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Why it’s better to donate a boat now than in December

by D. Scott Croft on 17 Jun 2017
Most boats that get donated to charity are sold at auction. The BoatUS Foundation program uses a partner broker to help maximize the boat’s donation value. D. Scott Croft
Is it better to donate a boat to charity now, rather than waiting until year’s end?

“Donating a boat now during the summer high season can help boaters realize more value for their donations,” says Chris Edmonston, President of the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, a boating-related 501(c)(3) nonprofit headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland.

Why? Because of a 2005 change in tax law, in which the IRS bases the value of the charitable deduction on the actual selling price of the donated vessel. “More boats are sold now than at any time of the year, and we believe you deserve the best chance for maximum donation value,” said Edmonston.

It also takes time to sell a vessel so donating a boat in December greatly decreases your chances of a successful tax break for 2017.

Most charities simply sell the boats donated at an auction, however, the BoatUS Foundation Boat Donation Program is different in that it uses a partner broker to advertise the boat to help realize its highest value. The Foundation also ensures that the donation process runs smoothly, from picking up the boat to handling the paperwork. A charitable boat donation to the Foundation also goes to programs that benefit recreational boaters such as free online boating safety courses.

If you have a well-loved or gently used trailered boat in good working condition and are considering donating, visit the 501(c)(3) BoatUS Foundation at In addition to information on how to donate a boat to the Foundation, you’ll find links to the free and helpful IRS brochure “A Donor’s Guide to Vehicle Donation,” IRS Publication 526 “Charitable Donations” and IRS rules for determining maximum deductions for charitable contributions.

The BoatUS Foundation always recommends that boaters consult a tax professional regarding boat donations.
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