The Right Charity Equals To A Perfect Car Donation

We have all heard how donating a car can give us such great benefits. Most donors are attracted to bequest their cars to charity due to tax breaks. The sad thing is that in their rush to get tax deductions, most people fail to actually think about the essence of the donation and finding the right charity. A lot of articles out there are focused on the IRS side of philanthropy, so this article is dedicated to helping you find the best charity.

Experience and Professionalism

First of all let us tackle the ever attractive topic of tax write offs. Do you know that the charity institution of your choice can actually prevent you from claiming those tax deductions? So before you rush to the nearest charity, read this.

There is a difference between a car donation service and the charity organization itself. Recognize the difference for a better judgment. A car donation service is a mediator. It may be for profit or a nonprofit service. If you want more proceeds to go to the charity of your choice use a non-profit car donation service or better yet go directly to the charity.

An excellent car donation service or charity will make donating easy as pie. They will take care of all the documents necessary to push the transaction through, as well as provide you with the IRS requirements in a timely manner.

Service and Compliance

Law abiding charities mean “legal” charities. In the world of high stakes fraud, there are a lot of highly skilled con artists who will hood wink you and make you think you are giving your car to charity. Complying charities and car donation services provide all the required IRS forms together with their forms when you make the contribution.

Some charities may even come knocking on your door asking for your unused car. If this is the case, expect them to provide a driver or tow truck (in case the car doesn’t run) when you make the donation. In short good charities and car donation services make your life easy.

Avoiding The Falls

If time is of the essence, a car donation service is the easiest way to donate your car, but be proactive. Ask how much your car was sold for, choose the charity it goes to and ask for all the receipts and documents proving the validity of the sale and donation.

A legal charity is important. Why? because there are those who use the car for crime, and in fact some used car dealers even pose as car donation services to get cars for free! Some charities may use the car for other purposes. It is your responsibility as the donor to ensure that a large amount of the proceeds from your car actually goes to charitable work.

Make sure to transfer your title to the institution or you may find your mail box full of parking tickets.

Environment, Pocket and Heart

If your car is the oldest of all cars, look for a charity that disassembles the cars donated and sells them as metal scrap. Not only are old cars gas guzzlers, but they are also harmful to the environment. In making a car donation of you oldies not only did you help people in need, save the environment but you also gave yourself a break from too much gas spending.

Make A Car Donation To your Local Church

As long as your local church organization is an IRS recognized non-profit organization, there is no problem making a car donation and getting a tax benefit at the same time. Chances are you have probably heard that your local church needs to raise fund for a free meals drive, or that your local priest, pastor, or deacon needs a car to preach and invite more people to attend church. If so, why not make a car donation?

Carrying More Weight

It is more tangible to make a donation to an institution that you are a part of or at least close to than favoring an unknown. For one thing, you will definitely know if your contribution made a difference, or whether it was put to good use. Since the charity is more special to you, an honest evaluation of the car you are offering is a necessity. The attribute of your philanthropic offering is equal only the quality of the vehicle in question. A car that’s worth nothing will not be of use to your favorite charity.


The benefit of knowing the charity closely is that paper work will be a breeze. Car donation can sometimes be taxing if you are dealing with a difficult institution. Your tax write off is dependent on the amount of speed at which a charity can process paper works because the IRS only gives 30 days from the date of donation for the tax write off to be considered. Being a member of the organization could give you a higher fair market value, because you can arrange the contribution through the church and so you will not have to pay gift taxes. More current market price means more tax deduction and more donation amount.

Furthermore the charity will have to provide all the IRS required forms like the 1040, and 5383 that is needed to process the tax deduction. If you know the charity then they will even help you in filling out all these forms and any questions you might have may easily be answered.

Donate For The Purpose Of Doing So

Yes, tax deduction is one of the most lucrative parts of car donations, but it is nothing compared to the reward of knowing that you made a difference. It is will be embarrassing if you donate a junk car to a church charity in which you are known. This makes the donor more conscious of the effort of letting go of something important. People have difficulty letting go of cars, recognizing the charity where you car will go will ease your doubts.

It’s Who You Trust

There are a lot of fraudsters out there. There are also car donation services that get more than the charity that really needs the money. When you give your vehicle to your community church the car value is maximized. When you go through middlemen to make a car donation, much of the amount taken from the sale of the car goes into the expense of the service company and its profit. Only a pittance goes to the actual institution.

