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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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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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What you need to know about towing in Utah

Living in Utah, for many people, means boating, camping, fishing, 3-wheeling, or some other outdoor pastime. If you plan to do any of these, the chances are that you will need to do some towing.

If you’ve never done it before, towing in Utah’s recreational lands might seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

Towing an average-sized trailer is easier than it looks, but it does require some basic know-how, a little practice, and the common sense to adjust your driving to suit road conditions. When you’re towing, everything you do while driving has to be done differently from how you would drive if you were not pulling a trailer.

If you’re braking, allow yourself twice the distance you would usually allow for stopping. The same thing applies to changing lanes; allow room for both your vehicle and the trailer before shifting over. Accelerate and slow down smoothly and gradually – no “rabbit” stops or starts!

Be sure to obey Utah’s laws regarding towing. At a minimum, all trailers need to have working taillights and brake lights and that all towing trailers must be registered with the Utah Department of Motor Vehicles.

Most people in Utah wind up towing a boat or camper trailer, or a vehicle trailer for a 3-wheeler or similar vehicle. Whether you’re towing any of these, the same basic towing information applies to any towing application. This is because what you are towing and what you are towing it with, no matter where in Utah you are towing, mainly depends on weights and capabilities.

The tow vehicle is as important as the load you are pulling. For example, if you are towing a boat to the lake, you can usually do so easily with most pickup trucks. However, if you plan on towing to one of Utah’s high mountain lakes, you may need the power of a heavy-duty engine to get you through some of our mountain passes.

For towing a load of 2,000 pounds or more through Utah you will definitely need a tow-friendly vehicle, such as an SUV. In fact, even a small SUV is a good choice for the average-sized boat or camper. For heavier loads, such as a large camper of loaded horse trailer, you’re best off with a solid half-ton pickup with lots of horsepower and torque.

Consider, too, whether your vehicle’s transmission, brakes, and rear axle can cope with the added weight and demands on them. If you’re planning on towing in the Utah mountains regularly, a three-quarter ton pickup should be in your future plans.

After the vehicle, the most critical element of your towing setup is your trailer towing hitch.

Trailer hitches are rated according to capacity of the load weight and tongue weight, so you should know the planned weight of your load, and select accordingly. Remember to calculate the added weight of supplies, etc. which you plan to load and carry in your camper or boat.

“Load weight” refers to the expected Gross Trailer Weight. “Tongue weight” refers to the downward force exerted on the hitch ball (usually calculated at 10-15 percent of the maximum rated GTW). The tongue is the hitching mechanism at the front of the trailer. The coupler of the trailer is what accepts the hitch ball. Be sure your hitch ball is the correct dimension for the coupler.

Once you have determined how much weight you'll be towing, that your towing vehicle can handle Utah’s outdoors, and that the total weight won’t exceed the maximum towing capacity of your towing vehicle, you're ready to choose the proper hitch.

Most hitches can be bolted to the vehicle, and a bolt-on installation is the preferred method to attach your hitch. Many pickups and SUVs, especially in Utah, come ready for towing with a factory-equipped Class III hitch; the most popular class of hitch.

A Class III hitch can handle up to 5,000 pounds for hauling any load (car, boat, camper, or whatever). For heavier boats or campers, a Class IV hitch (up to 7,500 pounds) is preferred (if you don’t already own one, you should probably also consider a three-quarter-ton truck for towing these loads). In most cases, though, a Class III hitch will handle most campers, car trailers and small- to medium-sized boats if you’re towing in Utah.

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Vehicle Removal: How to Choose A Towing Company to Haul Away that Old Junker

If you have been meaning to find a vehicle removal company to get rid of a junk vehicle that’s rusting in your driveway or backyard, you’ll find there are plenty of companies offering this service.

Search online for “vehicle removal” and you’ll come up with plenty of names. Problem solved, right? Not quite!

Before you make that phone call, dig a little deeper. Not all companies that offer vehicle removal services are the same. For example, did you know that you could actually make money off your old, unwanted junk car?

Yes, you can. But if you don’t choose wisely, it could cost you money, instead of saving you money, to have your junk car towed.

So what should you look for in a vehicle removal company? Here are some tips that will help you save the most, while enjoying convenience and service:

1. Most all towing companies offer vehicle removal of a non-working vehicle.

However, some of these companies will charge you a fee to tow the car, van, or suv. When you consider that the towing company is going to take that vehicle straight to a local salvage yard and get paid cash for it, that seems a little unfair, doesn’t it?

Salvage yards will pay for a vehicle that doesn’t run because they can sell the parts and the scrap metal from the vehicles. That’s why the least a vehicle removal company can do is offer to tow your junk vehicle for free.

2. In addition to offering complimentary towing, a towing company should offer to pay you for removal of your vehicle.

Depending on the condition of the vehicle, even a non-working car, van, or SUV can fetch quite a lot of money for the towing company. Salvage yards can refurbish the parts and sell the leftover metal profitably for scrap. This makes it worth their while to pay for junk cars.

3. Expect payment when you hand over the vehicle title.

For the vehicle removal company to be able to sell the vehicle for salvage, they must have the title. When you give them the title, you are transferring ownership of the vehicle to them. If a company tells you they will pay you later, calmly, but firmly, insist that you must be paid when you give them the title.

If this is your first time looking for a vehicle removal company, these tips will help ensure that you don’t get ripped off. Or call Evans and Sons Auto and Vehicle Towing instead. We will offer you a fair price immediately, pay you cash on the spot, and tow your junk car for free.

If you have a vehicle you need to get rid of, vehicle removal doesn’t get any easier than that!

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Ready to Sell Your Junk Car for Cash?

You’ve had some fun times in your old car but – let’s face it – it’s a piece of junk now. Can you still get cash for this car?

You sure can! Selling cars for cash is a great way to get rid of your junk vehicle, clean up Utah, and make some quick spending money on the side. To get the most money for your car as quickly as possible, take these steps:

Find the title

You’d be surprised (or maybe you won’t) how many people try to sell their car for cash without having the title ready for the buyer. But a buyer in Utah (and most other states) can’t do anything without a car title.

So dig out that title from wherever you stashed it. If you can’t find it, you can obtain a copy or replacement title from the Utah DMV.

Calculate the value

How much is your clunker worth? Head online or to your local library and assess the value of your vehicle. The amount of damage and wear-and-tear will affect how much cash you’ll get for your clunker. But anyone who is interested in buying the vehicle will have questions about its damage and its condition. If it’s not running, the only value may be as a salvage vehicle.

Shop around

Call the junkyards in your area but also make sure to call Evans and Sons Towing. You’ll find a range of cash offers for your car, but you’ll also find some of these offers come with conditions.

Some yards don’t pay anything for non-running vehicles or vehicles they have to pick up. Some offers may charge you to pick up the car. Some buyers won’t tell you over the phone what they will offer, and then try to low-ball you when they show up, wasting your time.

You want a buyer, like Evans and Sons Towing, that will give you a fair price, up front, over the phone.  

Deliver Your Car

Now that you have a price, you need to deliver your car. If your vehicle is drivable, you can take it in. If it is not, contact an affordable towing company in your area. Most salvage yards will less for cars that they have to tow in to the yard. Evans and Sons offers cash for all cars and never we’ll come get your clunker for free.

Collect cash for your car

Have your title ready when we come to pick up your car, and our driver will hand you actual cash, on the spot. If you take your car to a salvage yard, or deal with some other towing companies, they may tell you that they’ll send you a check.

Not us! When Evans and Sons Towing tells you we give you “Cash for Cars” that’s exactly what you get!

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