Going the Extra Mile: A Donor’s Guide to Car Donation

Car DonationIf you have a vehicle that still runs but you no longer use, you can still donate it to charity. Car donation has become a trend among non-profit organizations in America. Not only does it provide an opportunity for Americans to help promote a cause and benefit the charity’s recipients, donors may also receive tax deductions from the IRS.

Donating a car is easy, but there are few things to keep in mind to ensure a safe and legitimate car donation.

Select a Certified Charity

Find a reputable charity recipient to make sure that your donation goes to a rightful cause. Do extensive research on the charity’s programs, campaigns and transparency reports. It is the responsibility of donors to make sure that the charity they choose are reliable and can really keep their word.

Be wary of scammers that take advantage of your emotions and intend profit out of your generosity. Also, make sure that the donation does not involve a third party, or financial fundraising companies. If you donate your car to a for-profit organization, chances are, only a small portion of the proceeds will go to the charity of your choice.

Find Out What They Will Do with Your Car

There are many ways your car can benefit the charity’s recipients. It can either be given to a needy individual or sold and the proceeds will go the charity’s programs. It is important to know what they will do to the car and if the funds will really benefit the cause.

Even if your car hasn’t run in years, some of the components and parts can still work. Some charities will still receive car parts to raise funds for other programs. You may also want to do a little research about the charity’s recipients and cause. For instance, car donations for kidney.org benefit people living with chronic kidney diseases and launch kidney health awareness programs in Rochester, New York.

See If You’ll Get a Tax Deduction

A donor can qualify for a tax deduction if the vehicle goes to a certified, tax-exempt charity. The common types of qualified organizations are the ones listed as 501 (c) (3) organizations. To make sure you receive a tax deduction, comply with IRS guidelines. To know more about the process, read the IRS’s companion brochure on car donations.

You should also value your car correctly. You can use the Fair Market value if the car is worth less than $500 or if your car was sold at a discounted price. Also, since it’s a non-cash donation, complete the necessary paperwork to keep a thorough documentation of your donation.

Deliver the Car Yourself

If the car still runs, take it to the charity yourself. Having the charity handle the pick-up or tow adds to the cost and cuts the amount that will go to worthy programs and recipients. Also, delivering the car yourself will give you an opportunity to see what the organization is about, what programs are they launching and who are the recipients of the charity.

Car donations can be risky if you don’t understand and follow the right process. Before you go the extra mile, do a little bit of research, navigate through different charities and until you find the right one, study IRS guidelines and don’t fall for fraudulent schemes that pretend to be charity programs.