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Donating a car to the Kidney Kars program for a tax deduction

It’s super easy to give a car to charity, if all you want to do is get rid of it. The National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho has one of the longest running (since 1990) and most popular car donation programs in the country.  You can find us on line at www.towKars.org or you can call us 9-5/M-F at 1-800-TOW-KARS (869-5277).  We’ll tow away your heap, and help you maximize your tax benefit. Here’s the basic gist, but you should discuss these issues with your tax preparer before you donate you so understand your tax benefit.  Also check out the IRS’s Publication 4303, a donor’s guide to vehicle donation here:  https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4303.pdf

In order to benefit, you Must Itemize Your Return
If you want to claim a car donation to reduce your federal income taxes, you must itemize your deductions.

Here’s how it works: Suppose you’re in the 28 percent tax bracket and the allowable deduction for the vehicle’s donation is $1,000. That will save you $280 in taxes. If you’re in the 15 percent tax bracket and you get that same $1,000 deduction, it will reduce your taxes by $150.

If the car donation is your only deduction, it’s likely that taking a standard deduction would save you thousands more dollars in taxes. The only way that donating a car nets you any tax benefit is if you have many deductions and if their total, including the car, exceeds the standard deduction. And remember, you can always donate as much as you want to charities, but the IRS limits how much you can claim on your tax return.

The 2017 Tax Bill and Car Donations
Taxpayers who are considering donating a car to charity might be wondering how the tax bill passed into law in December 2017 could affect their decision. To begin with, the bill, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, lowered tax rates but also altered the previous income brackets. Beginning in 2018 you may find yourself in a new bracket, which might result in either lower or higher taxes, depending on your individual situation. And that means the tax benefit from a donation might be more or less advantageous.

Another important change is that the new law raises the standard deductions from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals and married couples filing separately; from $9,350 to $18,000 for the head of a household; and from $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. This change likely means that fewer people will find it beneficial to itemize deductions.

“The vast majority of taxpayers are going to take the standard deduction,” says David L. Thompson, vice president of public policy for the National Council of Nonprofits. “That means most taxpayers have no incentive to give to charity. That’s a serious concern. We fully expect the doubling of the standard deduction to reduce giving by $13 [billion] to $20 billion a year.”

With these and other changes resulting from the revised tax laws, it’s more important than ever for consumers to consult with their financial adviser or tax preparer before making a decision about donating a car to charity.

The Charity Must Qualify
The National Kidney Foundation of Utah and Idaho is a qualified 501 (c)(3) charity.  In order to claim your tax deduction, you should only donate to charities who qualify, like us.  A qualified charity is one that the IRS recognizes as a 501(c)(3) organization.

To help you determine whether a charity is qualified, the easiest thing to do is call the IRS toll-free number: 877-829-5500.

A Key Concept: Fair Market Value 
The IRS defines fair market value as “the price a willing buyer would pay and a willing seller would accept for the vehicle, when neither party is compelled to buy or sell and both parties have reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts.” In this scenario, neither the buyer nor the seller can be an auto dealer. Both must be private parties.

What complicates the matter for taxpayers is that under current IRS rules, you can only deduct a vehicle’s fair market value under four very specific conditions:

1. When a charity auctions your car for $500 or less, you can claim either the fair market value or $500, whichever is less.

2. When the charity intends to make “significant intervening use of the vehicle.” This means the charity will use the car in its work.

3. When the charity intends to make a “material improvement” to the vehicle, not just routine maintenance.

4. When the charity gives or sells the vehicle to a needy individual at a price significantly below fair market value.

Determining Fair Market Value
Vehicle values can be found in NADA, Blue Book, Edmund’s, Classified Ads. This can help you determine the car’s vehicle’s fair market value.  Fair Market Value must take into consideration the car’s year, make and model, mileage and condition.

Note the caution from IRS Publication 4303: “If you use a vehicle pricing guide to determine fair market value, be sure that the sales price listed is for a vehicle that is the same make, model and year, sold in the same condition, and with the same or substantially similar options or accessories as your vehicle.”

