Charitable Donation Values

Written by Rylee Newton
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If you donate a car to charity, and you plan on itemizing deductions on your income tax, you need to figure out the fair market value of your vehicle. As of 2005, you only need to assess the fair market value of your vehicle if the value of your car is less than $500. If you plan on donating a used vehicle, you may be surprised to find that your car falls into this category.

There are a couple of different publications that can help you determining the fair market value of your vehicle. One of the most popular resources for automobiles and trucks is the Kelley Blue Book. This publication takes into account a number of different factors to arrive at a reasonable asking price for your vehicle if you were to sell it on the market today.

Using the Kelley Blue Book

To determine the value, you will need to know some basic facts about your car. Primarily, you will need the make and model numbers and the year. The trim, engine, mileage, special features, and overall condition will also play a large role in the value. The type of vehicle will often help determine the price too, as older trucks have a tendency to depreciate less than cars.

Beyond cars, trucks, and SUVs, most charitable organizations take donations of many kinds. RVs and boats are often welcomed, as they can fetch great prices at auction. Donating to charity is one of the easiest ways to get rid of a boat that you no longer have the resources to tow away. Since boats and RVs are likely to sell for more than $500, you will not need to determine the fair market value. However, you will only be able to deduct the amount that the item was sold for. You may want to check with the charity in question to see what common sale prices are for comparable vehicles or items are.

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