of uncertainty that makes people hesitate about making charitable donations.

This is where donating a car to charity can make a real difference. You don’t always have to donate cash when you are looking for ways to help these important organizations. If you have a vehicle that has reached the end of its useful life, or you don’t think you’d get much for it on a trade it, you can always donate a car for a tax deduction and help this trend continue.

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_ctBPU-YJw&feature=related

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.

Get Your Car Donation Tax Deduction

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Getting in Your Deduction

The year is winding down, and as November gets started and the holiday season begins to claim our attention, the idea of paying our taxes gets pushed to the bottom of the priority list. However, if you are sitting on a vehicle that has seen better days or you intend to donate a car for the tax deduction, it has to be done before December 31 at 11:59pm.

If you are going to donate a car and take a deduction on your 2010 taxes, you should start the process as soon as possible. Right now, there are a lot of people who are thinking about donating their own cars at the last minute, and soon it will be difficult to set an appointment for pickup that fits your schedule, and you are going to feel rushed and pressured to get all the paperwork in order. December is coming faster than you think, and you don’t want to let your car donation tax deduction get lost in the holiday rush.

Tax Deduction

Get Organized

We’ve given a lot of car donation tips and information on this blog, and by adhering to these practices and starting the process as early as possible you can make the most of your car donation tax deduction. Wondering where to get started? Take a moment and review some of these important posts:

Just remember, when you are planning on taking a car donation tax deduction, you should get as much information as you can before you start the process. However, you should also remember that we’re ready to provide all the support and help we can to make this experience as simple and painless as possible.

To Haggle or to Donate: This is the Question

Wednesday, 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

Wednesday, 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 Donation Tax Deductions for 2010

Wednesday, 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.

When Is It A Good Time To Donate A Car?

Monday, 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.