However, Getting Fair Market Value Is Actually Pretty Rare
It’s not realistic to expect that your car will meet one of the stringent fair market value requirements. Only about 5 percent of donated vehicles are suitable for use by charity recipients. About a third of donated cars are junked, and the rest are auctioned off.  So unless your car is in good or excellent condition, it will most likely be sold at auction or to an auto salvage yard.  At that point your deduction is based on the car’s actual selling price —  not your estimate of its fair market value. It is nearly impossible to gauge the actual selling price before you donate the car to Kidney Kars. It can take up to three years to sell a car.

The Tax Receipt and a Copy of the Title is Key
You need documentation.  Whether the car is recycled, or auctioned off. IRS Publication 4303 has all the details. Be sure to keep all the papers or electronic files. You’ll need them at tax time.

If there’s a delay in getting the car sold, you can ask the IRS for a six-month extension to submit your return (should you need it). Your second option is to file the return on time without claiming the deduction for the qualified vehicle. When the charity finally sends your notification, you can file an amended return using form 1040X to claim the deduction. You’ll have to attach a copy of the notification to your 1040X.

You Can Always Sell Your Car Instead
Besides giving your car directly to a charity, there is another way your vehicle can help a charity and also maximize your tax benefits: You can sell the car yourself and donate the proceeds. By doing so, you might be able to generate more cash than if you let the charity sell it.

Getting rid of a junker does help the National Kidney Foundation of Utah carry out its mission.  It will also make room in your garage for a new car :).  As long as you’re focused on getting rid of a junker with minimal effort and you’d look at the tax deduction as a nice bonus, then donating your car is a great option!

Lost wallet and car stolen– the National Kidney Foundation of Utah helps Utah kidney patients

Dear National Kidney Foundation, Just wanted to drop you a note telling you how grateful we are for this program that helped us with a large utility bill this summer.  On the 1st of July, I lost my wallet with $2,000 in cash from a paycheck that I had just cashed. I think it fell out of my car when I got out to go to the grocery store, and when I came back to look for it, it was gone! Then over labor day weekend, our car was stolen. It was found 3 days later with a punctured tire, and towed to an impound yard. We had to wait until our next pay day to get it out of impound! Even though it was not our fault the car was stolen, they charged us $960 to get the car out of impound. So it is with deeply grateful hearts, we say “thank you” for being the one piece of good news and good luck we have had in a long time. We are so grateful to the Kidney Foundation for their help in getting our utility bill paid so we could buy our meds and keep current on our insurance premiums. God bless you for all you do for kidney patients! Sincerely, V. & B. McMarin, Sandy, UT

1196 lb. Giant Pumkin Drops on Kidney Kar from the Sky

Well, a crane actually…..but it could happen.  If you want to watch them do it, come to HeeHaw Farms in Pleasant Grove this Saturday, October 23rd at 1:00 p.m. (exit 275 for North Bound I-15 Traffic/ exit 278 for South Bound I-15 traffic).  The 1996 Pontiac 6000 being smashed by pumkins (hey, isn’t that the name of a rock band?) will be donated to the Kidney Kars program!  Come have some Halloween fun ! See you there.

Pretty Sweet Kidney Kars Donation I’d Say.

Thank you so much to C. Gunderson of South Jordan for the gorgeous black 2000 Porsche Boxter.  It had a pricey blown transmission, but was in overall good shape.  With a little help from our friends at IAA (Insurance Auto Auctions) the Kidney Foundation of Utah was still able to sell it for more than $6,000 bucks at a Las Vegas Auto Auction.  That money will go straight into Utah medical research, and into the hands of kidney patients who are in desperate financial times because of the cost of their medical treatments, medications, and transportation to and from dialysis.  That was one gorgeous car– and a most generous Kidney Kars donation!  We are so grateful Ms. Gunderson for your humanitarian!

