Things to Know For Donating Your Car

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Internal Revenue Service (IRS) over the years has changed the laws to exercise more scrutiny for making chartable contributions especially involving cars.  So that one can no longer claim a sizable tax deduction by donating a clunker, the IRS has developed guidelines for donors to follow and abide by. In additions to car people can donate RVs, boats, trailers, motorcycle, jet ski, bus motor homes, campers and personal watercraft and snowmobiles.

Here below are listed several things that a donor should be aware of: 

1.   Donate to an IRS registered nonprofit organization:

Make sure the recipient qualifies as a 501 registered charity.  You can search the status of the charity by calling IRS Tax Exempt/Government Entities Customer Service at: 1-877 – 829 -5500 and ask for if the charity is qualifies.

2.      Estimate the value of your vehicle that you want to donate:

a. For low value vehicle donation you can claim the fair market value up to $500 with and additional paper work besides the receipt from the charity.

b. If you donate a car that is worth more than $500, your deduction will be limited to the actual sale price of your car donation.  To have an estimate how much your car is worth, you can check it at the IRS and Kelley Blue Book websites.

3.  Locate a car donation charity.  Ask if it provides pickup service in your area:  

Many charities offer free nationwide pickup of your vehicle donation but make sure that they do not have  any hidden “fees.”  Also that they do actually spend the  most of the proceeds on a worthy cause.

4. Have the title for your car donation: 

You will need to provide a title for your vehicle if you  wish to donate your car to charity.  Obtain a  duplicate from the Motor Vehicle Department in case you have lost it.

5.  Some charities may not accept your car:

They may accept only certain types of motor vehicles and the ones that can easily be sold for a reasonable price after meeting their expenses. 

6.  You would need IRS Form 8283 for non-cash charitable contributions: 

You can download this form and instructions from IRS website listed below to file with your tax return. 

7.   States require charities that solicit contributions to register:  

They must also file certain documents with a state charity such as the state attorney general or the secretary of state. Most charities must file in their state of incorporation and in other states where they have activities. Many of the state charity officials provide useful information about charitiesand fundraisers on Websites and in brochures and publications. A listing of state charity office available through the National Association of Stat Charity Officials at A listing of state charity offices is available through the Nationa Association of State Charity Officials at

Contact your state charity official if you have a concern or complaint that a charity or fundraiser is not complying with state laws.  

8.      Help is available from the IRS:  

To read the current law on charitable donations, to obtain the required forms to file, and step by step guidelines for auto donations, please visit the IRSwebsite at:

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