When donating your car to your favorite charity, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wants you to be aware of certain pitfalls. After December 31, 2004, taxpayers planning their charitable giving, donors should understand the way that the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 will alter the rules for the contribution of used motor vehicles, boats and planes. When the claimed value of the donated motor vehicle exceeds $500 and the item is sold by the charitable organization, the taxpayer is limited to the gross proceeds from the sale. Under the rules in effect for 2004, taxpayers will be able to deduct the fair market value of the contributed property.
Here is what IRS officials recommend to people donating their cars: Check the qualification of the Charity. Taxpayers should make sure that they contribute their car to an eligible organization, else their donation will not be tax deductible. They can use the IRS Website to check that an organization is qualified by searching Publication 78. Publication 78 contains a list of most organizations that are qualified to receive deductible contributions.
Publication 78 is also available in many public libraries. If in doubt, you can call IRS Tax Exempt/Government Entities Customer Service at 1-877-829-5500. You should take into the many factors into consideration to establish the fair market value of the car. Many used car buying guides contain step-by-step instructions so that readers can make adjustments to the value of a car for accessories, mileage and other indicators of its general condition. Publications like Publication 526, Charitable Deductions, and Publication 561 provided such details.
Taxpayers cannot take a deduction for car donations if they do not itemize deductions on their personal tax return. The decision to itemize is determined by whether their total itemized deductions are greater than the standard deduction. Taxpayers must document the automobile donation and its fair market value.
IRS Publication 526 details requirements for the types of receipts taxpayers must obtain and the forms they must file. Some used car donation programs mistaken that donors can deduct the highest value listed in a used-car buyer's guide regardless of the donated vehicle condition. The IRS only allows a deduction for the fair market value of the car.
Fair market value takes into account many factors, including the vehicle's condition. Contact state charity and IRS officials when in doubt. You can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 or for TTY/TDD help, call 1-800-829-4059. IRS forms and publications can be found at IRS website www.irs.
gov. A list of state charity official offices can also be found online.
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