Donate My Car - 'How To' Guide
Have you ever thought to yourself, 'I think I'd like to donate my car to charity.'? You're not alone. Car donation is one of the most popular forms of charity in America, especially over the past decade or so. It's a wonderful act of generosity, but it's not a completely uncomplicated act. Done correctly, donating a car is pretty painless, but you need to know what to do (and what not to do).
Picking The Right Charity - When I decided to donate my car a few years ago, I discovered that there's no shortage of charities to which you can donate a car. However, not all charitable organizations are set up to accept cars as gifts. So the first step is finding local charities that do accept car donations.
Some people have favorite charities in their cities. If you discover that yours does not have a program in place for people to donate a car, consider helping them get one started by offering your vehicle as the test case. But only if you have the time and don't mind a considerable amount of work. Otherwise, choose a different charity that already has a car donation program.
One of the most common mistakes would-be car donaters make is failing to properly transfer the car's title to the charity. This is an absolute must, both for tax write-off purposes and to avoid annoying things like notices of unpaid parking and traffic tickets that the next owner may incur. If you make the decision to donate your car, see it through and make a clean break with your car.
Receipts and Records
The last thing you want after you donate your car is IRS headaches. Be sure to get a receipt from the charity and complete all the required IRS forms in a timely manner. In fact, this is a good reason to choose a charity that has been accepting car donations for awhile. They will be able to provide you with guidance and the necessary forms to avoid tax problems. Make copies of every receipt and record you have and keep them in a safe place.
Play By The Rules
Finally, if you do follow through on your thought, 'I think I'll donate my car,' play by the rules. Yes, you get a tax write-off, but don't cheat! Don't inflate the car's value. You run a real risk of getting caught, which may invite a very painful full audit by the IRS. Donating your car is truly an act of generosity. No need to sully it by trying to game the system.