It is very difficult to find a charity whose goals are the same as yours, much less one you could trust. By donating to the local church you are assured that the church charity will employ your car donation into something that will be of satisfaction to you as a donor.

Wheels For Meals: How A Car Donation Can Help Feed The Hungry

People care. Well, at least those who value helping others. Unfortunately with the crumbling economy most Americans are probably more worried of where they will be living, and if they can still afford food for themselves before thinking of others. The current financial crisis has elevated the number of impoverished people across the states.

A Basic Need

Food is the most vital need for survival. If you have an old beat up truck parked around the corner why don’t you donate it? A lot of people may benefit from your car donation, not only that, who knows? maybe one of these days it will be you in that free meals line.

The Right Charity

In actuality it depends on the donor where his or her contribution goes. There are a lot of charities out there. If you go online and type car donation in Google you will be inundated with countless charities. Most of them will tell you that donating a vehicle is easy as pie. But hold up for a moment, before you dive into giving old “bertha” away make sure you have all the facts of making a car donation.

Your bequest will only be put into a meals program if the institution you donated it to has this kind of agenda. Do not hesititate to ask the person in charge the kinds of goals the charity have. If you and your chosen charity cannot agree on a specific set of goals, then move on and look for others.

How A Car Donation Becomes A Plate Of Food

The inner workings of a charitable institution is not entirely that complicated. A bequeathed vehicle will either be used by a person carrying out the meals on wheels program, or it could also be auctioned off to raise funds for the food itself. In short one of these days you may see your old car parked a couple of houses down, as a charity worker delivers the meals to someone you may know.

Although some people donate their time and services cooking those meals only a portion of the ingredients are donated. So they need cash to go grocery shopping. Some charity organizations have their own used car lots, most are auctioned publicly, and others use third party- for -profit companies. That is why it is imperative that you inquire how much actually goes to the charity, because then you can actually ask them to use the car (if it’s in good condition) instead of selling it.

The Bonus

It is widely known that a car donation gets donors tax breaks. What most people don’t know is that for the benefaction to qualify for a tax deduction the car donation has to be donated to an IRS qualified charitable institution. Commonly qualified organizations are those that are classified as section 501 institutions such as churches, and education oriented charities. IRS has a complete list of the years’ Cumulative Charitable Organization.

The amount of tax subtraction depends on the current fair price of your car, if it is less than $500. If your car is in relatively good condition, and could amount to more than $500 then, you may be able to get a deduction that is equal to the amount in which in the charity sold the vehicle. Even cars that don’t run can be accepted as long as it looks quite presentable, may be repaired and then sold.

Give And You Shall Receive Through Car Donation

There is nothing more annoying than a cramped up garage or the wasted space an old car takes up. While your teenage kids probably won’t gush over the thought of using your old car, a charitable institution definitely won’t mind taking your outdated cast off. Aside from the advantage of getting that garage space back, a car donation has great advantages such as: feeling good about yourself, helping people in need, and the best part? Getting tax breaks.

Donating cars is not entirely a new idea. That is why the IRS formulated new rules regarding tax deductions when you donate a car. The internet makes car donations appear as easy as one, two, three, but in reality you really have to be serious in your intent in donating a car because it entails certain responsibilities.

A Deduction Of The Deduction

The IRS has certain stipulations that have to be followed for a person to qualify for tax credit. Contribution of automobiles to authorized charities may only be deducted, if the goods are summarily itemized on the tax payers schedule A in the 1040 form.

Charitable offerings have express limitations as to the amount of tax cuts that may be claimed. One of these rules expressly state that the deductions cannot be more than 50% of a tax payer’s adjusted gross income although there are cases when only 20 to 30% deductions are allowable.

How Much Is the Deductible?

Generally speaking the deductible amount may only be equal to the fair or prevalent market value of your car. However, new IRS rules state that if your car is valued at less than $500 you cannot claim more than the prevailing selling price or the cost listed at guides for previously owned cars. What’s more the mileage and present condition of the car must also be taken into consideration.

Claims for automobiles that are in relatively good condition, and valued at more than $500 is only up to the amount in which the charity sold the cars for. These new ordinance was implemented due to rampant falsification of the values of donated cars. Hard as it is to believe, a lot of people actually use fake certificates of donation in order to get bigger tax write offs.

Procedures In Filling For Write Offs

The most important key aspect in being able to claim tax deductions in to have excellent record and file keeping abilities, you have to be meticulous in taking details down and keeping personal copies of all the required documents.

