Personal Finance

    You’ve seen the signs on the backs of buses, heard the commercials, and seen the billboards, but have you ever really, honestly considered car donation?

    The personal and financial benefits of donating your car to an organization can be great, but beyond that, you are doing a great service to your community when you choose to donate your car instead of scrap it or sell it yourself. Here are just a few benefits of car donation that you should consider before getting rid of your old car:

    Of course, the most obvious reason to donate your car to charity is that the donation is tax deductible. Generally speaking, the amount of the tax write off is the same as the sale price of the car, which means if you donate a car that is sold by the charity for $2500, that’s the amount you can use as a tax deduction come tax time. This can sometimes be more than you would get if you were to sell the car outright, since most charities take the time to fix any mechanical problems and detail the car before sale, which usually brings in a higher sale price. You also won’t need to go through the hassle of trying to sell or scrap the car yourself, which can be frustrating.

    The bigger reason to donate your car to charity, though, is that you will be helping others through your donation. The money that comes from the sale of your vehicle (after necessary repairs and other costs associated with donation) will go directly to the charity you’ve donated to. That money can then be used to benefit others in your community.

    Many people today don’t have a lot of money to throw to charities, and the donations that are made are fairly small amounts. Donating a car you’re planning to get rid of anyway allows you to give a significant amount to your favorite charity, without ever touching your bank account. There are even some non-profit agencies out there, such as Cars 4 Causes, that will buy and resell your car and then donate the money to the charity of your choice. These 501(c)3 organizations are set up specifically to taken in donated cars and resell them to retailers or private parties, making it easier for you to donate to any charity you wish to support.

    To donate your car, start by identifying a local charity and look into whether they have their own donation system set up. Many charities do accept donated cars, but some do not. If not, contact an organization that will take your car donation and donate the proceeds from the sale to the charity of your choice. Keep in mind, though, that going through a 3rd party organization will lower your overall donation, since the organization will also keep part of the proceeds before donating the remaining amount to the charity.

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