Three Requirements for Boat Donation

Boat donation isn’t difficult when you have all the facts.

Do you have a boat you no longer use? A boat you don’t have time to sell? Maybe you bought it for your kids but they have grown up and gone to college. Maybe, you have lost the enthusiasm to be a sailor or fisherman. Don’t let it rot away. You can still donate it and the proceeds will support a great cause. Donating a boat to charity has become popular over the last few years because donating helps you lower your tax liability. If donating a boat sounds like something you’d be interested in doing, you’ll need to know the three requirements.

Requirement #1: Title and Registration Documents

In some states, boats have titles and, in other states, they have registrations only, these need to be given to the charity’s agent at the time of pickup. When the person arrives to pick up the boat, he will take the title or registration from you.  If your boat is in a boat slip make sure to notify the manager that there is a new owner and make sure the new owner takes responsibility for the slip or storage space. Do not transfer your title until the slip or storage fee has been transferred or the boat has been moved. It is best to go to your local DMV and transfer there unless the new owner shows you the boat is being transported out of state.

Confirm the name and address of the new owner with the charity representative because it is important to know who is transporting your vessel. You do not want to end up giving the boat to someone not authorized to move it. If you are unsure how to fill out the transfer, contact the charity to help you process the paperwork. If the boat is registered with the Coast Guard Documentation Center you will need USCG-form 1340 and it will need to be notarized.

Requirement #2: Verification of Boat Ownership

Charities often require verification of ownership. You can verify ownership by furnishing the title, registration card and registration renewal notice. If you do not have your HIN number, you can find that on the insurance card or the manufacture plate on the stern. If you have lost your registration card, you can request a duplicate from your state DMV or Fish and Game Boating office; sometimes, they are only $2.00 to replace and it will speed up the process.

States such as Florida, South Carolina and Ohio require that you have currently transferable ownership documents before you even give your boat away. Speak to the charity for more information on how you can prove ownership. If you have inherited the boat, the court should give you a Probate Order allowing the boat to go into your name.

Requirement #3: Completed Application and Photos

After choosing a charity, you will need to complete an application. This application will ask you for basic information about yourself and your boat. This information will be used to help them identify the value of the boat and complete the tax receipt. Once the charity reviews your application, they will process your donation. Some charities will accept digital photos of your vessel.

Donate a Boat for a Tax Deduction

By donating your boat, you will be helping the charity because when it sells it, the charity will be able to use the money to help people in need. In exchange for your generosity, you will be able to receive a tax deduction. When you donate, you will receive a tax form. Complete this tax form when you receive the receipt for the sale. Be patient when awaiting your tax receipt, as it can take over a week for the charity to process your boat. Include the tax form and receipt with your tax paperwork. If you have questions about how to file your taxes with a charitable-deduction attachment, speak to a tax expert.

Now that you know what you need in order to donate a boat, gather your title, registration and complete your chosen charity’s application. Once your application has been reviewed, send it in and wait for the charity to contact you with pick-up information. Then, all you have to do is wait for them to pick up your boat and provide the tax information. While you are waiting, make sure to clear out your personal items. The process of donating a boat is easy so chose a charity that you’ll support with your boat donation today.

About the Author: Patty Wilson works for a nonprofit charity that often receives donated boats to support its causes.

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