Before you read the following, think about what your life would be like if you didn’t have a car to get to work…or to go to the doctor…or to church…or grocery shopping…or to school or day care…or to visit friends and relatives….? Where would you go to find dependable transportation, especially if you had very little money? Fortunately, though, you do have a car – probably more than one – so you’ve never thought about this problem. But there are many in this community who do not have reliable and dependable transportation. From their need, AIM Services was born.
AIM Services, Inc. is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization created under the provisions of Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c) (3), and it exists for the sole purpose of providing safe and reliable transportation to those in need. AIM Services began as a prayer group from St. Mary Mother of God Catholic Church to address the vision of its founding member (who – sadly – died during the implementation of this ministry) to bring the dignity of work to all those seeking such an opportunity. Recognizing that Fort Wayne has no effective mass transportation system suited to the needs of the working families and individuals who work longer or irregular hours or who need to transport their children to and from school or day care, AIM Services was formed to assist individuals and families with their transportation needs.
In order to implement this ministry, AIM Services solicits the donation of functioning automobiles (not “junk cars”) and makes minor repairs (if needed) in an effort to bring such vehicles up to its standards of safety and reliability. AIM seeks to work first with established social services agencies in an effort to identify those persons having the greatest need and the least money. Understanding that having a car is but one facet of helping a person move back into productive society, AIM seeks to direct its efforts toward a certain segment of society: the homeless; those who are struggling to avoid continued dependence on welfare; persons seeking to recover from alcoholism or drug abuse problems; those who are victims of a divorce caused by abuse; individuals released from prison; and those having a partial disability, handicap or mental impairment. Currently, AIM is partnering with Vincent Village, A Mother’s Hope and the YWCA Women’s Shelter with a goal of providing transportation to their residents coming out of homelessness. However, depending upon vehicle availability, AIM will seek to assist anyone who is in dire need of transportation, has limited means and is unable to afford a car from any other source.
AIM directly finances the sale of a car to an individual or family at the fair market value price of the car in a “private party” sale as determined by online car pricing services (“Kelly Blue Book”, “Edmunds”, etc.). An application must be completed reflecting the applicant’s eligibility. There is no interest charged on the installment sale, and AIM pays for all licensing and registration fees, but the purchaser is responsible for insuring the car up to the minimal requirements mandated by Indiana law. Monthly installment payments are based on the purchaser’s ability to pay. AIM currently has a waiting list of eligible persons and thus is itself in dire need of donated cars that can be “recycled” in the manner described.
For further information, contact Ken Yahne at (260) 438-9216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why should I donate my car to AIM Services and not to some other charity?
We urge you to donate your car to any charity of your choice, not just AIM Services, rather than simply trading in your car for the minimal value you will receive from a dealer (or avoiding the hassle of selling it yourself). Check Edmunds.com to see just how little your car’s trade-in value is (and dealers routinely give you less than the stated trade-in value!). Helping a charity’s work, though, provides personal rewards that cannot be measured in dollars and cents.
Is there a difference between AIM Services and other charities?
Yes. Other charities may sell the donated cars at auction and receive only a fraction of the value of the car. AIM Services will make minor repairs to the car, if needed, in an effort to bring the car up to AIM’s standards of safety and reliability and then sell it at a fair market price, without interest, to a person of limited means in dire need of basic transportation.
Don’t I get the same tax deduction regardless of which charity I choose to donate my car?
No. The Internal Revenue Service is now closely monitoring the donation of cars to charities. If a charity sells a donated vehicle at auction, it must advise the donor of the net amount that the charity actually received from the sale and the donor may deduct as a charitable deduction only the net amount that the charity receives. In order to take a tax deduction for the donation of a car to charity, IRS regulations require that the charity provide to the donor a Form 1098-C documenting the actual sale price of the car and the circumstances of the sale.
How is AIM Services different?
The IRS makes an exception for charities that sell a donated vehicle “to a needy individual” at a price that is at or slightly below the fair market value of the vehicle, so long as the sale is made for the purpose of furthering the organization’s charitable purpose. AIM Services’ sole charitable purpose is to provide basic transportation to “needy” individuals, in the manner contemplated by the IRS regulations. Accordingly, the donor of a vehicle to AIM Services can deduct the full fair market value of the donated vehicle at the time of the contribution (assuming, as with other charitable deductions, the donor itemizes deductions on the federal tax form). AIM provides to each donor a Form 1098-C documenting the actual price of the donated car, and a copy of that form is also sent to the IRS to facilitate the tax deduction. The sale price of the donated car is based upon the overall condition of the car, its options and mileage. One of the available online valuation services is used by AIM Services for calculating the sale price.
Ken Yahne at (260) 438-9216 or email@example.com