How to Donate a Car to Charity

By Angela Tague in Helping Hands

If you have a vehicle that's no longer being used, consider donating it. Old car in my garage, I'm eyeing you! Much like your unwanted kitchen gadgets or winter clothes, that car could be put to good use by someone else. So dig out those keys. Let's learn how to donate a car!

Who Benefits from Car Donations?

A refurbished car or the money from selling its parts, funds everything from veterans' programs and child wellness initiatives to community nonprofit agencies and natural disaster fundraisers. It all depends on where you choose to donate.

Note that some organizations partner with a third-party car recycling service. Look at the fine print to determine what percentage of the car's value goes to charity and how much goes to the service provider. Sure, they deserve payment for doing their part, but the bulk should go to the cause you support.

It can help to do an online search for "donate my car" followed by the type of population you'd like to assist. In addition to de-cluttering your parking area, warm fuzzy feelings will bubble up when you get a thank you from the charity recipient for the hundreds of dollars you've just sent their way. You don't experience that when you drop off an old car at a junkyard!

old car on a flatbed trailer

How Does a Car Donation Work?

Some organizations accept drop-offs if the car is drivable or able to be towed. Others will come to your property or storage facility and pick up the car for you. Just ask!

When it comes to paperwork, there are a few things to know. Both you and the charity recipient have to let the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) know about the transaction. You'll want to download and complete a Form 1098-C and any paperwork requested by the group accepting your car.

During the transaction, be sure the charity supplies copies of all the paperwork and a receipt for the vehicle based on the fair market value determined by Kelley Blue Book, the Hearst Black Book, or the National Automobile Dealers Association. When tax time rolls around, you can claim a deduction under the right conditions, writes the Edmunds car advisory site.

If you do your own tax preparation, explains TurboTax, you'll need to list the car as an itemized deduction and fill out additional forms. If you work with a tax preparer, simply share your paperwork with them and they will fill out the appropriate forms based on current laws and regulations.

Are you thinking, "Gee, I might like to donate my car to charity?" Start your engines (or maybe your local tow trucks' engines)! Research organizations that you'd like to support, confirm with the IRS they are a valid nonprofit with a 501(c)(3) designation, and then make the call and ask how to donate a car. Share your donation story with us on Twitter. Use the #GoodMatters hashtag!

Image source: Pexels | Pexels

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Why It’s Good

You already know the joy and peace you feel when you drop off a box of old toys, books, and clothes to the local resale store. Imagine making a greater impact on your community and an organization you admire, by donating a high-value item like that old car that's taking up space. Declutter and donate this year!