- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 10, 2005

Find out about giving a vehicle to charity

People wishing to donate a vehicle to charity for tax purposes can still do so, but with a lower limit on the value claimed.

Previously, donors could cite the industry Blue Book value when giving a vehicle to charity. But the federal government has tightened up its rules.

Now $500 is the most a donor can claim initially.

If the charity sells the vehicle at auction for more money, it notifies the donor for tax purposes. Donated vehicles with a value of more than $5,000 require an independent appraisal.

Most important: Donors who want an income-tax deduction for a vehicle must get a validating receipt from the charity of their choice.

For more information, call the IRS at 800/829-3676 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. weekdays or go online (www.irs.ustreas.gov). The government also provides A Donor’s Guide to Car Donations (IRS Publication 4303).

There are still plenty of organizations looking for donated vehicles.

A list can be found on the Internet at America’s Car Donation Charity Center (wwwdonatacar.com).

Volvo selling in U.S. for past 50 years

Volvo broke into the U.S. car market a half-century ago. And the Swedish manufacturer immediately became a leader in vehicle safety.

The most important innovation was the three-point safety belt. Volvo also was the first automaker in the world to sell its cars with seat belts as standard equipment.

Germans add flash to police forces

U.S. cop shows on television have finally collared German authorities.

Under a plan announced by Interior Minister Otto Schily and Transport Minister Manfred Stolpe, police cars in Germany will begin using flashing red lights and wailing sirens.

The ministers cited the popularity of U.S. crime shows that have left Germans less responsive to the traditional European flashing blue light and the comparatively somnolent nee-nah-nee-nah siren sound, UPI reported.

Consumer’s rates top five midsize SUVs

Congress is questioning oil industry executives concerning their gusher of profits during this year.

Meanwhile, motorists are asking themselves whether the initials SUV now stand for Suddenly Unwanted Vehicle because of the price of gasoline.

Some owners are rethinking their need for a full-size vehicle and considering trading for a midsize SUV.

Consumer Reports rates the top five in that category (seating for five persons) as follows:

• Toyota Highlander Hybrid

• Lexus RX 400h

• Lexus

• RX 330

• BMW X5

All carry a price tag of $35,000 or more.

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 number 202/832-2167. The deadline is 5 p.m. on the Monday before publication on Friday.

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