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[2009] Donate for a Cause?

Discussion in 'New to Timesharing? Look Here!' started by Larry6417, May 23, 2009.

  1. Larry6417

    Larry6417 TUG Member

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    Has anyone heard of an eBay seller called donateforacause? They have no ratings. Basically they claim that you can donate your TS to them so they can sell it. In turn you receive a tax write-off of $10,000-$40,000. there is a list of charities you can choose from, and there is a website donateforacause.org. They do provide tax ID 20-4862885, and claim to be related to Project Philanthropy. I looked at Project Philanthropy's website, and donateforacause isn't listed as a partner.

    This seller has the appearance of legitimacy, but appearances can be deceiving. I was a little bit suspicious because the tax write off ($10,000-40,000) appears to be awfully high, and the seller has zero eBay ratings. If someone had successfully used them in the past, I would expect at least one rating. Also, I was under the impression that TS resales were so poor that many charities were refusing to accept TS.

    I'm not presently looking to unload a TS, but an exit strategy would be nice if I needed to do so in the future. Any info would be great!:D
     
  2. TUGBrian

    TUGBrian Administrator

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  3. theo

    theo TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Don't get your hopes up...

    I'm staying away from tax discussions --- not my bailiwick.

    I'm responding merely to remind you that this (and any other) charity will only accept a timeshare which they believe they can easily and quickly turn around for cash. Particularly in this economy, they will want absolutely no part of a unsalable timeshare, regardless of whether it actually appears on their published "will never accept weeks from this resort" list. Charities don't want the financial burden either --- they want to transform the timeshare into cash for their cause.

    Donate For a Cause is entirely legitimate. They are closely associated with Resort Closings, Inc. of Bozeman, Montana (many or most of the same people, in fact). Their legitimacy, however, has no bearing on their interest in any given timeshare "donation" offer....
     
  4. teepeeca

    teepeeca TUG Member

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    Yesterday, on the Clark Howard radio show, he mentioned "Donate for a Cause" and TUG. I believe he said that both entities were valid.

    Clark Howard (my opinion) is not a fan of timeshares---buying from the developer, etc. You might want to acces his website to see exactly what he said (and what links he might have) about Donate for a Cause.

    Tony
     
  5. Dave M

    Dave M TUG Lifetime Member

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    See the tax article that Brian linked.

    Basically, when you donate your timeshare, you can deduct only the current resale value - what you could have sold it for if you had gone that route rather than donating it. If you try to deduct any amount in excess of $5,000, you'll need to get a formal appraisal that meets strict IRS requirements. No qualified appraiser would risk losing credentials by falsifying an appraisal so that you could get an unrealistic tax deduction. Doing so could also send that appraiser to jail for participating with you in tax fraud. You don't want to go there....
     
  6. TUGBrian

    TUGBrian Administrator

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  7. Larry6417

    Larry6417 TUG Member

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    Thank you all for the sage advice.
     
  8. pappy123

    pappy123 TUG Member

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    donate to a Cause

    I applied to this a day ago and got the "your timeshare would be too difficult to sell" reply. I have a deed to Wyndham Myrtle Beach/Ocean Drive II and thought that was a pretty popular place, new, fancy, etc. so I thought it would be one they would accept. Nope, wanted almost $2000 for the "guaranteed" sell. I have read all the blogs and was hoping that I would be able to get rid of my ts as I plan to retire in 2 yrs. and don't want the extra expense and certainly don't want to burden my heirs with this. Woe to me the day we bought!
     
  9. deedman

    deedman Guest

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    It doesn't suprise me they want $2000 for your timeshare. I see wyndham myrtle beach prop. on ebay listed for a dollar, and alot of them don't sell. When you figure that the MF are probably over $1000, $2000 doesn't seem that bad. Especially if they get stuck with it for a year or so, that $2000 goes pretty quick when you figure in associated administrative costs. What good would they be doing for any charity if they take your timeshare for free, and then give it away for free since it has NO resale value, and in the middle have potential to get stuck with MF. If I were them I'd ask you for more money.
     
  10. rickandcindy23

    rickandcindy23 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    You should list it for free here on Bargain Deals and offer to pay the closing costs. ttt would probably be able to help with the closing, and he usually charges around $175. Don't you have points with that ownership?
     
