Auto Donation Checklist
Checklist for Auto Donations
The process of donating a car to charity is really not too difficult. However there are a few things you have to get straight before picking up the phone. Don't worry though because it isn't to difficult and chances are you have already got everything in order.
A few things you need to consider before actually donating your car to charity.
Title - The title for the vehicle is the first thing you will need before making the donations. There are no charities out there who will accept a donation if you cannot provide the title. This is the proof that you are the registered owner and have the legal power to make the donations.
Lean free - No you cannot donate a car if you are still making payments on it. If you are still making payments on the vehicle then you are going to have to finish paying for it before you make the donation. This is the same as if you plan to sell a car you cannot ignore the fact that you still owe money for it.
Location - There are countless charities all over the world that accept car donations. In the US you can find charities in all states that will accept donations, whether it is directly or through a car donation service.
The larger the center you live in the easier it is to find a charity locally that will accept your donation. If you are unable to find a charity to donate to you have the option of simply selling the car privately and donate the money from the sale to charity. This is often easier when you are in a smaller center plus the donation process is much simpler from a tax point of view.
Vehicle Condition - Since we are talking about a donation chances are that your car isn't worth five figures. Although people do donate cars to charity that are in excellent shape and run well. Often these vehicles are sold or given directly to a family in need of reliable transportation.
However if you have an old clunker to donate it isn't essential for that vehicle to be in good shape or even in running order. If the car you plan to donate isn't running then chances are it will be sold off piece by piece with the proceeds going to charity. It is easier for the charity to handle donations that are in good working order since there is less cost to process the donation.
Percentage of proceeds that go to the charity - You obviously want all the money from your donation to go to the charity you have chosen. However this is not always possible. There are a couple factors that can determine how much of the actual proceeds from the donation go to the charity you have donated to.
Does the charity use a broker to process the donation? If they are for-profit then they take a percentage of the proceeds.
The charities that are processing their own donations will likely have a higher amount going to the actual organizations the charity supports.
If you donate your car to a company that processes vehicles they will often take a percentage of the proceeds and donate the rest to the charity you have specified.
Ethics - The primary reason people make a car donation is to help a group or organization they share the same ideology with. So with this being the prime factor many people look for a local charity. This way the donation is going to help people in the community and not some far off place.
However not all charities are created equal. If you are interested in simply helping out without the need for a tax deduction then you can make the donation to anyone who will accept it.
In order to get a tax break from your donation then you need to make sure that the charity is a registered non profit group that is eligible to receive tax deductible donations. This will usually weed out any groups that are shady but check with the Better Business Bureau to see the status of any group you plan to donate to.
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