A change in the last years made car donation charity less attractive for taxpayers, and delivered mixed results for charities that take cars. Some are reporting little or no change in the number or value of charitable auto donations for a tax deduction. Others say the changes have hurt their fundraising efforts. In one case the car donation charity that usually gets more than $12 million per year from the sales, saw the figure dropped to less than $7 million. As it stands now, the deduction a taxpayer can claim for car donation charity is limited to the amount for which the car sells at auction.
When donating to charity, taxpayers can deduct what they are able to document as the car's fair market value. Because cars often sell for much less at auction than owners think they're worth, deductions will be much less and the charity must notify the taxpayer of the amount the car sold for before a deduction can be realized, unless the car is worth less than $500. An exception is if your giving is to a car donation charity that is going to use the car and not sell it. Then you can deduct the fair market value for the charitable auto donations. Car donation charity feared lower deductions would scare people away. Some charities and firms that auction cars for charity think that the lower tax deduction won't hurt donations and charity fundraising. That's because most of the people who donate to charity don't itemize, so they can't take a deduction anyway.
Most people are participating in car donations to charity because of convenience. They don't want to have to spend money to get the car in shape, to sell it. It is simple to participate at charitable auto donations! People like you and I, donate their cars to charity, and increase its funds, thus making a profound change in the overall standard of living of the neighborhood, and the nation. Your vehicle donation helps support a charity of your choice in their vital work. Theoretically, every charity may choose from a number of fundraising activities, including car donations, for financial support. Because of the substantial unit values, receiving car donations, and selling them for profit, is one of the favorite funds gathering models. How a charity operates a car donation program may have tax consequences. The program can affect the charity's exempt status; and impact the tax-deductibility of the donor's contribution. If any charity operates a car donation program in a manner that confers improper benefits on private parties, the charity's exemption may be adversely affected. If the charity loses its exemption, its income is subject to tax, and it must file the appropriate federal income tax return. However, if the tax laws are adhered to, the program should not negatively impact on the charity's tax-exempt status. Donors may deduct their contributions (if all legal requirements are met).
The car donation charity may hire a private, for-profit entity as an agent to operate its car donation program. Both of them must establish an agency relationship that is valid under the applicable state law. Generally, an agency relationship will be established where the parties agree that the for-profit entity will act on the charity's behalf and that the for-profit entity's activities covered by the agreement are subject to the charity's audit. Accordingly, the charity should actively monitor program operations and have the right to review all contracts, establish rules of conduct, choose program operators, pre-approve all advertising materials, and examine the program's financial records. Although it seems quite strict, the idea is to prevent any wasteful actions on part of the operator, that have the potential to reduce the net profits available for the charitable causes, and thus limit your impact, as a donor, on the beneficial work of your chosen nonprofit organization.