A Guide To Charity Car Donations

Making a charitable donation is a noble act. Charity need not be just with money. It can also be done by donating objects like clothes, furniture, cars and just anything. Cars are donated to the recipients directly or they are sold and the money is given away as charity. Many people prefer to donate used cars for helping the community.

There are many charitable organizations that accept cars as a donation. These cars need not be in running conditions to be donated. The cars are generally sold or auctioned and the proceeds are used for charity work. There are some organizations that accept car donations, sell the cars and give the proceeds to other charitable organizations.

Donating a car is a noble gesture. It is also a good tool for reducing tax payments. Car donation to an approved 501(C)3 charity organization is tax deductible under certain clauses. These are applicable for all kinds of cars. You can claim the car’s fair market value if the car is worth less than $500 or it is in good working condition. You can claim deduction equal to the actual sale price of the car is the car is worth more than $500. However, before donating, ensure that the donation program is a qualified, 501(c)3 IRS registered charity since only such programs are eligible for tax deductions. Information about such charity programs can be obtained from the IRS website or in the Publication 78 that is available at most public libraries. If the total donation is more than $500, then a separate form (8283) has to be filled. Donating a car for tax purposes requires itemized deductions on the personal tax return.

Determine the value of the car meant for donation. This can be done by checking the blue book value. Take the condition of the car into consideration while determining its value. Most charity organizations take donated cars for free, but there are some which charge certain fees. Make sure you have the title for the car.

Most charity organizations that accept car donations also provide other services like free vehicle pick-up, easier/hassle-free paperwork and easy online application forms. The donations can also be made to your preferred charities. These days, making a charity car donation has become very easy with online application forms and faster processing. The whole process takes just 2-3 days. Car charity organizations can be located online over the internet or they can also be found in yellow pages or through advertisements.

A Guide To Affordable Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance provides you with a more affordable opportunity to ensure you mortgage payments in the unfortunate event of your death. Even though they are offered for a limited time-period, but you can always match them up with your mortgage payment cycles of 10 or 20-year contracts. For the budget conscious, this definitely seems to be a smarter alternative for a low cost death benefit.

Insurance companies offer cheap term life insurance policies with different contract time periods, conversion credit during the first five years and transferable waiver of premium.

Affordable alternatives are available through comparison-shopping at various online insurance intermediaries’ websites. Other than being a cheaper option, term life insurance is better in other aspects when compared to a mortgage life insurance. There are much personalization options available for a term life insurance policy. The proceeds from a term life insurance go directly to the beneficiaries instead of the lender, so the money can be used by your dependents as desired which could be even to pay off other debts. Term life insurance also pays a death benefit. According to NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners), the companies pay almost 90 cents to the dollar in benefits for term life insurance policies. Typically the whole life insurance will be 2 to 3 times costlier than a term life insurance.

Term life insurance offers the cheapest alternative to provide insurance coverage for your dependents. It has allowed individuals under budget-crunch situations to buy policies with larger payout amounts due to the limited term of the coverage. So, if you can renew your term life insurance regularly during your lifetime, you have actually found an affordable alternative to expensive whole life insurance.

1031 Tax Exchange

Tax Exchange refers mainly to Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Service Code. It is also known as “1031 Tax Exchange.” This section outlines the tax status of “like-kind” real estate exchanges. It helps one in structuring the sale or disposition of real estate (including personal property) and the acquisition of similar real estate as a tax-deferred exchange transaction, in order to defer certain federal taxes and in many cases even capital gain and depreciation recapture taxes.

As far as the meaning of “like kind” is concerned, in the context of a 1031 exchange it means that when it comes to real estate, all forms are “like kind” to all other forms. In other words, an office building can be exchanged for a trailer park.

There are certain properties that are known as 1031 properties. To reap benefits according to Section 1031 in IRS, one can purchase any of these properties. A large number of real estate consultants and law firms also help the buyers in sorting out certain complex issues that are associated with Section 1031. The 1031 properties can also be viewed online. The exchanges under the Tax Exchange law can take place in virtual dealing rooms that are also operating on the web.

Several types of 1031 exchange methods are in use. These include reverse exchanges, simultaneous exchanges, and delayed exchanges. To complete a transaction under 1031 exchange, one needs a qualified intermediary (QI). So once an investor has made an exchange decision, it is advisable to contact a QI as soon as possible. The most difficult part of this transaction is to find a replacement property. However, large numbers of property owners are taking advantage of this tax benefit by reinvesting their sale proceeds from a property in a like-kind property.