1196 lb. Giant Pumkin Falls From the Sky, lands on Kidney Kar

Enormous Pumpkins, falling from the sky! It could happen….The award winning 1196 lb. pumpkin, grown by Matt McConkie of the
Utah Giant Pumpkin Grower’s association will by hoisting his prize pumpkin by crane above a 1996 Pontiac 6000 at the HeeHaw Farms in Pleasant Grove on Saturday, October 23rd, at 1:00 p.m.  The car getting smashed by pumpkins (hey! isn’t that the name of a rock band?) will be later donated to the Kidney Kars program.  So come, get smashed with us at HeeHaw Farms located West
of I-15 at the Pleasant Grove exit (275 for north bound I-15 traffic and 278 for south bound I-15 traffic).  Be there, or be
square. For more information vist KSL.com about the event : http://www.ksl.com/?nid=359&sid=12662126

Kidney Kars of Utah helped make a difference

 Dear Kidney Kars: Thanks so much for helping us! Ihelped my mother-in-law, Sammie, donate her car to the Kidney Foundation.  You have so well refined the process, it made it very easy. Kidney Kars of Utah was especially meaningful because Sammie’s niece, recently died of kidney failure, and her brother now endures dialysis.  Helping Sammie give her car to Kidney Kars made Sammie feel that she was continuing her lifelong pursuit of helping others, even though she now needs the care of a nursing home.  She knows her car will go to help people like her niece and her brother.  Bless you for helping us to help Sammie, and for making her (and us) feel like we really made a difference for kidney patients here in Utah.    In appreciation, K.E.  Wood (Sammie’s Daughter-in-law)

What a Mom Really Wants

 

Hey! Here’s an idea for Mother’s Day. Give Mom’s old minivan to the National Kidney Foundation Kidney Kars donation program and get that woman some new wheels. That’s right…maybe Mama needs a Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera or a BMW Z4 instead of some lame card and some flowers. Just a thought…You know, because what some Moms really want for Mother’s Day is to drive away in a really, really fast car without room for the whole family. 

And remember, for that old minivan—when you donate it to Kidney Kars, towing is free and donations make a great tax deduction!  For more information, or to donate your car, van, truck or boat, call 1-800-TOW-KARS (869-5277) or donate online at www.towKars.org

 

               

 

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Lighten the Burden and Improve the Quality of Life

Dear Ms. Vetterli:  In the letter, you stated to ‘help lighten the burden and improve the quality of life for Utah & Idaho dialysis and tranpslant patients.’  No truer words about the Kidney Foundation have ever been spoken.  Unless you have experienced kidney failure, and dialysis, you have no idea how much the Kidney Foundation helps in every way.    For every Kidney Kar donation, for every company that donates money, for every generous donor– I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I wish I could personally thank each donor and tell them how much they have helped relieve the huge burden of living with k idney failiure is on me and my family.  I probably would have died 3 years ago without your help with my medications and housing.  I was giving up the struggle to stress and financial burdens I was unable to bear while I was so sick.  I stil have bad days, but I feel like I have you, and the Kidney Foundation donors helping ‘lighten my burden’ and that makes me want to keep fighting to be around for my children and for those who have been so generous.  Thank you so much.  Sincerely, Hazel G.

Dear Kidney Kars

Dear Kidney Kars, I am writing to give thanks for all you have done for me to help me stay current on my insurance premiums.  Living with kidney failure has so many aspects that need to be addressed– always when you least expect it.  Last week, I had surgery to try and place a Peritoneal Dialysis catheter so I can dialyze at home.  This has been a long process to get that to work, and when I got to dialysis on Friday, my fistula clotted, and I needed to have a fistula-gram to open it up again.  This was much unexpected– but so like kidney failure.  Thank you again for the help and burden it relieves me of.  Merry Christmas to your donors who help improve our lives with their Kidney Kars and other donations.  R. Hammon

Your kindness will never be forgotten

Dear Kidney Foundation, I would like to thank the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho for your willingness to help me lighten the burden on my sholders.  My health and financial stress does not allow me to sleep well at night.  I cannot explain how grateful I am for your help, but from the bottom of my heart I appreciate your support in this time of need.  Your kindness to me will never be forgotten.  Yours truly, T. Katoa