Donating your car in Grand Traverse, Michigan has never been easier! Dozens of great charities like Sierra Club and The National Kidney Foundation are standing by!
There are so many reasons residents of Grand Traverse County should consider donating their used or junk cars to a registered charitable organization. Here are a few of our favorites:
Charities near you aren't the only way to make a difference! Some of the most impactful organizations operate at the national (or international) level.
One of the parts that can be challenging for many Grand Traverse County residents is choosing the perfect charity to donate their vehicle to. There are a ton of great eligible organizations, so many that it can be a little overwhelming. Here's our recommended approach:
This is technically the last step, but it's so important we're putting it first. If the tax write-off is important to you, make sure that you've chosen an eligible 501(c)(3) entity. There's a number you can call to verify this with the IRS at 1-877-829-5500.
One of the first decision points we recommend that you consider is whether the charity you want to donate to is local or national. Some people love the idea of helping folks right in their town or county, but some popular charities operate on a more national or global scale. Even most local charities in Grand Traverse County or the surrounding areas have a national parent organization, so this is more important for people who really want to make sure the local community benefits. There's a list of nearby options provided above, but there are likely many more including theatre groups, food banks, and other great options you can find with a bit of effort!
What do you care most about in the world? Is it animals? The environment? Veterans? Cancer or other Healthcare research? Choosing a broad category of beneficiary is a great way to start to narrow it down. No matter what you're thing, there's bound to be 1 or more organizations to choose from! This is one of the best ways to narrow the list down from every charity in the world to a handful of ones that you can research more closely.
Not all charities are created (and managed) equally. Some will allow more of your donation to reach the people or causes you care about than others, which may spend more on operational overhead, etc. There are a number of online resources that "grade" popular charities, and we recommend consulting one of them before you make the final call.
At the end of the day, when donating a car you should be able to feel good about the choice you've made. After all, you could just sell it and pocket the cash. You've chosen to contribute to something larger than yourself, so make sure whatever you choose is something your heart says is right!
You should always consult your legal and financial professionals prior to donating a car in Michigan to make ensure you're eligible for tax deductions, etc. Here are some common things to keep in mind and consult with them about:
To be eligible for tax deductions on your federal returns, you typically need to itemize your deductions. Recent changes to the federal tax code give a larger standard deduction, so fewer people are itemizing these days. Check with your tax preparer to see if you'll be eligible or not. You can also consult with them about any benefits if you file State taxes.
Only donations to a registered 501(c)(3) are eligible for the tax benefits you're expecting. Be sure to carefully research the organization prior to donating to ensure they fall into this category. You should also verify that the charity has a good overall grade, to make sure that most of your contribution will go towards the cause you've selected.
Knowing what to expect if you are eligible for the deduction is another thing to keep in mind. Just because the fair market price for your vehicle is $2000, doesn't necessarily mean you can deduct that much. If they wind up selling the vehicle for less than market value (as is common), you'll only be eligible to deduct that amount. Once again, consult your registered tax professional prior to any action on your part.
Another thing to be careful about is the paperwork for the transfer of the vehicle. If the charity asks you to leave the assignment of ownership space on the charity donation papers blank, refuse and consider finding another organization. If they fail to transfer the title, you'll remain liable for any parking tickets, or other subsequent problems with the vehicle. Be sure to consult your legal advisor, prior to any donation to ensure you're covered!