Tax Laws

If you donate a car or other vehicle to a qualified charitable organization and intend to claim a deduction, you should review the rules that apply to vehicle donations. You can deduct contributions to a non-profit only if you itemize deductions on Schedule A of Tax Form 1040.

If the vehicle is sold by the charitable organization, the deduction claimed by the donor usually may not exceed the gross proceeds from the sale.

If you are claiming at least $250 but not more than $500 as the value of your vehicle, you must obtain written acknowledgement of the donation from the non-profit. The acknowledgement must include the date of the contribution and a description of your vehicle and the statement that no goods or services were provided by the non-profit in return for the donation.

If your deduction is more than $500, this written acknowledgment or Tax Form 1098-C, Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes, must be attached to your return. The acknowledgment must include your name and taxpayer identification number, the date of the contribution, the vehicle identification number, gross proceeds of the sale, and a statement certifying the vehicle was sold in an arm's length transaction between unrelated parties.

In addition, for deductions greater than $500 but not more than $5000, you must complete Section A of Tax Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, and attach it to your Tax Form 1040.

If the deduction you are claiming is greater than $5000, you must complete the Section B of Tax Form 8283, which must include the signature of an authorized official of the non-profit and attach it to your return. In addition, if the deduction is of $5000 but not limited to the gross proceeds from the sale of your vehicle, you must get a written appraisal of your vehicle. The written appraisal must be from a qualified appraiser. The appraisal must be made no more than 60 days before you donate the vehicle.