1031 Tax Exchange Opportunities

The best thing about Section 1031 is that its benefits are available to large, medium, and small investors. The general misconception is that this section only provides opportunities to defer taxes on capital gains for owners of large commercial properties. But the fact is that if one has a qualified intermediary, then all kinds of investors can benefit from this section.

There is no dearth of real estate firms that provide an exhaustive list of 1031 properties. These firms generally also provide the services of a qualified intermediary. There are “simple gains” calculators available on the Internet that can help one to calculate the capital gains tax one would be able to save through the tax exchange transaction of a real estate property. Over the last one and one-half decades, there has been a phenomenal growth in transactions that qualify under the tax exchange laws. The IRS has also tried to make things easier by simplifying this law and plugging loopholes. Those who have lost out on the opportunity of utilizing this provision to save taxes can attend any of the seminars, which are regularly held in various cities to explain how to avail the opportunities under this section.

Prior to 1990, this section was quite complex and difficult to understand. But now, an individual can easily make out how this section operates. It is still advisable, however, that before you go for exchange you should consult your attorney or a qualified intermediary. There are certain issues pertaining to the partnerships, tenants-in-common, and transaction between spouses that need to be taken care of before you make a final decision.

However, large numbers of properties are now available in the markets that qualify under this section, and there are several firms that are exclusively dealing with the sale and purchase of such properties.

1031 Tax Exchange Forms

There are several forms that are required to be filled while carrying out transactions under Section 1031. Some of the important forms include IRS Form 8824 for like-kind exchanges and IRS Form 4797 for the sale of business property.

There are several agreements that need to be taken care of in terms of paperwork and documentation such as the purchase agreement and sale agreement, earnest money agreement, and offer and acceptance agreements. There are several formats of tax exchanges such as the two-party swap, Alderson exchange, safe harbor, multiple sales/acquisitions, reverse exchange, and improvement exchange. The documentation differs according to these formats.

There are several legal firms as well as real estate firms that help the individuals as well as companies to fill the forms required for availing themselves of the benefits of Section 1031. If one is not aware of the various rules and regulations under this section, then it is better to consult an expert in the matter, as the IRS is quite strict about the documentation part under tax exchange laws.

There are several online consultants that are available to help you in filling out these forms. Ever since Section 1031 came into existence around five decades ago, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has been trying to simplify the procedures and reduce the documentation as much as possible. The efforts specially gained momentum in 1990s. However, certain forms are still mandatory. This requirement also helps ensure that you are not taken advantage of. Most of the real estate consultants and attorneys provide these forms to their clients and help them in filling out these forms as well. Any incorrect information given in these forms could jeopardize not only the transaction itself, but could also have serious legal consequences.

1031 Property Exchange

Property Exchanges conforming to IRC section 1031 offer wonderful opportunities to defer tax liability and maximize profits while helping to continue with the investment of the capital.

The IRC clearly states the main qualifying parameter of the exchange as a like-kind exchange. “In a like-kind exchange, the property you give up and the property you receive must be held by you for investment or for productive use in trade or business.” Thus, 1031 Exchanges can involve only like-kind of properties.

In all, there are five types of 1031 Exchanges. In Simultaneous Exchange one property is sold and the next is bought exactly the same time.

In Delayed Exchange, property is sold and the replacement property is bought within 180 days. Reverse Exchange has the replacement property bought before the initial property is sold.

Improvement Exchange uses some of the capital to improve the property, as in building a road. Personal Property Exchange can also come under ‘like-kind’ exchanges other than real estate. That includes cattle, aircraft, mineral rights, etc.

Just as there are several types of 1031 Exchanges, the processes in each of them vary substantially. Delayed Exchange is the most common type, and also the most popular.

In Delayed Exchange, the first step is planning out the whole transaction by talking to a qualified intermediary, otherwise called a facilitator. The facilitator then ascertains the investment objectives of the seller or exchanger and suggests the right option after estimating the amount of potential capital gains and the resultant tax outgo involved.

Drafting a standard purchase and sale agreement is the second step, stating the exchanger’s intent to exchange the property and obtaining the buyer’s consent to cooperate. The facilitator then suitably converts the sale transaction into an exchange deal through specialized documentation.

Having decided to perform an exchange, parties are then notified about the transaction and the intent to exchange. The parties involved are the real estate agent, closing agent, accountant and attorney.

The facilitator then collects the information required to prepare the exchange documents. The originals are then forwarded to the closing agent for execution during closing. All parties get the documents for review. After closing, the exchanger will transfer the relinquished property to the QI, who would then simultaneously sell the property to the buyer. The proceeds go to the QI and held by him until the acquisition of the replacement property is over.

In the Delayed Exchange, from the date of closing the relinquished property the exchanger gets 45 days to identify the replacement property and 180 days to complete the exchange. The identified replacement property is purchased by the QI and transferred to the exchanger in the stipulated time, making the exchange complete.

