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Old January 21, 2011, 03:27 PM   #1
helpmedivest
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[2011] Anyone used "Donate for a Cause?"

After 24 years of ownership, I am trying to unload a ski week 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo in Breckenridge, CO. The kids are grown and I don't want the hassle anymore. It's paid for and dues are up to date through 2011. I have talked to a realtor...but what are the odds it will sell for even her fee?! I have talked to some of the "We'll take it off your hands" companies, but I don't like what I'm hearing. "Donate for a Cause" isn't free...but they claim they will assume title and at least I will get some sort of tax deduction.
Has anyone successfully used "Donate for a Cause?" How did it work? Or if you have problems, can you please share?
Thanks!
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Old January 21, 2011, 04:03 PM   #2
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Please - BEFORE you pay anyone a cent to "take your timeshare off your hands" try to give it away yourself first - we can help.

Their "tax deduction" is bogus, even if they give you an inflated appraisel. The law says that you can claim the "fair market value" of your donation. If your timeshare is selling for $1 on ebay, and you have to pay someone to take it, what's the fair market value? Their phony appraisel will not hold up if you get audited.

How can I give away my timeshare on TUG?

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 - Totally FREE! - just write a simple post with all the pertinent info. In your post, include the following info.:
-resort name
-unit size
-season owned
-maintenance fee
-current reservations
To make it more attractive I would:

1) Pay 2010 (and possibly 2011) maintenance fees and don't ask for reimbursement.

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 or 2011 for the new owner
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Last edited by DeniseM; January 21, 2011 at 04:23 PM.
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Old January 21, 2011, 09:58 PM   #3
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Maybe things have changed, but we used Donate for a cause a few years ago, and I'm sure we didn't pay anything. It was a bit slow, until they sold our unit, but it went very well.
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Old January 21, 2011, 10:49 PM   #4
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look at the similar topic below, they charge $1,800 to unload your TS.
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Old January 22, 2011, 12:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaybee View Post
Maybe things have changed, but we used Donate for a cause a few years ago, and I'm sure we didn't pay anything. It was a bit slow, until they sold our unit, but it went very well.
Unless you donate a timeshare with immediate resale value - they charge $1,800.
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Old January 22, 2011, 08:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeniseM View Post
Unless you donate a timeshare with immediate resale value - they charge $1,800.
Exactly right, and maybe to be expected for weeks having little or no value or demand. After all, the "donation" of a stinky albatross with no market value is more of a "dumping" than a "donation", truth to tell.

It's an entirely different economic world in timeshares today than it was "a few years ago" (i.e., pre-2008). The Donate for a Cause fees get waived entirely (except for actual closing costs) when the "offered" week is a real donation that actuially has some value and a likelihood of being resold for more than just pennies....

As Denise has already correctly observed, it's better to just give away a low value timeshare for free, rather than pay big bucks to "donate" that which DFAC doesn't particularly want to accept anyhow...

Last edited by theo; January 22, 2011 at 08:53 AM.
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Old January 22, 2011, 10:04 AM   #7
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Donate for a cause

Actually, DFAC is quoting me a figure lower than $1800. Maybe it varies from property to property??

So...here is my main question. I absolutely agree that it's better to give away the unit for free than to pay for a donation.

But what if no one will take it--even for free? What other options do I have? $439 a year in dues isn't much, but it aggravates me to pay it when I don't use the unit or can't fit a good RCI trade into my schedule. So....how do you unload it if an individual won't take it --even for free!!
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Old January 22, 2011, 10:29 AM   #8
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Pay the individual more to entice them to take it? Stuff like pre-paying MF for the current and next year + cover all closing costs + cover resort transfer fee + county recording fees. Maybe even booking a hard to get exchange week or depositing the week into the exchange company so it is already there for the new owner?

Heck there was even an eBay auction where the seller paid the new buyer $1000 cash (plus covered some of the previous stuff). Now I wouldn't do that until after the title was finally accepted by the county and resort, in the new owners name. But you'd at least be in total control that way, and would ensure the property was out of your name.

