5 tips for donating your car to charity

Donating your car can benefit a charity and your tax return. To maximize the benefit for the charity and for yourself, keep these things in mind:

•Make sure you’re donating to a 501(c)(3) charitable organization if you want a tax deduction. You can look up the charity by searching its name on the Exempt Organizations Select Check at irs.gov or by calling 877-829-5500. You can look up the group’s tax filing at guidestar.org.

You get the tax benefit only if you itemize expenses on your return. Although there are exceptions, the amount of the allowed tax deduction is usually equal to the amount the charity gets when it sells the vehicle.

The exceptions might allow you to deduct the fair market value of the car, which will often be higher than the sale price. Those exceptions apply if the charity uses the car itself, makes substantial repairs before selling the vehicle or sells it to a needy individual for a discount. Keep any documentation that verifies the allowed exceptions.

Avoid liability by signing over the registration to the charity yourself. That way you’re sure the car won’t remain in your name, which could leave you on the hook with the DMV for fees or even with law enforcement if the car is later used in a crime.

Ask to see the agreement the charity has with the for-profit company that collects and sells vehicles on its behalf. If the charity gets less than half the proceeds, you could be dealing with an inefficiently run program, Charity Navigator President Daniel Borochoff said.

More in Herald Business Journal

Snohomish County’s campaign to land the 797 takes off

Executive Dave Somers announced the formation of a task force to urge Boeing to build the plane here.

A decade after the recession, pain and fear linger

No matter how good things are now, it’s impossible to forget how the collapse affected people.

Panel: Motorcycle industry in deep trouble and needs help

They have failed to increase sales by making new riders out of women, minorities and millennials.

Costco rises as results display big-box retailer’s resiliency

Their model has worked in the face of heightened competition from online, brick-and-mortar peers.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence about past inopportunity.

Tax reform needs the public’s input on spending priorities

The GOP tax plan is a good idea, but the next step should give us a voice on how taxes are spent.

Commentary: GM, Boeing fight a war of words over Mars

Boeing is strongly signaling how crucial deep-space exploration is to its future.

Under cloud of ethics probes, Airbus CEO Enders to step down

He leaves in 2019 after 14 years. Meanwhile, aircraft division CEO Fabrice Bregier leaves in February.

$4.99 sandwich promotion irks some Subway business owners

Management insists that “most franchisees support the promotion.”

Most Read