It is the facilitator, or QI, who answers all questions from the exchanger’s accountant or attorney. The exchanger’s funds are deposited in separate and insured accounts to ensure security, sometimes in a $1,000,000 fidelity bond account.

The exchange has to be done diligently so that it survives the audit and scrutiny of the IRS.

1031 Exchange

Section 1031 in the Internal Revenue Service is a boon for a prospective investor, selling an investment property and wanting to make a profit by reinvesting in a similar property elsewhere in the country. This wonderful concept works on the principle of gain rolling from the old to the new.

There is widespread ignorance on the modalities about this exchange; as a result, 30-40 percent of property owners end paying tax during the sale. Exchange 1031 not only fructifies into essential tax savings, but also makes possible the swapping of property in the fairest manner at places of choice. No wonder that the 1031 Exchange excites the property market so much.

The new income-generating replacement property gives the investor the double gain of added income and savings from tax that would have otherwise gone to the IRS coffers.

Besides saving the buyer from a huge tax burden coming in the guise of capital gains, the instrument offers maximum immunity and flexibility in reinvesting the money gained from the sale in a replacement property within a given period.

The exchange being time-bound is no kid’s play either. In every exchange of this kind, Qualified Intermediaries (QI) plays a crucial role connecting the buyer and seller. The Federal Tax Code makes service of QI mandatory since 1991 in any exchange.

The federal nature of the 1031 Exchange regulations make the Qualified Intermediary play a wizard in guiding and structuring the exchange, satisfying all parameters and suiting the goals of the clients. It is the QI who does the paperwork required by the IRS to document the exchange. The QI carefully prepares all documents and serves the parties with copies of the exchange agreement, novation agreement and escrow instructions.

The Exchange Agreement reads like a contract between the Exchanger and a Qualified Intermediary. The Exchanger explicitly agrees to transfer his old property to the Intermediary, in lieu of a new property to be supplied by the latter within 180 days. The contract outlines all terms and conditions under which the exchange of properties should take place.

For a 1031 Exchange to take effect, both the old property as well as the new property should be in the category of investment property, capable of generating income. The examples could be rental property, bare land, vacation homes or more.

As soon as the old property is sold, within 45 days the seller has to come out with a list containing two or three probable properties fit for replacement. And the whole process of purchasing the new property or replacement property from the list must be over in a period of 180 days.

The exchange becomes bona-fide only when the title stays intact and whosoever held title to the old relinquished property gets the title of the new property.

In between the sale and purchase of property, the seller of the old property would get no access to the money he accrued from the sale, as the money will be vested with the ‘Qualified Intermediary’ till the exchange gets over.

This 1031 Exchange process has matured and had many names in the past including Like Kind Exchange, Deferred or Delayed Exchange, Simultaneous or Concurrent Exchange, Starker Trust or Exchange, Alderson Exchange, Reverse Exchange, Two, Three, or Four Party Exchange and Baird Exchange.

1031 Exchange Services

In a 1031 Exchange, the main services come from a qualified intermediary (QI), also known by names like facilitator or accommodator. The services are offered on fee-for-service basis. The services from the QI include paperwork, oversight, escrow services and making a bona-fide exchange agreement under section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code.

For Deferred Exchange treatment, the IRS and the Treasury Department have very rigid requirements. Therefore, to pass these requirements, the services from an experienced professional are essential.

To get the services right, it is essential to ascertain the credentials of the service provider before hiring. In a 1031 Exchange, physical possession or receipt of the money resulting from sale of the property is not allowed, and money is held by the QI only. Therefore, his credibility in terms of bonding, background, reputation and financial strength of are crucial.

The QI is supposed to put the exchange fees in a separate account for the taxpayer, and not commingle that money with any other exchange.

There are several private agencies that maintain a database of qualified intermediaries across the United States. They can be of use in selecting the right intermediary with a good reputation, high level of bonding, competitive fee schedule, financial strength, expertise and integrity.

In the exchange process, the quality of the services is marked by speed, accuracy and safety. A good QI will have concern for the safety of the client’s funds. Through unique exchange accounts he can ensure that the funds cannot be deposited or withdrawn without signatures from both the exchanger and the company. Many taxpayers had the bitter experience of exchange funds misused by unscrupulous intermediaries. Every aspect of the exchange has to be managed according to the IRS rules and regulations.

The build-to-suit exchange is now becoming popular, where the QI is a major player. Also called construction or improvement exchange, this variant has the QI himself acquiring fee ownership of the replacement property and making improvements to it.