I'd always wonder if the property really got transferred out of my name if I paid an up-front fees to someone. I'm not sure about the company you mentioned, but some PCC's use a Power of Attorney and they don't. There have been plent of reports on the forums where the owner gets caught off guard sometime later with delinquent MFs, since the title is still in their name.
I guess I like to be in control of things....
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Old January 22, 2011, 11:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helpmedivest View Post
Actually, DFAC is quoting me a figure lower than $1800. Maybe it varies from property to property??

So...here is my main question. I absolutely agree that it's better to give away the unit for free than to pay for a donation.

But what if no one will take it--even for free? What other options do I have? $439 a year in dues isn't much, but it aggravates me to pay it when I don't use the unit or can't fit a good RCI trade into my schedule. So....how do you unload it if an individual won't take it --even for free!!
do your best to give it away for free, if you can't, then take donate for a cause up on their offer. At least if you have to pay to get rid of it, it's going towards a good cause. good luck.
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Old January 22, 2011, 11:09 AM   #10
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Exclamation

I would think there would be many takers for a free ski week in Breckenridge!
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Old January 22, 2011, 02:15 PM   #11
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I am the source for the other thread and the $1,800 fee to walk away "free and clear" through donations to them. The catch is if they feel they cannot sell withing 3 weeks of acquiring from you, they will only offer you the program where you pay the $1,800 to deed it over to them.

They couch it as closing fees for the buyer to entice someone to buy, plus admin costs. I'm sure they are also probably figuring in a year of MF's on the chance they are sitting on it when they become due for 2012. (In the case of my week, that would be $764, based on 2011 MF's.)

In any event, it didn't seem like much of a "donation" deal to me.

What was probably more distasteful to me was that my agent tried to sell me on all of the income tax deductions I'd be entitled to, offsetting this $1,800 fee. It started to sound like a flim flam sales pitch so I was really turned off by it.
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Old January 23, 2011, 12:09 PM   #12
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Surely never stated in writing...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timeshare Von View Post
....my agent tried to sell me on all of the income tax deductions I'd be entitled to, offsetting this $1,800 fee.
And this is indeed an unfortunate (and blatantly false) misrepresentation by DFAC.

If you are giving the timeshare away for free and have no market appraisal documentation to satify the IRS (if challenged later), and the payment you're making to "donate" is very clearly identified by the recipient as specifically being for "closing costs", then it seems to me that the market value of such a donation is effectively ZERO (absent some legitimate outside appraisal documentation clearly and specifically indicating otherwise).

I'm no tax expert and I don't play one on TV, but I'm nonetheless reasonably certain that the deduction for a ZERO value donation is, well....ZERO!

Last edited by theo; January 23, 2011 at 12:52 PM. Reason: correct typo error
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Old January 23, 2011, 12:14 PM   #13
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Theo:
If the organization is a charitable (legitimate), then the donation of the $1800.00 itself is deductible?
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Old January 23, 2011, 12:20 PM   #14
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$1800 is probably the profit/expense. The selling price would be the donation.
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Old January 23, 2011, 12:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Theo:
If the organization is a charitable (legitimate), then the donation of the $1800.00 itself is deductible?
Any charitable organization recognized by the IRS under 501c3 must provide a letter of substantiation that "no goods or services were provided in exchange for this donation" . . . or provide the donor with the actual value of the services provided as an offset to the donation amount.

I'm not a tax lawyer but do know enough about IRS 501c3 charitable organizations to know this is at best a slippery slope for the donor if they anticipate receiving a full write off the money expended to give away the timeshare.
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Old January 23, 2011, 12:37 PM   #16
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From their website:

Who is Donate For A Cause?
Donate For A Cause is an assumed business name of Project Philanthropy, Inc. a 501(c)(3) District of Columbia not-for-profit organization. Our Tax I.D. or EIN # is 20-4862885.

And for those interested in a detailed review of the organization, including their IRS form 990 tax returns, you can check them out on Guidestar.org.

