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Utah's Electric Car Tax Incentive Bill Passes the House

HB 74, a bill that offers a larger tax incentive to Utahns who opt to purchase more fuel efficient vehicles, passed in the House today.

Sponsored by Representative Lowry Snow of St. George, the bill extends the current $2,500 tax incentive to encompass not only compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, but also hybrids and electric cars. Plug-in hybrids are also included.

Although there are incentives in place for hybrid and electric vehicles, the write-off amount is significantly less —only $650.

Not everyone is singing the bill's praises. A $7,500 federal tax incentive for the purchase of a clean energy vehicle is already in place, making some question the need for an initiative on the state level.

Others voiced the issue that HB 74's passage could potentially effect Utah businesses that rely on jobs in the coal industry, as well as the fact that Utahns of lower economic status cannot afford to purchase new vehicles that fall under HB 74's guidelines.

HB 74 ultimately passed with a 59-13 vote and is now on its way to the state Senate.

What are your opinions on HB 74?

Posted in <a href="http://www.utahevanstowing.com/blog/category/cash-for-cars.php">Cash for Cars</a>, <a href="http://www.utahevanstowing.com/blog/category/local-news-utah.php">Local News Utah</a> | Post Comment | 338

Cash for Your Car vs. A Charitable Donation for Tax Relief: Surprising Information You Need to Know

salvage tow utahDonating an item, services, time and more in an effort to help others can be applauded, and of course, the idea that you’ll receive a tax break can be an appealing incentive.

Unfortunately, donations are not always as cut and dry as billboards and television commercials make it seem. Although you would think a charitable donation would make financial sense, this is not often the case.

How do you determine whether to donate your vehicle or call a service that will offer you cash for your car? Keep a few critical pieces of information in mind.

If a tax write off is your goal, be careful when choosing a charity.  

Does your charity qualify as a 501(c)(3)?

If you don’t know, confirm it via the IRS’ website. (You could call them at (877) 829-5500, however, but you’ll likely be on hold for quite a while.)

You can only deduct ‘Fair Market Value’ —and only under very specific conditions.

Such as?

1. You must itemize your deductions.

2. If you’ve always filed (or plan to continue to file) a 1040EZ, you cannot deduct any amount for your car.

3. Filing a regular, itemized 1040 tax form with the automobile being your sole deduction is accepted… Unfortunately, that’s typically not a great choice unless you’re a rare person who is dying to pay the IRS more than they must.

How do you receive a maximum deduction? Your donation must fit within these guidelines:

1. If a charity auctions your vehicle for a sum of $500 or less, you can claim either the fair market value, or $500… whichever amount ends up being less. Yep, you read that correctly: the lesser of the two numbers. (Ouch!)

2. The Charity plans to make use of your vehicle in its own work. (Example: delivering meals to the needy, shopping for the disabled, etc…)

3. The charity will be making material improvements to your vehicle in order to prolong its life. Minor repairs do not count —this basically means engine work, transmission work, and things along those lines.

4. The charity sells (or gifts) your vehicle to a needy person at a rate well below fair market value as part of their mission to help those in need of reliable transportation.

How do you determine ‘fair’ market value?

If you’re familiar with sites such as Kelly Blue Book, you’ve likely used their tool in an attempt to determine how much your car may be worth. The same premise applies here, however, you must describe the vehicle accurately.

You can’t claim your base model 1998 Audi A8 with 295,000 miles is the same as a fully loaded 2010 Audi A8 with 56,000 miles. Any comparison must be apples-to-apples. 

Getting ‘Fair Market Value’ is rare.

In most cases, few of the cars picked up by these charities are suitable to give to the people they’re trying to help.

The CEO of 1.800.Charity.Cars told Edmunds.com, only about 5% of the vehicles they pick up actually go to their clients. What happens to the remaining cars? A hefty portion end up going straight to salvage (aka junkyards.) The others are sold at auction.

A key piece of information:

Although you can donate to charities as much as you want, the IRS does limit how much of those donations you can claim on your tax return. The magic number? Charitable donations cannot exceed 50% of your gross income.

At the end of the day, your car is not a dollar-for-dollar item. How much your taxes will benefit will depend entirely on your tax bracket. If you’re in the 15% tax bracket and donate a car that is only worth $1,000, your actual reduction in taxes is a whopping $150.

Cash for Cars

After reading the above, you may be realizing that a tax deductible donation is not the best way to go.

There are plenty of vehicle removal services that will buy your old car (this is especially true in the case of cars that no longer run) for cash. Some companies offer a $200 minimum, which, as you can see, may be of more help than $150 off your taxes.

If you’re interested in learning more cash for cars, give us a call —we’re happy to answer any questions you may have, or set up a time that's convenient for you to have us remove your old vehicle.

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8 Need-to-Know Tips for Avoiding Towing Scams and Fraud

We want to prevent you from becoming their next victim...

If you’ve been in an accident or experienced a breakdown, you may have called a towing company for help. While most of us are honest, hard-working people, there are always a few who will try to take advantage of you when you’re at your most vulnerable.  These horror stories make us angry!