  11. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    Before I paid anyone to take a TS off my hands, I'd first determine the true market value:

    To see what your timeshare is really worth on the current resale market:

    1) Register with eBay
    2) Log into eBay
    3) Search for the resort by exact name
    4) Click on "completed listings" on the menu on the left​

    If you determine that it really has no resale value, then consider giving it away at minimal cost to yourself.

    There are two places on TUG where you can give away your TS's for free (no charge for the Ads.) There are other cheap and free sites on the internet, as well.

    TUG Marketplace - the only cost is your TUG membership - $15 (List it for $1 and it will automatically go in the Bargain Basement Ads.)

    Bargain Deals - just write a simple post with all the pertinent info. - Totally FREE!

    To make it more attractive I would:

    1) Pay 2010 maintenance fees

    2) Pay for the title transfer (you can get a simple professional transfer for about $100) I've used this licensed document Prep. company and the owner is a Tugger. - Note, this is my personal recommendation, not as a representative of TUG.

    3) Reserve a popular holiday week in 2010 for the new owner ​

    Good luck!
     
  12. mwmoore0821

    mwmoore0821 Guest

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    Donate for a Cause - Worked very well

    I started my timeshare donation on 11-19-10. I now see that on 3-16-11 via their website, the donation is complete and the resort has updated the new owner information. This is what I got:

    I paid out $1895 to Resort Closings.
    I paid another $200 for an appraisal (i think that's how much it was).
    I paid another small amount for title work (less than $100).

    I got an appraisal from a licensed appraiser showing $13,500 as my value of the timeshare.

    I received all tax documents, signed and executed by the 501c3 company and the appraiser (IRS form 8283, again, I think that was it).

    I received an additional $4,100 approximately back on my taxes. So yes, I paid $2,200, but I did receive the donation benefit of $4,100 so I made $1,900. And the best part is, I don't have to pay another $893 per year in very bogus maintenance fees! This is where they make their money people on timeshares. Per unit they are making 52 weeks times $800 = $41,600/yr/unit. If there are 200 units in the building, $8.3 million per year. Amazing!!! The cost of the timeshare pails in comparison to the life long maintenance fees.

    Thank you Donate for a Cause. We finally can say goodbye to this madness. We used our timeshare a lot in the first 10 years... but the last 10 have been nothing but wasted $$. We are now done, and we will never make the timeshare mistake again. We asked that our donation go to the American Kidney Foundation. They sent a check to them. All good. Thanks again.
     
  13. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    If you plan on claiming this as a loss on your income tax you should read the posts in this thread carefully. If you had to pay someone to "take it off your hands" how can you claim it was worth $13,500? If it was worth $13,500 - why didn't you sell it?

    It's too bad you didn't try to give it away first - many people have given away timeshares on TUG at little or no cost to themselves.
     
  14. siesta

    siesta TUG Member

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    just one question:

    If your timeshare was appraised at over $13,000, why couldnt you just sell it for a few thousand dollars? is it because it really isn't worth that much, and you had a hard time giving it away rather, let alone selling it?

    I have recommended donate for a cause as a good way to get rid of a timeshare that you may not be able to give away, and have defended their "upfront fee". but don't forget that your desperation was to get rid of your timeshare, not to gain something as a tax write off.

    But who knows, maybe you gave away a Westin Ka'anapali unit, and are just very charitable.
     
  15. vacationhopeful

    vacationhopeful TUG Member

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    Don't worry. Donate For A Cause is not providing tax advice. They will not be on the hook for under payment of federal income taxes, interest and penalties.

    You will be.

    Seek a good tax person NOW and file an amended return. Save yourself a lot of grief and expense.
     
  16. CarrollJ

    CarrollJ Guest

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    In this case, where the person donated a timeshare but has paperwork from a 501c3 non-profit and an appraisal from a licensed appraiser, wouldn't the appraiser be the one on the hook in the event of an audit? The donor would appear to be in the clear here, CYA-wise with the tax forms.

    Note: I am NOT a tax professional, but I am just genuinely curious (and I do have a timeshare I am looking to unload, and considering donating it if that's an option). I'd be happy if I could break even, but I am leery of anything that sounds too good to be true. I understand it would likely be safer/easier to give it away on the free forum and pay the transfer fee, which is still very much an option.
     