Your chosen charity has to give you a written acknowledgement containing the name of the organization and a description of the bequeathed car. The institution also has to declare that no service or goods were given in lieu of the vehicle. In addition they must also include an estimated price appraised in good faith.

Key Things To Remember

Most people show up to charitable institution with cars in tow, forgetting that a Car Title is an essential requirement for donation. You may say, “But my car is ancient, I can’t possibly find the title.” To help you understand think of it this way; if people falsify donation certificates to get bigger tax cuts, then others could donate stolen cars.

In closing please note the charity, its address, the date of your car donation, a description of your car and the place it was donated in. Also, keep a copy of the written acknowledgement for yourself.

Car Donation Precautions

A trend is emerging; donating cars have become very fashionable. Does it mean humanitarian issues have become the forefront of America’s priorities? Hopefully, but with the financial crisis, conceivably the tax deductions pose a greater advantage that the charitable one. If tax write offs are the biggest issue here, let us help our fellow citizens and immigrants not only get the tax reprieve you also help other people in the process.

Car Donation

Perhaps it must be reiterated that the definition of a car donation is a contribution towards an altruistic cause without repayment of any tangible gain. The gift is usually in the form of a car that has lost its use to the owners.

Identity Crisis

The most commonly committed error is the mistaken identity. What? Well, people usually mistake car donation services for the charity themselves, and herein lies the ambiguity of the matter. When you go to Google and type in “car donation” you end up with pages and pages of websites all claiming to “work for the common good”.

Actually, some if not most of these “car donation services” are business entities in themselves. This is because they get your car right at your doorstep, process everything, and then merely give say 10-20% to a charitable institution. They make a hefty income out of what should have been for the needy. So, be wary of who you call to donate you car, don’t be fooled by donation is a breeze promises, do your homework!

Charity Disparity

Even the honest of most honest people should admit that the tax excision does sound juicy, before you assume you have to know the rules. You see, charities have to be on the IRS’ publication 78 list for your offering to be credit towards a possible tax write off. In practice a charity should include all the required IRS forms together with their own application for donation packet. In addition to all the forms, the charitable organization is obligated to issue a donation acknowledgement form and a tax deduction voucher containing all essential details.

Accordance and Compliance

Before donation you have to prepare your Car Title, make sure that it’s free of any encumbrances. Check if the organization you are contributing to is a qualified institution before going ahead with the transaction. Did you know, you can even ask the charity to use the profits or your car donation in a program that is closer to your heart?

To be able to claim the tax deductions, ask the charity for a donation receipt form itemizing information like: the place of donation, the charity name and its address, an assessment of the car’s worth, and a promise that no repayment was made towards you.

To file a report of your car donation fill up lines 16 to 19, schedule A of the 1040 form. If the value of your car donation is more than $500 you also have to complete form 8283. When the benefaction exceeds $5000 you have to get an independent and IRS credited appraiser and then comply with section B of 8283.

Sounds daunting? don’t be deterred your chosen charity will help you in fulfilling all the requirements needed. Not only that you may also call IRS hotlines should you have any questions regarding this matter.

Car Donation For The Wise

Advertisers make car donation sound so uncomplicated: Donate a used car instead of going through the hassle of selling it, and then instead of cash you get tax write offs. It’s a no lose situation right? After all you still get some sort of return and in the process you even end up helping someone else.

Unfortunately like all ideas with great intentions things always seem to go awry, and with car donations this is usually the case. So before giving away your vehicle you’d better read this.

Help A Deserving Charity

There are numerous charities out there, thousands and in fact even millions. You probably already favor a certain charity, despite this, visit or call and ask if they can accept a vehicle donation. Not all charitable institutions accept automobile bequests. Ergo, make calls and visit their offices personally to ensure that they are legit. The IRS website has a complete list of all qualified charitable institutions.

Instead of asking the charity to pick up your gift, drive it down yourself. This’ll help the charity save on the cost of having someone tow or pick up the car. The goal here is help to the charity make money, not spend it.

To make a clean break, ensure that the Car Title is appropriately transferred to the organization’s name. If you don’t, you might get mail regarding unpaid parking tickets, and then you’ll be in trouble.

Keep Clear!

If you can make time, try to refrain from using middlemen or what’s called a car donation service. Although they mean well, you cannot deny the fact that they are businesses, and an enterprise’s main goal is to create income. It could be that they only give $200 to charities for every $1000 they make selling your car. This defeats the end of being able to give the charitable institution maximum revenue. If you calculate it, only 10 to 20% actually goes to the actual charity. Additionally, if say only $100 reaches the charity then you will not be eligible for the tax subtractions.

