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Planning to Donate a Vehicle For Tax Deduction Benefits?
Edmunds.com Advises Consumers How to Survive an Automotive Audit
By Jeannine Fallon

A popular way to achieve tax relief is to donate an old car to charity. However, according to a release issued in December 2001, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is paying close attention to the value placed on donated vehicles. Edmunds.com, the Web's leading consumer resource for unbiased automotive information, offers pricing tools that can help in the process of deducting a vehicle.

"Taxpayers who itemize deductions on their tax returns can deduct, within limits, the fair market value of their contributions to qualified charities," according to the December 3 press release titled "IRS and State Charity Officials Urge Care When Making a Car Donation." The release goes on to warn, "The fair market value of the taxpayer's car may be substantially different from the 'Blue Book' value."
According to IRS Publication 561 titled "Determining the Value of Donated Property," "Fair market value is the price at which property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither having to buy or sell, and both having reasonable knowledge of all the relevant facts."
The Edmunds.com True Market Value® (TMV®) automotive pricing tools were developed to provide this type of information, serving as the industry's best guide to market value pricing and the only pricing system designed with the consumer in mind.

The IRS directs taxpayers to consider a full range of criteria such as accessories, mileage and condition in determining the appropriate value of their vehicles. The TMV Used Vehicle Appraiser asks for these and other facts about each vehicle, then provides a valuation report. The report may be of use in preparing your return, and it is a good practice to keep it with your tax papers in the event of an audit. As with all tax matters, you should always consult a certified tax advisor.

"The TMV is, in essence, what you would expect to pay or receive for your vehicle given current market conditions, and it should be useful in approximating the value the IRS expects you to claim," according to Jeremy Anwyl, president of Edmunds.com.

The Used Vehicle Appraiser presents each user with three sets of TMV prices representing the three types of used vehicle transactions: dealer trade-in (what you should expect to receive from the dealer as a trade-in), dealer retail (what you should expect to pay a dealer for this vehicle), and private party (what you should expect to pay or receive in a private party transaction). Anwyl suggests that taxpayers take all three values to their certified tax advisor when determining their deductions.

There are a number of private charitable organizations that offer car donation programs.
Special Kids Fund is providing those making car donations with the following link to search for Federal Form 8283 for itemized deductions

Donation Form
You may claim the "fair market value" for your vehicle; to assist you, here is the link to “True Market Value” at Edmunds www.edmunds.com. Information is also available at N.A.D.A. “Consumer Pricing” www.nada.com and Kelley Blue Book “Used Car Retail and Private Party Values” www.kbb.com. Donations over $5000 receive our free, independent appraisal, per IRS deduction requirements. Please consult with your own tax advisor for any questions.

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