If you’ve had to call for an emergency tow, you’ve got enough on your plate. Our 8 safe towing tips will teach you what to look for in order to avoid towing scams, fraudulent practices, and inflated costs, so you can have the peace of mind to focus on the real issue at hand.

1. Does your warranty cover roadside service?

If you have a new(er) vehicle (typically one made in the last 4 years) roadside service may be included as part of your purchase or warranty. If you are unsure, contact your local dealership to see what, if anything, is included with your vehicle. You may be covered and not know it.

2. Understand what insurance will cover.

Insurance policies can vary greatly, so it’s important for you to know whether yours includes roadside assistance coverage. Don’t wait until you are in an accident —contact your insurance agent to determine the policy limits.

Additionally, find out how your insurance company handles towing in the event that you are in an accident that requires a professional tow, and how much insurance will cover.

3. Be weary if a tow truck arrives when you never contacted them for help.

It’s tempting to feel as if this person was a miraculous godsend. Although many of us do stop out of kindness, you are better off airing on the side of caution.

4. When the tow truck arrives, make sure the name on the truck matches who was called, and matches all documentation to come.

5. Don’t give too much personal information.

Your first name may be one thing, but a towing company shouldn’t need your social security number or your first-born child.

6. Don’t give out too much insurance information.

There have been instances in which shady companies will use your personal information and insurance information to pretend to be your insurance company. It’s not common, but it’s best to protect yourself from the start.

7. Before you let a towing company take your vehicle…

  • Make sure you have your own copy of the invoice or cost of breakdown of all services. This includes all towing fees, daily storage rates if applicable, as well as any additional charges.
  • Make sure you know where your vehicle is being towed, address and phone number included.

8. If you encounter a driver who refuses to leave, or in the event that you suspect fraud, contact law enforcement.

The majority of us are good people who want to help you when you need us most. If you have been in an accident, need a tow in Salt Lake, or want more information on towing services in Utah, please contact us today. We're at your service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

CALL US for Emergency Towing Service in Salt Lake City at 801.975.9422

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Off-Road Recovery: The Best in Utah Towing

Utah is filled with off-road vehicles.  Thousands of locals throughout the state have found a passion for off-roading and for good reason.  Between the mountains, the deserts, and the salt flats, Utah has more off-roading terrain than almost anywhere in the US.

While off-roading may have a ton of upside, there is also a downside.  As humans, we have made no effort to groom the off-road terrain; so, when off-roading, you always take the chance that your vehicle will get stuck in a ditch.

Utah has seen its fair share of cars and 4x4’s sliding off of snowy and icy roads, and seeing vehicles end up upside down when driving through a mountain pass.  More times than not, the result of the accidents is a rough towing job, and a big bill to repair your car.

Here at Evans, we have seen it all.  We have pulled dozens of cars out of ditches. We have flipped cars right side up after they have tumbled off of a mountain pass.  

What makes us different from our competitors is that we have the experience needed to safely recover vehicles, and to do so with the least damage to your car or off-roader.

Our equipment is state-of-the-art and our crew is first rate.  So, when you find yourself in that situation, don’t hesitate to call Evans and Sons Towing.  We’re available 24 hours/day and we’re ready to help you when you need us most. 

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Safe Driving Insurance: Why It's Needed, and Why It's Not What You'd Think

You may be surprised to know that you need safe-driving insurance. Although not technically required, this form of insurance does not bill monthly or bi-annually through your insurance company. Why? Your best insurance for safe driving is high quality tires.

Although there are many different brands, the best tires are typically not found by going to your nearest tire center and purchasing the least expensive tire set. Asking a sales person for a recommendation is a good idea, however, it is best to go armed with knowledge about what you know you need.

  • Do some research on your vehicle.
  • Consult your car manual to see what is suggested.
  • If you do not have it, another idea would be talking to your dealer to see what they typically use.
  • Additionally, get recommendations for a reputable tire center in your area. Just because they are a large chain store does not mean they will automatically give you the best tire advice.

Now you’ve determined and purchased the proper tires. Don’t stop now —maintenance is important too.

Here are four simple maintenance tips to keep in mind:

  1. Maintain proper air pressure. (Many tire centers will check your tires and put in air for free if you purchased your tires from them!)
  2. Have your tires rotated and balanced at the recommended intervals.
  3. Not drive on old, worn tires. When they’re used, they’re used and you need to purchase a new set.
  4. If you have an all-wheel drive vehicle, it is important to replace all four tires. Why should you replace four tires simultaneously if you have an AWD? Because of the way these cars use their wheels individually, it is imperative that the wear-pattern match one another. Not doing so often means time, money, and lots of headache.

Despite your best efforts and having done everything recommended, you may still get stuck due to circumstances beyond your control. This can be frightening, especially in severe weather.

Safe-driving insurance doesn’t end with the operating condition of your vehicle. Keep the following items in your car in the event that you become stranded and must wait for roadside service.

