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Highlights

In 2003, GAO found that many taxpayers' estimates of the value of their vehicles, claimed as tax deductions, were in excess of the charities' subsequent sales of the vehicles. Subsequently, effective January 1, 2005, the rules related to the amount taxpayers can claim as a deduction on their tax returns for vehicles donated to charities changed. Under the new rules, in many cases the amount taxpayers are allowed to claim as a deduction is less than they could have claimed before the changes. Some charities that used vehicle donations as a revenue source said that the changes could lead to fewer donated vehicles and reduced revenues. GAO was asked to determine how charities have been affected by the 2005 changes. GAO discussed the rule changes with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials and the impact of the changes with representatives of several charities. GAO judgmentally selected 10 charities from among the 65 contacted in the course of the 2003 GAO study. The experiences of these charities cannot be generalized to all charities because the selected charities were not drawn from a statistical sample of all charities with vehicle donation programs.

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