Donate Your Car to Get a Tax Write-Off

The donate car tax write-off has changed a little over the past few years. Now, there are limitations on the deduction that you can take. Instead of claiming the entire value of the car at that time, your deduction will vary depending on how much it is sold for by the charity. For those donating the first time, there are a few things to take into consideration to help the process go smoothly.

Choosing a Charity or Organization

To keep the donation as easy and efficient as possible, contact the charity that you are considering directly. Searching on-line can help you to find an eligible charity to contact. Ensure that the charities that you are considering are IRS approved 501 (c) (3) organizations. They should be able to provide you with the proper paperwork to prove these qualifications.

Delivering the Car

Delivering the car on your own, if at all possible, is the best option. You can save yourself any fees that are charged for pick up as well as make sure that the car is getting to the right place.

Transferring the Property

This step is overlooked by many and can cause problems for you and the charity in the future. Pay all parking tickets or other fines that may be related to the car. Remove the license plates if registered to your name and always transfer the title of the car to the new owners or charity. The motor vehicle state department needs to be notified of the transfer immediately after it has been made. Leaving this paperwork blank or with your own information can hold you responsible if anything were to happen in the future.

Determining Amount of Deduction

The minimum deduction for a car donation is $500. With most charities, they will take your donated car and either sell it or keep it for use. When selling, if more than $500, there will documentation of the sale to provide you for your taxes. If the amount is over $5,000 however, outside appraisers will be asked to verify. You will be provided with documentation that can be attached to your tax forms. This should help avoid any problems or audits. If the car is being kept though for use, they will take the Kelley Blue Book fair market value. If you have a car that is sold for $250, you will still be able to claim the $500 deduction.

Getting Documentation

Keep documentation of every step. The charity will be able to provide you with a receipt upon donation. Title transfers, tickets paid and license plate registration forms should all be kept together. Any paperwork from sales, Kelley Blue Book determinations or appraisals will also need to be kept. All of these will be necessary to fill out your tax forms come filing season.

Filing Your Taxes

Gather all of the paperwork and receipts you received during the process to file your taxes. Use Form 8283 and fill out Section A if your total amount for non-cash charitable donations is less than $5,000. This amount will include the car you donated as well as any other donations. If the amount is over $5,000 fill out Section B.

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