How to Donate Your Vehicle to Charity

Estimated read time 3 min read

If you have an old car you are thinking about donating, there are a few things you will want to research before you start signing papers. With every car donation there are plenty of forms to fill out, and you want to be sure that your donation is going to a great cause.

Here is how to donate your vehicle to charity.

Make sure that the charity you choose accepts cars directly.

If you are capable of driving the car directly to the donation location, then you should definitely do that yourself. There are several 3rd party companies that work for profit, which will take the car for you. However, these intermediary agencies are being prosecuted left and right for presenting themselves as charitable businesses, when they are not, and they often take large percentages of the proceeds.

Make sure that the charity you choose is a non-profit with 501(c)(3) status, like Wheels for Wishes.

If the charity you choose doesn’t have 501(c)(3) status, then you won’t be able to make a tax deductible donation. Of course, if you don’t want to deduct the donation from your income tax, then this is not a problem. However, if you do, then you’re going to need to make sure your chosen donation has public charity status.

Make sure you receive an accurate appraisal of the car.

These days, the IRS is really cracking down on the amount that people can claim for their car donations, as these types of large, tax-deductible donations have increased in popularity. This means that more people are being audited after claiming these types of donations. The amount you are allowed to claim is the exact amount that the car was sold for at auction. You will need to obtain a receipt from the charity organization once the car is sold so that you know the exact amount you can claim on your taxes.

Make sure to transfer ownership correctly.

If a charity asks you to leave the assignment of ownership space blank on your donation papers, then you’re definitely going to want to go with a different charity. They may say that this is because they are not yet sure who will buy the car, but the ownership should be passed directly to the charity, who will then transfer ownership to the new owner. If not, it’s very likely that the paperwork won’t be completed by the new owner, and you will be held responsible for any parking tickets or impounding fees that could be incurred in the future.

Make sure to obtain and file all appropriate documentation.

Once the car has gone to auction and sold, you are going to want to obtain a receipt from the sale and file that documentation with all other appropriate documentation that was filled out throughout the process of the donation. It’s important that you keep these records safe in the event of an audit. Audits are often triggered by non-cash donations, and you want to be sure you are covered from all angles.


The writer of this article currently manages his own blog moment for life and spread happiness and is managing to do well by mixing online marketing and traditional marketing practices into one.

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