P.S. For them to have only made $127,464 in donations to charitable organizations out of $272,666 in expenses is not a very good report card (from Statement 2 of their IRS Form 990).
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Old January 23, 2011, 12:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e.bram View Post
Theo:
If the organization is a charitable (legitimate), then the donation of the $1800.00 itself is deductible?
The $1,800 does not go to charity - it goes to Donate for a Cause. They claim it's their cost to resell your timeshare. Donate for a Cause itself, is not a charity.
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Old January 23, 2011, 02:51 PM   #18
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Depending on how the paperwork was written,Giving the TS to the charity is one issue and evaluated at a $0.01, no problem. The $1800.00 is a donation to the charity, since it is cash(show the IRS the check) no problem in evaluation. A quid pro quo(in this case)would be very hard to impute. You did not receive any tangible asset or benefit which is easily possible to evaluate except*.

ps. *Does the IRS monitor TUG?

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Old January 23, 2011, 03:21 PM   #19
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e.bram - That's not how they do it. See the other thread about this company. They give the person who donates an inflated "appraisal" for the donated timeshare, and that's the supposed "write off." The $1,800 is DFC's fee - not a donation to charity.

Here is the thread - http://www.tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=129417

In this thread "DFC Answers" a Rep for DFC, even stated that they had an affiliated appraiser, who gave their clients generous appraisals. Then when Tuggers pointed out that he just admitted in a public forum that they were breaking the law, he deleted all his posts and never returned.

Quote:
Regardless of what the timeshare sells for, the donor gets a nice tax write off. With the $1895 fee they get a licensed appraisal to prove the fair market value of their donation. Those appraisals have historically come back at 80% of the original purchase price from the developer.
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Last edited by DeniseM; January 23, 2011 at 03:47 PM.
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Old January 23, 2011, 07:48 PM   #20
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Donate for a Cause itself, is not a charity.
Actually, yes they are. That is what being a 501c3 means.
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Old January 23, 2011, 08:00 PM   #21
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Yes, but no.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timeshare Von View Post
Any charitable organization recognized by the IRS under 501c3 must provide a letter of substantiation that "no goods or services were provided in exchange for this donation" . . . or provide the donor with the actual value of the services provided as an offset to the donation amount.

I'm not a tax lawyer but do know enough about IRS 501c3 charitable organizations to know this is at best a slippery slope for the donor if they anticipate receiving a full write off the money expended to give away the timeshare.
While DFC is a charity (Timeshare Von is right), the $1,800 "donation" appears to be more of a fee for services provided. Therefore, it would seem that that the entire amount is not a charitable contribution for the donor.

PS. My PhD is in Accounting (but not in tax....).
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Old January 23, 2011, 08:18 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timeshare Von View Post
Actually, yes they are. That is what being a 501c3 means.
Sorry - I didn't say that very well. The $1,800 does not go to charity. DFC claims it's the transfer cost to transfer the TS out of the donor's name, and later into the new owner's name.
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Old January 31, 2011, 03:34 PM   #23
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Help me divest.

What is your Breckinridge property? I have an Orlando property and would love to have a Colorado Property.

I have spoken with Donate for a cause as well. It seems legitimate but who knows any more. I am tempted to fly out there. Do not buy into the charitable donation part of it you can take a loss on your income tax for the purchase vs the sale price as a capital loss. You do not need the 8283 forms etc do not pay the extra fee.

I assume anyone who has used this company no longer communicates in TUG?
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Old January 31, 2011, 03:36 PM   #24
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[Please click on Helpmedivest's blue user name and send them a private message for that questions. - DeniseM Moderator]

Last edited by DeniseM; January 31, 2011 at 04:00 PM.
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Old January 31, 2011, 04:00 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill B View Post
Help me divest.

What is your Breckinridge property? I have an Orlando property and would love to have a Colorado Property.

I have spoken with Donate for a cause as well. It seems legitimate but who knows any more. I am tempted to fly out there. Do not buy into the charitable donation part of it you can take a loss on your income tax for the purchase vs the sale price as a capital loss. You do not need the 8283 forms etc do not pay the extra fee.

I assume anyone who has used this company no longer communicates in TUG?
Bill Boyle
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Bill - You CANNOT take a loss on your income tax - you will giving the wrong info.
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