Donating Your Timeshare
Trying to sell the timeshare unit you are not using and you don't want the hassle? If you don't want to walk away from the timeshare and lose its entire value, you have several options. Reselling the timeshare unit may expose you to resale scams who compete with legitimate firms for your attention and business, and an internet "for sale by owner" sale entails some costs and a commitment of your time to offer the property. The above methods are likely to yield - with only rare exceptions - only a small fraction of your original purchase price. Another possibility is donating your timeshare to charity. You receive a tax deduction and benefit from the good feeling of your timeshare going to a good cause. This works only if you can find a charity willing to take the timeshare off your hands. The process is also complicated.
To simplify your donation, Timeshare Travel & Associates, Inc (TTA) a pioneer in the industry, has provided a way help timeshare owners make their donations. TTA, a resale marketing firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, since 1984. Has accepted timeshares for donation to charity for more than a decade. Many timeshare units don't sell for a lot of money, and transferring ownership of a deeded timeshare takes almost as much work as transferring ownership of a house. In addition, the annual maintenance fee has to be paid, and usage is time-sensitive, a problem that doesn't exist with regular real estate.
Unless the charity wants to use the timeshare for recreational purposes, it must sell the donated property to raise funds. TTA accepts a timeshare donation in the owner's name, donates the unit to a charity, then buys it back from the charity and sells it. TTA imposes no service charge to handle a donation and must stay in compliance with Federal tax laws.
"Timeshare donations are a win-win situation for the owners, many of whom can get a tax write-off worth up to 30 percent of the fair market value of their donated timeshare. The charity wins because we buy back the unit, and we try to resell it. The risk is with us, because we may have to sit on the property and pay the annual maintenance fee for a few years."
"We ask sellers to pay the closing cost for the donation," says TTA. "Each donation is handled like all regular timeshare resales with a recorded paper trail. We donate the unit to charity, and then buy it back. We have also helped several charities raffle off timeshare units."
Charities to which TTA donates include:
- Children's Miracle Network, Provo, Utah office
- Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, Portland Oregon office
- YMCA, Hawaii Office
- SPCA animal shelter - Connecticut office
- Also includes about a dozen smaller religious charities and homeless shelters around the U.S.
The IRS rule on non-cash items is fair market value on items worth up to $5,000, without the need for an appraisal. Over $5,000 requires a certifiedappraisal dated within 60 days of the donation. In some instances, comparable listings found on a legitimate website will be acceptable in lieu of a appraisal. The taxpayer making the donation receives a Form 8283 in the year of the donation. Rather than taking the time for a appraisal, most everyone we work with stays under the $5,000 threshold.
Tax rules limit the total donations that a taxpayer can make in a single year, so if a family has several units to donate, TTA advises them to donate on unit a year for several years.
Who should consider timeshare philanthropy? "Anyone in a higher tax bracket where the tax incentives are good. Not someone on Social Security or unemployed," says TTA. TTA also will combine the donation of a timeshare with a trade-in-for a larger unit in the same destination area or in a different area.