Be Meticulous

Try and keep track of all the paper works. You must keep extra copies for yourself for later purposes and for your current IRS needs. Make sure you fill up all of the IRS required form. The proof of sale will not be needed if the charity keeps your car for their use. By the way, this is where working with a good charity can help you because they are actually going to be the one to provide you with the necessary forms and documentations. If you’re giving away an expensive or relatively new vehicle then you need to get independent appraisal.

Last But Not Least

Before going ahead with making a car donation, make sure you remember these last few reminders. Do not over estimate the value of your car; the IRS has a price basis of how much your car’s current value is more than $500. If it’s less than that amount, then you can claim as much as the charity got for selling the car. Don’t try to cheat to get a bigger tax write off; the IRS has stringent compliance rules. The charity has to provide you with an Acknowledgement Certificate that states the charity’s name, address, the car’s present condition, and if the charity gave anything in payment of the car. Remember if you get something in return then the donation in now deemed sale.

Car Donation Fever

A car always attracts attention. In the society of today an automobile is both a need and a luxury. A need because it is now a must, in order to survive, for example: you now need a car go to work, buy groceries, and etc. Car donations are essential parts of most charity fund raising techniques as well as charity work because there is an endless need for cars so they are an easy profit.

An Emphasis

To emphasize how a car is of such importance, hear this: even junk and non running cars are accepted as donations. The cars may be repaired or restored, sold into auction or used by the institution it was donated into. You know how some peoples’ trash are others’ treasure? Well this is the case where it is literal.

An Encouragement

Think about it, holding on to things that is of no use is utter depravity. Some people horde, imagine a car under those pile of junk! Wouldn’t it be good, if you could get rid of that one thing that may give you more space, feel good about yourself, and get a tax break?

In this time of economic downturn helping people while helping yourself is a win win situation. The information of going about it is the most important factor.

An Initiation

Most Americans have access to the internet, so go online and type in car donation. Read up, and evaluate your newly acquired knowledge. Sounds easy right? However, before committing yourself to a charity that looks and sounds great, look around and do your research. There are companies that look like a charity but are actually a mediator, and there are even those that pose as charities when in fact they are not. The easiest way of looking for the right charity is to visit a local charitable institution. Conduct an interview with their officer, do not hesitate to ask questions, after all you want your donation to not only help you but others as well.

Not only is the charity’s intent important, but also its service towards you “the donor”. To be able to claim tax write offs, you have to work hand in hand with the charity because the IRS have now set stringent rules governing car donations.

Goals For You and For All

After going round the local charities, take time to sit and think about your agenda. Where do you want your car donation to be used? What are the organizations goals? Does it coincide with yours? These questions are important if it is difficult for you to let go of the vehicle you are donating.


The clincher always seems to be the tax deduction, so here’s a gist of the IRS’ new conditions. To avail of the tax break the charity must issue an acknowledgement certificate of donation containing the charity’s name and address, the make and model of your car, its present condition, and a fair appraisal amount of the car’s worth. Additionally, they must also state that no goods or services were made in repayment for the car so it can qualify as a donation. The IRS allows a deduction of not more than 50% of your gross deductible amount. The write off will be based on the car’s market value, or the amount in which the charity got for the car.

Car Donation: Charity With Clarity

A search about how to donate an old car will yield thousands, if not millions of results. All of them claiming how easy it is donate an automobile, so easy that all you have to do is pick up the phone and they’ll be at your door, tow truck in hand; not only that, you get tax breaks too.

The Truth Of The Matter

The truth of the matter is, donating a used car is not as easy as they say it is. Aside from differing state regulations, the IRS has set sanctions on car donations due to rampant fraud. For example: the state of California requires a donor to fill up a liability release form, while Maryland asks for the “Maryland Notice of Security Interest Filing”. One thing in common for all states though, is that they all require the Car Title as a prerequisite for contribution.

Finding A Qualified Charity

The most important part of giving away your car for a good cause is to look for the right charity. Finding an institution with the same agenda as yours is akin to interviewing an applicant for a certain position. The pivotal move is to ask questions. Some charities have a number of programs and may be flexible in assigning your donation to a certain goal in which you and the charity officer agree on. Unfortunately, there are some who have a specific set of purpose.

