How to Donate Your Car to Charity and Get Tax Deductions.

Nov 09, 2023 By Susan Kelly



Donating your car to charity is a generous act that can benefit both the recipient organization and yourself. Not only does it provide a valuable asset to a worthy cause, but it can also result in tax deductions for the donor. However, the process of donating a car and claiming tax deductions can be complex. In this article, we will guide you through the steps of donating your car to charity and obtaining tax benefits.

Understanding Car Donation and Its Benefits

What is Car Donation?

Car donation refers to the process of transferring ownership of a vehicle to a charitable organization. This can be done by individuals who no longer need or want their cars and wish to support a cause they care about.

Benefits of Car Donation

Support a Worthy Cause: Donating your car allows you to contribute to the mission and programs of a charitable organization.

Tax Deductions: Donors may be eligible for tax deductions based on the value of the donated car.

Convenience: Donating a car is often easier and more convenient than selling it, especially if it's an older or damaged vehicle.

Steps to Donate Your Car to Charity

Research Charitable Organizations

Before donating your car, it's important to research and choose a reputable charitable organization that aligns with your values and interests. Consider factors such as the organization's mission, programs, and track record of using donated vehicles effectively.

Contact the Charity and Arrange for Donation

Once you have selected a charity, contact them directly to inquire about their car donation program. Provide details about your vehicle, including its make, model, year, and condition. The charity will then guide you through the donation process, which may include completing a donation form and transferring ownership of the car.

Complete the Necessary Documentation

To ensure a smooth donation process, it's essential to complete all necessary documentation. This may include a donation form, title transfer documents, and a receipt acknowledging the donation. Keep copies of these documents for your records.

Claiming Tax Deductions for Car Donations

Determine the Value of Your Donation

To claim a tax deduction for your car donation, you need to determine its value. This can be done by obtaining a written appraisal from a qualified appraiser or by using a reasonable market value estimate. Keep in mind that the value of your donation may be limited to the amount the charity receives when selling the car.

Itemize Your Deductions on Your Tax Return

To claim a tax deduction for your car donation, you must itemize your deductions on your tax return. This means you'll need to forgo the standard deduction and instead list your qualified expenses, including your car donation, on Schedule A of your tax return.

Follow IRS Guidelines for Documentation

The IRS requires donors to provide documentation to support their tax deductions. For car donations, this typically includes a receipt from the charity acknowledging the donation and any appraisal documents if the donation value exceeds a certain threshold.


Donating your car to charity is a rewarding way to support a worthy cause and potentially obtain tax benefits. However, it's important to follow the proper steps and guidelines to ensure a smooth donation process and comply with IRS requirements for tax deductions. By researching charitable organizations, completing the necessary documentation, and following IRS guidelines, you can confidently donate your car and enjoy the benefits of your generous act.


Can I donate my car if it's not running?

Yes, you can still donate your car even if it's not running. Many charities accept vehicles in various conditions and will either repair them or sell them for parts.

How much of a tax deduction can I expect for my car donation?

The amount of your tax deduction for a car donation depends on the value of the vehicle and how the charity uses it. Generally, you can deduct the fair market value of the car if the charity uses it for its intended purpose or sells it at a significantly discounted price to a needy individual. If the charity sells the car at fair market value, your deduction is limited to the amount the charity receives from the sale.

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