Get a Tax Break for Donating Your Time-Share

Don’t pay more than a few hundred dollars in transfer fees to pass your time-share to a charity.

I want to get rid of my time-share. Can I donate it to charity and get a tax deduction? --R.C., Ogden, Utah

Yes, if you can find a charity that is willing to take it. But you have to be careful. In some cases, a middleman will offer to find a charity for you for a stiff up-front fee, perhaps $5,000, and then either take months to close the deal or pocket the fee and walk away altogether.

You’re better off finding a charity that will accept the time-share directly, says Bennett Weiner, of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. You may have to pay a few hundred dollars in transfer fees, but avoid anyone, including a charity, charging thousands of dollars in up-front fees. Start by going to www.give.org (opens in new tab), www.charitywatch.org (opens in new tab) or www.guidestar.org (opens in new tab), then contact a few charities. You’ll need an appraisal for a deduction of more than $5,000. You can only deduct the fair market value of the time-share; beware of groups offering inflated appraisals. Also make sure the title is transferred to the charity.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.