Car Donation In Michigan, MI
What You Need To Know
When you donate your car in Michigan you are helping out both yourself and a charitable cause.
However, before you start looking for the keys to that car you don’t use any more, it pays to inform yourself about Michigan’s vehicle donation procedures as well as what you need to do.
Below, therefore, we can provided all the information and links you require to make a successful vehicle donation in Michigan as well as maximize both your donation and your IRS tax deduction.
1. How To Maximize Your IRS Tax Reduction?
In order to get the most out of your car donation tax deduction you need to look carefully at the charity you’re donating to.
The ideal charity will want to use your vehicle for a significant period of time before selling it, will give your vehicle away for free to a needy person, or which will sell your vehicle at a price significantly below fair market value in furtherance of its goals (that is to a charitable concern).
Can You Claim The Fair Market Value?
The reason is that, when a charity does any of these things, you are allowed to claim the fair market value of your vehicle on the day you donated it on your Federal income tax return.
Normally you have to wait until the charity sells your vehicle, and then you are allowed to claim the gross proceeds of that sale as your deduction. Fair market value is usually higher, though.
2. How To Maximize Your Charity’s Donation?
When you donate a car to charity you are also helping to put money in the coffers of a charity so that it can continue doing its good work.
So before you decide to just drop your vehicle off, go down this checklist to be sure that the charity is getting as much for your vehicle as possible.
Is Your Car In Its Best Condition?
First, make sure that you clean your vehicle and take care of all maintenance before donating it.
Material improvements, those which will increase the sale price of the vehicle, should always be done before donation. Your vehicle doesn’t technically have to run in order to be donated, but a working vehicle is always a better sale than a non-working one.
Additionally, whenever possible, drop off your donation yourself. This saves the charity the cost of a tow to collect your vehicle.
3. What Can You Donate in Michigan, Mi?
While you can make a car donation in Michigan, you are not limited to cars and trucks when it comes to giving to charity.
As a for instance, you could also donate all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, boats (see boat donation), trailers, tractors, planes, mopeds, motorcycles and a variety of other kinds of vehicles. You can even donate junk cars.
If there’s any doubt about a vehicle you want to donate, from a farm combine to a bulldozer, all you need to do is contact the charity you want to donate to and ask if it will accept your vehicle donation or not.
4. Where Can You Donate Cars In Michigan?
With all of the vehicle donation programs and charity car auctions that you find when looking for somewhere to donate your car in Michigan, it can easily get confusing as to where you should take your car.
However, if you want to claim a tax deduction for your vehicle you need to donate to an acceptable, section 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
Fortunately for donors the Better Business Bureau has compiled a list of acceptable Michigan charitable organizations on their website as has www.charitynavigator.org. You will find qualifying charities in all the major towns and cities in Michigan.
- Ann Arbor
- Battle Creek
- Big Rapids
- Grand Rapids
- Mount Pleasant
- Port Huron
- St. Johns
- Sterling Heights
Once you know the charity you’re donating to, all that’s left is to call and ask where in the state you can drop off your donation.
Vehicle Donations In Nearby States
The IRS states in IRS publication 4303 (A Donor’s Guide To Vehicle Donation), that there are no restrictions on where you may donate your car within the United States.
If you live near a state border, therefore, you may like to consider participating charities in neighboring states as follows:
For general travel and tourism information in Michigan, visit www.michigan.org.
5. Documents Needed To Donate In Michigan?
When you donate a car in Michigan you also need to have the proper paperwork on hand in order to complete the transaction.
In most cases you’ll need to have title to the vehicle, the only exceptions are when you’re donating motorcycles, ATVs, ORVs, trailers or campers purchased before 1991.
Need a Duplicate or Replacement Vehicle Title
If you need to get a duplicate Michigan vehicle title online at the Michigan Motor Vehicle Department website.
This site has a list of all the information you need for acquiring a replacement title, as well as contact information for branch offices (see Michigan DMV branch locator) throughout the state. Read more about vehicles and titles in Michigan.
Vehicle Driver Licensing
You can also learn more about Michigan driver licensing if necessary.
6. How To Release Liability Of Your Vehicle?
When you make an auto donation in Michigan it’s important that you release yourself from liability.
Liability is the legal term for your responsibility for your vehicle, and if you are liable then all accidents and damages resulting from your vehicle are your fault.
In order to release yourself from liability you have to sign over your title to the charity, and make sure that the charity is listed as the new owner. We recommend you also read about your responsibilities as a vehicle seller in Michigan, which explains what you need to do to transfer your liability as well as the car’s title.
In addition you have to make sure that you take the license plates off of the vehicle you donated and either placed on your new vehicle or destroyed.
Once you’ve done all of these things, and updated your insurance company regarding your donation and title transfer, all liability will be transferred to the new owner. Learn more about transferring titles and vehicle liability in Michigan at the dmv.org website.
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