Heavy Stupid Tax

Dana allowed a family member to borrow a car a year ago, and she recently discovered it was towed, impounded, and has now been sold. Should Dana continue to try to find the car to sell it herself, or can she write it off on taxes?

QUESTION: Dana in Dallas allowed a family member to borrow a car a year ago, and she recently discovered it was towed, impounded, and has now been sold. Should Dana continue to try to find the car to sell it herself, or can she write it off on taxes? Dave tells Dana she just paid stupid tax.

ANSWER: I think you lost your car because your relative’s an idiot. I’m afraid this is about $2,000 worth of stupid tax. I’ve paid tuition to that school a lot in my life—the live-and-learn class—and I call that “stupid tax” when I lose money doing something stupid.

How sad. When you try to help someone and loan them a car, what do they do? They just forget that they had it. That’s just ridiculous. No wonder they’re struggling. I’m sorry you’ve gone through this. I don’t think you’re going to get your car back. I think the lot probably sold it legally. You could ask an attorney in Oklahoma. Most tow¬-in lots have a right to do that, and they just collect the fees out of that money and it’s gone.

It isn’t rocket science to find the title on the car with the VIN and notify the owner. I don’t know what their legal liability on that is. They’d better be digging up that certified receipt if they’re required by law to notify you. Otherwise, I’m going to collect my money out of that tow-in lot, I guess. It’s worth digging into to find out what the law says, but let’s pretend for a moment that they don’t have to notify you. You just lost your money because your relative’s an idiot.

 

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