More than 8.5 million taxpayers received extensions for filing their 2009 returns after April 15. Harvard E. “Pete” Palmer, Jr., cofounder of the Vehicle Donation Processing Center, (as seen at www.donatecarusa.com) reminds those who will be filing late that their 2009 car donation receipts can still get them a deduction for their car donations to charity. Palmer offers this reminder because many itemizing taxpayers forget about or misplace the vehicle donation receipt that documents their act of charitable contribution when tax filing time rolls around. Car donors are most likely to forget their entitlement to a deduction when the car donation in question did not run or was of low value. They gratefully remember that the Vehicle Donation Processing Center took their junk car off their hands for free, especially if it didn’t work, but they may not remember they were making a charitable car donation at the same time. What may have felt like an albatross to the kind of citizen who offered the vehicle donation, was also a cash boon to the charity that received it through the Vehicle Donation Processing Center.
That generosity receives official government recognition in the form of a donor tax deduction for its fair market value. That is true of land donations, artwork donations, boat donations, trailer donations and of course a car donation (with some variations on how to calculate one's tax write off). While the value of said donation to charity may be small in many cases, it is not without value both to the non-profit and the itemizing taxpayer. Charities gratefully receive every dollar that comes their way and the taxpayer deserves the highest, lawful deduction -- just as if she or he had donated cash. Although everyone must pay their taxes, there is nothing wrong in taking every legally available deduction to minimize tax bites from both the IRS and State taxing entities.
Sometimes the auto donation receipt gets lost or misplaced during the months between donation and tax filing. Losing a tax deduction receipt, when there is such a significant time lag between, for example, when the car donor first went online, filled out the vehicle donation free pickup form and clicked "donate car" to when, possibly a year or more later, they finally filed for their taxes for that particular tax filing period. Lost receipts for car donations constitute “no problem” for automobile donations handled by the Vehicle Donation Processing Center. After more than 14 years representing many hundreds of charities with their car donation programs, this company knows how to keep track of and gladly replace their donors’ vehicle donation receipts by return mail after a call to (877) 660-6689 or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for another copy. Okay, that's fine, for one's 2009 IRS form 1040 but what about for prior years? What about for car donations up to seven years back, the time to which the IRS can require production of tax write off receipts in an IRS audit? The Vehicle Donation Center assures its donors that automobile donation receipts going back a full seven years can be made available upon request IF they donated their car to one of the charities represented by the Vehicle Donation Processing Center, who handled the processing.
The kind individual who made a car donation, originally receives the valuable tax deduction receipt from the Vehicle Donation Processing Center at the time it picks up the donated car, whether it is running or not, from wherever it is located. This auto donation receipt contains all the information the IRS requires: the donor’s name, the charity’s name and 501(c)3 registration number, the date of donation, and a statement that the donor received no financial benefit in return for the gift--or, if he did receive some consideration such as a coupon or discount on products or services, the exact amount of that benefit is stated. As clearly explained on this paperwork and in various IRS publications (and a taxpayer’s own tax preparer is always her or his most reliable source) the value of such a premium, as part of the car donation process, must be deducted before calculating the fair market value for purposes of ascertaining the net tax write off to which an itemizing taxpayer is entitled. The taxpayer can, therefore, confidently rely on the information in the Vehicle Donation Processing Center’s car donation receipt when preparing her or his tax return.
The Vehicle Donation Processing Center has processed over 800,000 car donations since its inception in 1996, providing tax deduction receipts for each itemizing taxpayer. That volume adds up to $60 million in net vehicle donation program receipts for the over-400 charities it serves and substantial tax savings to itemizing taxpayers who donated their cars to them.
There wasn’t always specific car donation deduction language in the tax code; federal legislation established it, as it's own category, in 1986. Palmer, an advertising businessman, watched as charities--especially smaller ones--struggled with how to process the car donations generated by the new law. In short, it was a hassle for smaller non-profits who wished to participate in vehicle donation; to arrange pick-up, do the paperwork, and convert the car donations to cash. That’s where the Vehicle Donation Processing Center and other agencies stepped in. Formed in 1996 by Palmer and a co-founder, the Vehicle Donation Processing Center, Inc. handles all aspects of the vehicle donation process on behalf of the charity and makes the experience equally painless for the donor, who does nothing but turn over the car keys and receive the valuable tax deduction receipt. It’s a win-win-win situation for all parties.
The taxpayer only wins his financial reward, however, if he remembers to use that receipt for its intended purpose--reducing the taxes he pays, whether he files by April 15 or obtains an extension as so many do in these busy times.