For video instruction about how to donate your old car to the National Kidney Foundation of Utah’s Kidney Kars Donation program please visit us at Expertvillage.com :
|IRS gives tips for larger tax refunds|
|Janice Peterson – Daily herald|
As the end of the year quickly approaches, the Internal Revenue Service is offering some tax tips that may help residents get a better refund next year.
Although taxes for 2008 are not due until April 15, officials say there are several items that should be looked at before the end of the year. One important item that can make a big difference is charitable contributions. According to a news release, taxpayers should make sure to give all charitable contributions before Dec. 31. IRS spokesman Clay Sanford said it is important to keep a record of any contributions, which may be something taxpayers overlook.”There’s a first time for everyone when it comes to charitable donations in their life,” he said.
Sanford said record-keeping is very important when it comes to charity. A record of the contributions should be kept for three years, and a written communication from the charity about the contribution must be kept as well.
Marty Evans, a local spokesman for H&R Block, said tips about charitable contributions are especially relevant in Utah, where a large portion of the population gives money to their church or a local charity. Evans said residents can use “tax planning” to pay extra money to a charity before Dec. 31 and maximize their deduction.
Evans said tax planning works for taxpayers who plan to itemize their deductions. If the deductions for the year aren’t quite high enough to reach a certain point for itemization, charitable contributions for the next year can be made early to make up the difference. For someone who knows how much they plan to give in the next year, that amount can be contributed early to maximize the deduction and reduce the contribution necessary next year. Tax planning does not work for everyone, but it can be a valuable way to maximize deductions.
“That’s just part of tax planning and knowing what their situation is,” he said.
Evans said tax planning can also be used for qualifying health, retirement and other savings plans. A person can contribute the maximum amount to these plans before the end of the year and save on taxes on the money. That way, Evans said, the government is helping contribute to the plans through the savings in taxes.
“The government is paying for up to 50 percent of your savings plan,” he said.
Evan said it is also important to look through paperwork before the end of the year to make sure everything needed is available. Work expenses like travel cannot be deducted without receipts, and waiting until April may be too late to obtain the necessary paperwork.
“If you can’t substantiate it, you can’t deduct it,” he said.
According to the release, stock owners should also evaluate their portfolios and get rid of bad stock before the year is up. Capital losses from stocks can be netted against capital gains and may be used to reduce ordinary income by up to $3,000.
Sanford said it is a good idea to start working on taxes early to ensure they are done right. Even with a tax preparer, the actual taxpayer is responsible for the tax return, so residents should take the time to research tax preparers and get references. He said some people wait too long to file their taxes and find themselves in trouble, whether it be with missing paperwork or just long lines at the post office.
“People who owe money may put it off to the last minute,” he said. “I wouldn’t encourage them to do that.”
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Donate your car after a charity check
‘Tis the season to be charitable. For some people, that means donating a vehicle. You can donate your car through a local chapter of the National Kidney Foundation and others, or a charity that specializes in car donations and will pick up cars, sell them at auction, and give a charity some of the proceeds.
Is the charity IRS-approved?
Ask the charity whether it’s qualified to receive tax-deductible contributions. Most approved charities are listed online in IRS Publication 78 (www.irs.gov/app/pub-78).
How will the car be used?
The IRS says a donated car worth more than $500 that’s kept in use by the charity—bringing meals to seniors, for instance—can be deducted at its current fair market value. But if it’s sold at auction by the charity, you can deduct only the auction price. If the charity takes cars that can’t be driven, the donation might be worth no more than a lug nut.
How much money will the charity get from a third-party arrangement?
Ask the charity’s development office. Look for a share of at least 15 percent.
How much will the charity use for good deeds?
The Better Business Bureau recommends giving to charities that devote at least 65 percent of donations to good works. The BBB’s National Charity Reports Index (www.bbb.org/charity) rates charities on 20 standards. Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org) has information, too. Both services are free.
After you donate your car, record the name and address of the charity and the date of your donation. Get a receipt. Keep a copy of the title transfer. Report the transfer to your state motor-vehicle department and cancel your car insurance.
Remove the vehicle’s license plates—unless state law says otherwise—and the registration and inspection stickers. That way, you won’t be sideswiped by a later owner’s violations.
My name is Brooke, I am one of the lucky recipients of a generous educational scholarship offered by the National Kidney Foundation of Utah and Idaho given to to kidney transplant patients. I was about 10 years old when I was diagnosed with level three reflux on both of my kidneys. I received corrective surgery but the damage was irreversible and my kidney function steadily declined until I had a kidney transplant in 2004 when I was 15. I had been so sick prior to the transplant I didn’t even realize HOW sick… until the transplant. It was a miracle. I felt so much better — a whole new life. I am now 20 years old, and just finished my 5th semester at Salt Lake Community College. I just started my first semester in the Occupational Therapy Program. It has been hard, but very exciting. Without the Kidney Foundation’s help, I could not have taken so many classes toward my career. I can not express enough, how incredibly grateful I am to the donors of the Kidney Foundation who make this possible for me. Thank you for the donations to the Kidney Foundation so I could go to school. Thank you for looking out for me, and helping me move forward, through the difficulties I’ve had with kidney disease in my life. Sincerely, Brook R.
Here are links to ExpertVillage.com that instruct donors how to doante their car to the Kidney Foundation:
3707 N Canyon Rd #1D
Provo, UT 84604