- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 18, 2004

‘Fair market value’ soon to be gone

Time is rapidly running out for vehicle donors to use “fair market value” as the basis for a tax write-off.

On Jan. 1, a new law goes into effect that requires a vehicle’s price at wholesale auction to be used as the basis for a tax-saving claim.The reason for the change: The federal government decided that too many taxpayers were taking advantage of the system by overvaluing donated property — vehicles in particular.With less the six weeks left under the old law, Kelley Blue Book offers advice on how to get a fair-market-value tax write-off one last time.

1. Donate your vehicle before Dec. 31.

2. Determine the fair market value using Kelley Blue Book’s used vehicle condition quiz at its Web site. Print out the quiz and value report for your income-tax return.

3. Make sure that the charity taking your vehicle is one you recognize and trust. You can call the Better Business Bureau to inquire about any charity.

4. Find out how much money your chosen charity receives from vehicle donations. According to a government report, more than $34 million was donated in automobile revenue in 2000, but only 32 percent of the gross revenue was returned to the charities. Visit www.vehicle-donation.com to learn more about this issue.

5. Sign the vehicle’s title over directly to the chosen charity or its agent. Don’t leave the title blank. Many illegitimate charities ask that the title be left blank. This practice could leave you liable for the vehicle months after it has been donated.

6. Get a receipt. When you make any noncash contribution, you must get a receipt from the charitable organization including the name of the charity, its tax ID, date, location of the contribution and a detailed description of the donation. Keep this information to justify your tax deduction.

For more Kelley Blue Book information and IRS tax forms, visit www.kbb.com/donation .

PG schools program seeks donated cars

The Foundation of Automotive and Construction Technology for Students (FACTS) in Prince George’s County is looking for automobile donations. The program is part of the county public schools system.

Donated vehicles will be used by high school students for training. Some of the cars might be repaired for sale by the Student Auto Group enterprise.

Donations are tax deductible and a letter of donation will be issued for tax purposes. FACTS asks that donated autos be operational.For more information, call 301/749-4267.

Donate a vehicle for kidney research

Donate an old car, truck or boat to the National Kidney Foundation of the National Capital Area and provide new hope for thousands in the D.C. area.

The donation can help lower the rate of kidney and urinary diseases and improve the quality of life for individuals on dialysis. Plus, donors may qualify for a tax deduction and towing is free. Call 202/244-7900 or 800/488-CARS (2277). Vehicles are sold either at auction or for parts. For more information, call the above numbers or visit www.kidneywdc.org on the Internet.

Donations to CHADD can be car or cycle

Vehicle donations to Children and Adults With Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder can help families and individuals.

A gift of a used car, boat, truck, van or motorcycle will support both local and national programs. CHADD is a charitable, nonprofit organization, thus donations are tax deductible.

To donate by phone or fax or for more details, call CHADD at 301/306-7070, ext. 110. Donations can also be made over the Internet by going to the Web site at www.donateacar.org/chadd, then scrolling to CHADD and giving donation information. Within days, you will be contacted and everything will be arranged, including title transfer, towing and receipt.

NADA maintains donation site

The National Automobile Dealers Association has an online vehicle donation site. Electronic visitors to www.NADAguides.com can click on the “Donate Your Car” link in the “What’s New” section and fill out basic information and details about the vehicle.

A favorite charity can be selected from a list of more than 200 accredited nonprofit organizations. NADA will assist with the paperwork, if need be, and pick up a vehicle at a donor’s home or office.

Fax or mail items of interest to Bill O’Brien, Auto Notes, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002. Use fax 202/832-2167. The deadline is 5 p.m. on the Monday before publication on Friday.

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