Tax Breaks

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, www.charitywatch.org or www.guidestar.org, 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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