Organizations like Boats With Causes will take that 'just won't sell' vessel off your hands and give you a feel-good tax deduction in return
BY ANNABELLE FRANKL
The happiest days of owning a boat, so the saying goes: the day you buy it and the day you sell it. But what if closing a sale is proving hard to do? Moorage, docking, and insurance fees stack up whether your boat's cruising in open water or just a floating, and rotting piece of hardware. Worse yet, you're faced with an "it's me or the boat" ultimatum, your yardparked vessel having long-overstayed its welcome!
Thankfully, help is at hand, not only for you but for the people your boat donation is about to assist. With Causes is an 11-year-old charitable network that will accept donations of anything from boats, to classic cars and comic collections, computers, land, houses and even domain names, and where 100 percent of your donation goes to help those in need.
Whatever a boat's established fair market value is at the time of its donation is the amount of tax refund a donor can expect to receive. And, what sets this organization apart from others out there, is a firm commitment not to sell a vessel for 36-months after acquisition, ensuring donors do not get stung for any tax on the sale after the fact, while adhering to strict material improvement and intervening use guidelines as laid down by the IRS. Given rather loose, Blue Book estimates for many years, more stringent IRS regulations implemented in 2009 require impartial appraisals of all vessels valued at over $5,000. Unfortunately this, plus the economic slide, has resulted in a near 50% reduction in donations but still, money raised through boat donations comprises nearly 40% of the company's proceeds, not least since the value of each vessel is far more than, say, the average donated car.
Though on occasion boats are used to temporarily house displaced or homeless families, generally they are sold – or used for charter – and these funds, or goods bought with them, are what chosen charities re- ceive. With Causes is proud to have an all-volunteer staff handling every aspect of the business: the donations, picking-up the boats, refurbishing and restoring them and, eventually selling them on, as well as office, accounting, legal, and more. This ‘low-overhead, put it all back into the company’ edict, “running a non-profit like you would a for-profit company”, says CEO Vincent Everett, means a healthy 87-90% of revenues go straight to the people who really need the help. And a commitment to a smooth and rewarding donation process-aka good customer service–ensures that donors keep on giving, and everybody wins.