June 1, 2017
All charitable donations aren’t created equal — some provide larger deductions than others. And it isn’t necessarily just how much or even what you donate that matters. How the charity uses your donation might also affect your deduction.
Take vehicle donations, for example. If you donate your vehicle, the value of your deduction can vary greatly depending on what the charity does with it.
Determining your deduction
You can deduct the vehicle’s fair market value (FMV) if the charity:
But in most other circumstances, if the charity sells the vehicle, your deduction is limited to the amount of the sales proceeds.
Getting proper substantiation
You also must obtain proper substantiation from the charity, including a written acknowledgment that:
Certifies whether the charity sold the vehicle or retained it for use for a charitable purpose,
Includes your name and tax identification number and the vehicle identification number, and
Reports, if applicable, details concerning the sale of the vehicle within 30 days of the sale.
For more information on these and other rules that apply to vehicle donation deductions — or deductions for other charitable gifts — please contact us.
A tax deduction isn’t the only reason for donating a vehicle to charity. But if you’re counting on one, make sure you understand the rules. You may wind up with a small deduction or none at all.
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