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Real Property


    Proceeds from the sale of a donated vehicle (car/boat/RV) or real property (art/jewelry/equipment/collectables/real estate) can be used to fuel Messiah ministries. Plus, your donations may be summed and claimed with other deductions on your federal tax return, if you itemize. Messiah, through the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

    How you proceed depends on your goal. If you're focused on getting rid of an item with minimal effort and you'd look at the tax deduction as a nice bonus, then donating your property makes good sense. You can also sell it yourself and donate the proceeds. By doing so, you might be able to generate more cash than if you let Messiah sell it.

    For property items given to the church, the process of donation involves transfer of goods/title, sale of the item, and receipt generation.

    All the transaction partners used by Messiah are licensed, insured, and bonded. For registered property, by signing the title directly to our transaction partner, you are legally transferring ownership. In the case of a vehicle, when your title is received and your vehicle is picked up, you are no longer responsible for the vehicle.

    Once your donated item is sold, the selling price determines the amount of your donation. If your donated item sells for more than $500, you may deduct the full selling price. If it sells for $500 or less, you can deduct the "fair market value," up to $500.

    If you connect with Messiah first, we can help in the pickup, sale, and transfer process. Within 30 days of the sale, Messiah will send you a written acknowledgement/receipt. This receipt will include:

    • The gross selling price of the donation, if it sold for greater than $500
    • Description of the donation (for a vehicle: the year, make, model and vehicle identification number information)
    • A statement that the donation was sold at arms-length between two unrelated parties
    • A statement that no goods or services were received in return for your contribution

    Contact the church's Executive Director to begin a discussion of your ministry interests and items available. The church welcomes innovation and creativity in putting the proceeds of your property into ministry. We generally do put donations into direct service or hold items for investment. We also reserve the right to not accept gifts and donations which we feel have hidden liability, high risk, or involve a long liquidation process.

    You can learn more about applicability of deductions by reviewing the IRS documents below or by consulting with your tax adviser.

    The following websites can help you calculate the fair market value of a vehicle.