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Don't sell it, donate it!

Donating your old RV to charity can help others and provide a tax deduction

By the New RVer staff

One option to selling your recreational vehicle is to donate it to charity. RVs, whether motorhomes, fifth wheelers or travel trailers will be accepted, even if they are not in running order. Generally, you will be able to claim the full market value of the vehicle as a tax deduction. The better its condition, of course, the higher it's market value and your deduction.

Thus an RV with a market value of $8,000 donated by a couple in a 28% tax bracket will save the couple $2,240 a year on that year's taxes ($8,000 x 28 percent).

The list of charities where you can donate a recreational vehicle is long. Well known national charities include United Way, Easter Seals, Boy Scouts of America, the Cancer Research Institute and the American Diabetes Association. Plus there are literally hundreds of local and regional organizations. If you have a favorite charity, phone it and inquire if it will accept your vehicle as a donation. In most cases, the charity will be very happy to take the RV, and even pick it up if it's not running.

Donating your vehicle to a charity can make a big difference to its beneficiaries, often people who need food, shelter or medical care.

How much your vehicle is worth is up to you, not the recipient charity. You are required by the IRS to be the sole party responsible for determining what the IRS calls the "fair market value" of your vehicle donation, taking into full consideration its condition at the time of donation.

There are many rules about how you can and cannot donate a recreational vehicle — or any other property — to a charity and claim a tax deduction. It is a good idea to consult with a tax professional. An IRS website, Contribution of Property provides helpful information, too.

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Contents copyright 2001 by Chuck Woodbury, Out West Newspaper.