Donating Your Car to Charity: A Guide

By | March 24, 2023

Donating your car to charity is a great way to support a cause you care about and get rid of a vehicle you no longer need. However, the process of donating a car can be a bit more complicated than donating other types of items, and it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that your donation is used effectively and that you receive the tax benefits you’re entitled to.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about donating your car to charity.

Choosing a Charity to Donate Your Car To

The first step in donating your car to charity is to choose a charity to donate to. There are many different charities that accept car donations, including national organizations and local charities. When choosing a charity, consider factors such as:

  • The cause the charity supports
  • The charity’s reputation and track record
  • Whether the charity is a registered 501(c)(3) organization
  • Whether the charity accepts car donations directly or through a third-party vendor
  • Whether the charity provides towing services for donated cars

It’s important to do your research before choosing a charity to donate to. Look up the charity’s financial statements, read reviews from other donors, and check the charity’s rating with organizations like Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau.

Preparing Your Car for Donation

Once you’ve chosen a charity to donate to, it’s time to prepare your car for donation. This involves several steps:

  • Remove any personal items from the car
  • Clean the car, both inside and out
  • Gather all necessary paperwork, including the car’s title, registration, and insurance information
  • Determine the car’s fair market value

It’s important to be honest with the charity about the condition of the car. If the car is not in working order, the charity will need to make arrangements to have it towed. If you’re missing any paperwork, such as the car’s title, you’ll need to obtain a duplicate from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Donating Your Car

Once you’ve prepared your car for donation, it’s time to actually donate the car. Most charities will arrange to have the car picked up from your home or office, free of charge. Some charities also have drop-off locations where you can leave the car.

Make sure to obtain a receipt from the charity for your donation, which will be important documentation for claiming your tax deduction. The charity will also need to provide you with a Form 1098-C, which shows the value of your car donation.

Claiming Your Tax Deduction

To claim a tax deduction for your car donation, you’ll need to itemize your deductions on your tax return. You’ll also need to include Form 1098-C with your tax return.

The amount of your tax deduction will depend on the fair market value of the car at the time of the donation. If the car is worth more than $500, you’ll also need to include IRS Form 8283. If the car is worth more than $5,000, you’ll need to obtain an appraisal from a qualified appraiser.

It’s important to keep accurate records of your car donation and the related tax documentation. This will help you avoid any issues with the IRS and ensure that you receive the full tax benefits you’re entitled to.


Donating your car to charity is a great way to support a cause you care about and get rid of a vehicle you no longer need. However, it’s important to choose a reputable charity, prepare your car properly, and follow the proper procedures for claiming your tax deduction

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