Emergency Kit for Your Car

  • Blanket
  • Can opener
  • Non-perishable, pre-cooked food items (think protein bars, canned fruits & veggies, instant oatmeal packets, etc…)
  • Matches
  • Maps —No, not just the GPS. Regardless of your GPS system, something that cannot self-destruct is a backup that’s important to have. Technology is great, but it’s not a guarantee. You won’t be sorry for being prepared.
  • Case of bottled water
  • Whistle
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Fire extinguisher

No one wants to think they will be stranded, especially not in a brutal Utah winter. The unfortunate reality is, it can happen to any one of us. Luckily, if you follow these safe driving insurance tips, you’ll be prepared in the event the worst happens to you.

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Is a salvaged SUV a good Utah deal?

Utah drivers love to save money and a salvaged SUV may seem like a good deal. When you compare the prices of a salvaged SUV and a brand new one side-by-side, you can see how you can save a bundle. But you need to be smart about it or you could get burned with a really bad deal.

The biggest problem with buying a salvaged SUV in Utah – or any salvage vehicle – is “the mystery factor”. It can be difficult to discover the true history of a salvage car simply because there are so many ways a vehicle can be designated as “salvage”. In some cases, the damage can be extensive, while in other scenarios, damage that is merely cosmetic can get a SUV labeled as “salvaged”.

Of course, you can run a vehicle check through Carfax or a similar service. This will provide some information and, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a complete picture of the vehicle’s history. However, only a complete and thorough inspection will tell you everything you need to know.

So buying a salvage vehicle can be risky. It’s important to know what you’re getting into or to have someone experienced to give you some advice before you write the check.

Another thing to consider is that you may have difficulty getting insurance in Utah for a salvaged SUV, or you may have to pay a larger premium to get the vehicle insured. Some insurance companies will only insure a salvage vehicle for a hefty rate, and some may only insure a salvaged SUV for a fraction of its replacement value. Be sure to ask these questions of an insurance company before you lock yourself into a policy that doesn’t meet your needs.

If you’re considering fixing up a salvaged SUV for resale in Utah, be sure to do your homework. Depending on the damage that needs to be repaired, you may, or may not, be able to get your asking price. Buyers are often wary of salvage vehicles that have been repaired, for a number of good reasons. Here are just a few:

-       A salvaged SUV can’t be valued like a regular vehicle because each one has a different history. For example, online sites, like BlueBook.com won’t value a SUV with a salvage title.

-       Salvage vehicles are sometimes repaired with sub-par replacement parts. It’s often difficult to see these parts as many of them may not be easily visible.

-       Once a vehicle has been branded as a “salvage” vehicle, it is designated as a salvage car for the rest of its life. This means that anyone buying the repaired vehicle – even if it has been restored to 100% running condition – will have to deal with the insurance and resale problems that go along with that designation.

Even with all the caution you should exercise when buying a salvaged SUV, it can be a good deal. If you plan to use it as a basic, everyday vehicle in Utah, a salvaged SUV can be a great deal. 

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Hitch up your truck and horse trailer - it's towing time!

So you’ve purchased a horse and bought the trailer – but do you have the right truck for towing them?

Choosing the right vehicle to protect your precious cargo requires a little research before you go to the dealer and pick out a shiny new truck. It’s important to make a smart decision when you’re choosing a truck for towing your horse trailer.

The first thing to know before deciding on a towing truck, is how much your horse trailer weighs. Some trailers will have their empty weight listed on the title. More important than that weight though, is to know the Gross Vehicle Weight, or “GVW”.

The GVW is the combined weight of a single trailer with its full load. But to confuse things a little, the GVW is not the actual weight. It’s the total weight the trailer can weigh and still be towed safely, as stated by the manufacturer.

The manufacturer will usually print this rating on a sticker inside the trailer. In order to find out the GVW, load up everything you think you might take with you when your truck is towing your trailer (including your horse, feed, water, equipment, etc.).

Next, take a towing trip with truck, trailer, and horse to a scale and weigh everything. Be careful though - there are many factors that determine weight besides the construction material. The weight is listed on the title, it’s probably going to be the generic weight of that trailer model. If a manufacturer added extra features, they won’t add that on to the listed weight. So add another 20 percent to be safe.

If you can’t load it up the trailer and weigh it, don’t despair. Just use the manufacture’s GVW, make a rough estimate of the combined weight of your horse, equipment, and supplies, and don’t overload it. If you don't overload the trailer, your truck will have the recommended margin you need for towing your horse and trailer safely. 

GVW rating of a trailer is also determined by its axle capacity. Axle capacity is the combined weight rating of each axle. For example, if your two-axle trailer has a GVW rating of 5,000 pounds, that means each axle on the trailer is a two 2,500-pound rated axle.

Remember to consider the coupler capacity of the trailer. For safety reasons, your trailer’s coupler should always be equal to, or greater than, the axle capacity. Also, if you’ll be traveling through Utah’s mountains, consider a larger towing capacity than if you’re hauling on the regular roads. The towing capacity of a truck with horse and trailer is generally calculated for hauling on flat ground.

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