After the necessary improvements are done, within the exchange period of 180 days, the ownership is then transferred to the Exchanger.

This new variant of the exchange gives the investors a high degree of flexibility and the opportunity to improve upon an existing property or construct a new replacement property itself. Thus, the range of services provided by the QI and associates are unlimited from the word go.

1031 Exchange Rules

In a 1031 Exchange an investor sells his property, called “Relinquished Property,” to acquire a “Replacement Property” without attracting tax on capital gains.

The whole exchange is overseen by a Qualified Intermediary (QI), a middle-man who provides services of paperwork, oversight, escrow and expertise to ensure that the transaction conforms to Rules under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Now, let us see what all properties qualify for 1031 Exchange. Real estate in general, for income tax purposes, has been divided into four categories- business use, investment, personal use and outright sale. Of them, the last two are unfit for 1031 Exchange.

Then comes the foremost stipulation: the new investment must be in a like-kind property. But this is not a blanket barrier either. It does not restrict that the exchanged properties must be like the photocopy of the other property in all respects, as in a bare land for bare land situation. It can be any real property held for investment or trade or business that can qualify for this exchange with a similar kind of real property used in trade or business.

After the sale of the first property or relinquished property, the investor must identify the replacement property in 45 days from the date of transfer of the relinquished property. This period is called “Identification Period” and the whole exchange must be over in 180 days, known as the Exchange Period.

A maximum of three properties can be identified for possible exchange. The binding Rule is that their aggregate fair market value (FMV) at the end of the identification period should not exceed 200 percent of the aggregate fair market value of all relinquished properties on the date of transfer of the relinquished properties.

There are exceptions too. In some cases, if a replacement property is received before the end of the identification period, that too will be treated as properly identified even if the three-property Rule and 200% Rule are being violated.

In that case, the fair market value of that replacement property must be at least 95% of the aggregate fair market value of all the identified replacement properties. This is known as the “95 percent Rule.”

In the exchange, it is compulsory that the investor has to reinvest all the proceeds from the sale of the relinquished property. If the exchanger fails to do so, the balance “cash boot” becomes taxable as capital gain.

The investor must always acquire the replacement property with equal or greater debt. If the exchanger does not acquire a replacement property with equal or greater amount of debt, the IRS deems it as reduction in debt and a benefit accruing to the exchanger, hence taxable, until and unless it is offset by adding equivalent cash to the replacement property purchase.

So it turns out that it is the qualified intermediary who holds the key to the entire transaction and makes sure that all proceeds of the sale of first property is reinvested and all Rules are strictly followed and equity is preserved. Having the best QI at your service then becomes the key to a successful 1031 exchange.

1031 Exchange Requirements

In a 1031 Exchange, the primary requirement is meticulous planning on the part of the exchanger. The preparedness involves talking to the accountant, attorney, broker, lender and a Qualified Intermediary, the legally mandated middle-man who carries out the exchange process until completion.

First of all, the Exchanger has to be sure that the relinquished property he owned had been in use for investment or productive purposes in trade or business, and the replacement property he is going to acquire would also be in use for similar purposes.

The main beneficiaries of this facility are taxpayers within the United States who want to literally “carry ” their investment properties while relocating. Thus, the Exchanger may live in Los Angeles and wants to relocate to Montana, and the exchange helps him in acquiring similar property in Montana, relinquishing the property he was holding in Los Angeles.

However, exchange properties outside the USA have been nullified, after the Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1989 and subsequent amendment to IRC 1031, which made real property in the United States and real property outside as “not of like-kind” and hence unfit for exchange.

In enduring this exchange process, the taxpayer must be willing to conform to the tight deadlines, such as the Identification Period and Exchange Period. Failure to comply with them will throw the exchange haywire.

The main deadlines to be met are-the 45-day Identification Period, given to identify the replacement property from the date of transfer of the relinquished property, and the 180-day Exchange period, from the date of transfer of the first property.

In the matter of replacement property, the rule and implications of “like-kind” have to be borne in mind. Also, the knowledge that selling and investing the proceeds in a property one already owns does not translate into exchange at all. Funds applied to property already owned are only purchase of “goods and services,” and not exchange of “like-kind” property.

Since the exchanger’s legal relationship with the relinquished property is very important, one should not try to dissolve partnerships or change the manner of title-holding during the exchange process.

The principal requirements for complete tax deferral in the 1031 Exchange involve ensuring that proceeds from relinquished property are invested in purchasing the replacement property. The second is to make sure that the debt on replacement property is equal to or greater than the debt on the relinquished property.

For smooth sailing, it is advisable to identify the replacement property beforehand and then proceed to locate a suitable buyer for the property to be relinquished.