  17. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    No, the auditor is not on the hook for your taxes - you owe them even if you got bad advice.
     
  18. T_R_Oglodyte

    T_R_Oglodyte TUG Lifetime Member

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    Absolutely not.

    You, as the taxpayer, are totally responsible for understanding the tax code and applying it to your situation. When you sign the return you are accepting personal responsibility for any errors in the return.

    This even extends to situations where you call up the IRS hotline for information. If you are told incorrect information you are still liable for relying on that information. It is your duty to know that the information you have been provided is wrong.

    *********

    I, personally, had a situation about 15 years ago when my tax preparer adopted an "aggressive" interpretation of the tax code, and didn't even advise me of the matter. About one year after filing I was hit with a $20,000 claim from the IRS for added tax and penalties.

    I was able to successfully petition to the IRS to waive the penalty portion of the assessment because I was relying on the advice of a licensed professional. But I was still on the hook for the tax liability.

    *******

    As far as the IRS is concerned, if your tax adviser screwed up and cost you money, that is an issue between you and the tax adviser, and the IRS will not get involved. The only thing tha IRS cares about is the accuracy of the return, which is what you attest to when you sign the return.

    That means that whenever you rely on tax advice from any person, you need to have a clause in your agreement that makes them liable for any mistakes they make.

    In the case of the appraisal offered by Donate for a Cause, they have no liability to you. They can make the appraisal whatever they want it to be.

    In this case it's good business for them to give generous appraisals because it winds up generating more business for them and they have no liability for doing shoddy or incomplete work.
     
  19. ampaholic

    ampaholic TUG Member

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    From IRS Publication 561:

    -------------
    Appraisals

    Appraisals are not necessary for items of property for which you claim a deduction of $5,000 or less. (There is one exception, described next, for certain clothing and household items.) However, you generally will need an appraisal for donated property for which you claim a deduction of more than $5,000. There are exceptions. See Deductions of More Than $5,000, later.

    The weight given an appraisal depends on the completeness of the report, the qualifications of the appraiser, and the appraiser's demonstrated knowledge of the donated property. An appraisal must give all the facts on which to base an intelligent judgment of the value of the property.

    The appraisal will not be given much weight if:

    *
    All the factors that apply are not considered,
    *
    The opinion is not supported with facts, such as purchase price and comparable sales, or
    *
    The opinion is not consistent with known facts.

    The appraiser's opinion is never more valid than the facts on which it is based; without these facts it is simply a guess.

    The opinion of a person claiming to be an expert is not binding on the Internal Revenue Service. All facts associated with the donation must be considered.
    -------------

    A licensed appraiser would likely not be challenged by the IRS - but anything is possible with those guys.

    As a licensed Real Estate Broker I can tell you the number on an appraisal is not ever "market value" it is an opinion (sometimes expert) about "market value".

    The market has it's own ideas about value - just as the assessor has ideas about the value of your house. :rofl: :hysterical:
     
  20. T_R_Oglodyte

    T_R_Oglodyte TUG Lifetime Member

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    Another factor to consider is that if the IRS decides that a particular "professional" has been providing bogus advice, the IRS will pull for review all returns incorporating advice from that person.
     
  21. CarrollJ

    CarrollJ Guest

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    Thanks all, for the comments and advice. I suspected that it sounded too good to be true for a reason...
     
  22. Jaybee

    Jaybee TUG Member

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    Several years ago, we donated our Villas of Sedona unit to "Donate for a Cause". At that time, I never read anything about those high appraisal figures. I just wanted it to be gone, and before too long, it was gone. I think they suggested an appraisal value at some ridiculous figure of $7, or $17. I don't even remember. I wish I'd kept the paperwork. ;)
    I didn't have to pay them anything, though.
     
  23. hmyers10

    hmyers10 Guest

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    Timeshare give away

    I have a timeshare I would like to give away, just not sure how to do it on this site? Any assistance?
     
  24. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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  25. JPD

    JPD TUG Member

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    You could also spend a week at your resort and look for someone who is interested in buying there. You might be able to come to some agreement and make a few bucks at the same time.
     

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