DC Area: Today, Get a Little More for Donating Your Clunker

If you are in or close to Washington, DC, today might be the perfect day to donate your clunker and get a little bit more for that.  In general, donating your car can be a good deal, as it should ideally lower your gas and maintenance cost and offer a hefty tax deduction through itemizing.  But today, Zipcar is offering a little more to boost the incentive.  From 6 to 8:30pm tonight, Zipcar will be hosting an event in DC to collect car donations for WAMU 88.5 – the American University Radio that airs NPR every weekday morning, – and will be giving a free membership for one year and $75 in driving credit in exchange.  Also, if you refer a friend to donate a car, you get $50 in driving credit as well. 

The event will be held at WestEnd 25 (1255 25th St, NW) tonight, April 8, 2010, and the email address to get more information or RSVP is rsvpdc (at) zipcar (dot) com.  If you do not live in the DC area or can’t donate your car today, it might still be worth asking about other events or visiting Charitable Auto Resources, who will be coordinating the donation processing in this event and works to help charities nation-wide receive cars.

Cash for a Clunker, Deduction for a Brand New Car

If you need a new car, now is the best time to get one.  Here are the two reasons why:

1) Under the Consumer Assistance Recycle and Save Act of 2009  (commonly known as the Cash for Clunkers Act), you can trade in a less-fuel-efficient vehicle (less than 22 mpg for a passenger car, for example) for a $3,500-4,500 voucher to go towards the purchase of a more-fuel-efficient vehicle.  This program is in effect from July 1, 2009 to November 1, 2009, and as far as we know, there are no restrictions on the brands of cars you can purchase as long as the new car is more fuel efficient than the old one.  Click here for more information.

2) The IRS is allowing consumers to deduct from their 2009 federal taxes the state and local sales taxes paid on the purchase of a new vehicle.  Remember, a deduction lowers the amount of income on which you will be taxed.  Purchases, however, must be made between after February 16, 2009, and January 1, 2010 and are limited to new vehicles (not used).  The deduction also phases out at higher incomes.  Click here for more information.

If you have a less fuel efficient car and are looking to buy a new car, you have until November 1st of this year to take advantage of both incentives.  And if you don’t, the tax break alone may still make purchasing a new car this year a great deal.