How To Responsibly Donate A Car To Charity
Donating a car to charity in New Jersey, or any state for that matter is an altruistic thing to do. It requires a selfless vision to help an organization that is committed to forward a public social good. In principle, the act sounds so simple to do– just donate the used vehicle to the organization. What most donors do not realize, however, is that the process of donation has to undergo tedious legal and bureaucratic processes. The reason for this is to properly document the donation in cases of tax deduction applications, make sure that the donation is put to proper use by the recipient organizations, and to protect the donor from future liabilities that come with the improper use of the vehicle.
The first thing that one should make sure of is to avoid the inclusion of middlemen in the activity. In its core, a donation is a personal thing to do. It should be an agreement that involves only three parties- the donor, the recipient, and the state. The reason for this is that most of the time, donating through a middleman rigs the entire process. Most advertisements that offer to help facilitate car donations keep 50% to 90% of the car’s market value as payment of their involvement. This means that the charities do not get the real value of what the donor intended to give at the start. In order to avoid this, the basic thing to do is to have a shortlist of worthy organizations and find out if they accept direct vehicle donations. Usually, their status will be up in sites such as Better Business Bureau and Charity Navigator.
It is also strategic to know the status of the receiving organization, especially if a person wants to qualify for a deduction because of the donation. In order for this thing to happen, the recipients should be IRS-approved and are considered as 501©(3) organizations. To make sure, anyone can visit the website of the IRS. Look for Publication 78 into the search field at the home page in order to see the list of qualified non-profit organizations.
It is also advisable to deliver the vehicle personally in order to avoid pecuniary costs in paying someone to do the pickup. This way, the charity will be able to maximize the benefit of such a selfless act. The transfer should also be reported to the state in order to formally be able to re-title the vehicle as well as transfer the necessary papers to them. If the value of the car is equal to or more than $500, the IRS will require a receipt to see how much the charity made in the re-sale of the automobile. If the value exceeds $500, the donor should attach IRS Form 8283 to his or her tax return. And finally, if the vehicle is worth more than $5,000, the IRS will need a document from an independent appraisal company. In the end, one should take time in fulfilling these things in order to maximize the donation and avoid the hassle of more paperwork because of hastily donating a vehicle.