To qualify for write offs, the donation must be made to an IRS qualified charities or the following: religious organizations; state, federal, and government institutions (as long as the car donation is for public use); Non-profit hospitals and schools; Red Cross, Good Will, Meals on Wheels, Care, Salvation Army, and the Girls’ and Boy Scouts of America; and those listed in the IRS’ publication 78. A donation is not tax deductible when it is made to an individual.

Preparing For The IRS

A car title is a strict requirement for donating a car. Prepare the 1040 form and fill up schedule A. The amount of deduction is limited to 50% of the already adjusted gross amount of your income. The write off is based on the cost at which the charity sold your car (if more $500), or the fair market value if the car is less than $500.

Do not forget to take note of the location at which you donated your car, the charity and its address, the condition of your car, and the contemporaneous written acknowledgement of your contribution. All these, are needed for you to avail of the tax deduction. You have to submit all of these requirements at an IRS Specified deadline or else you cannot get a write off.

It is important to keep a second copy for your file, just in case. The great thing about all this is that the IRS actually has a number of hotlines ready to answer any questions you may have. Aside from that, an online list of charitable institutions, rules and regulations, and guidelines on how to determine the amount of your deductible are also available.

Doing Good And Profiting

No good deed goes unpaid. In this case not only do you help others, you also help yourself. Don’t be deterred by all the requirements for car donation, rules and regulations are there to benefit you. After all would you want unscrupulous people using donation to meet dishonest ends?

Can A Piece Of Junk Be Considered A Car Donation?

Cultivating a sense of charity in a selfish world is indeed a noble cause. But there are times when a charity should say no to such donations and instances when it would be nice to actually think about giving instead of passing on problems.

Trash Is not Treasure

A friend of a friend probably told you how he got a tax break by donating his rusty and useless old car to an IRS qualified charity. Although it may be true that charities may make a little bit of profit by selling scraps, the labor involved may not equal to or even far outweigh the financial fruits. Think about it, if your car has a wrecked engine a rusty chassis and is literally of no use, the charity will have to shoulder the expense of towing, taking the car apart and then transporting it to the junk yard. All those mentioned above takes manual labor, and it’s not free.

An Assertion

Now you may argue that there are online companies that accept junk cars as offerings. Actually, if you do even the slightest research, you will find out that these companies are not charities at all. They are business entities whose business is to be a middleman between individuals and charitable institutions. Let me put it this way: If your nasty old car sells for $100 then the charity only get $5. $5! What will a charity do with $5?!

Be Fair!

Be honest, if someone gave you a ratty car would you like it? Despite desperation, you will probably think, “What then?! This thing will cost me more money!” You see? that’s probably how charities will think too. As a matter of fact statistics will tell you that as much as 5% of all donated cars are a liability to the charities rather than an asset.

On the other hand, if your car is a vintage collectible even if it’s in really terrible shape you just might be able to get a charity that will be overjoyed at receiving your contribution. A vintage car donation is rare because like all antiques they very high resale value, and some are priceless. If you are truly committed to the essence of donating ask the charity to restore the car and then auction it off to the highest bidder.

Besides if you think about it, huge charitable organizations like the American Red Cross only accept “decent looking and functioning Cars.” They need to make a profit so that they can channel it into humanitarian agendas. If your car is only slightly “shameful” the organization has subsidiaries that refurbish the car. Afterwards, they will either use it to carry out their duties or auction it to raise funds.

Don’t Be Crestfallen

If your sentimental old ride can’t qualify as a car donation why don’t you sell it to a junk yard? arranged for it to towed and then use the money and donate it to the charity. If you want the tax cut that goes will the car donation, don’t fret because cash donations are also deductible as long as it is made to an IRS qualified organization. The requirements are pretty much the same as making a car donation. This is simply a friendly reminder that the purpose of giving is to help.

A Different Perspective On Car Donation

Car Donation is very popular because it is giving while getting something in return. A charity receives the car, sells it, and uses the profit to fund a cause, and getting something in return due to the tax breaks a donor gets.

What The Charity Does

A lot of people wonder how charities use the donated vehicles. Actually most charities, like the American Red Cross has their own used car lots. Others auction the automobiles to the highest bidder and then some simply use the cars in carrying out their mission.

To Use Or Not To Use

No, charitable institutions do not simply toss coins to decide whether an appropriated car should be utilized for implementing programs or sold at a certain price or to the highest bidder. What they do is classify the vehicles into certain programs that it may be of great advantage to.

Let’s take for example Charity O: Charity O has 5 programs, the first: meals on wheels, second: aiding people gain employment, and third: an educational fund. The first thing a charity does is to evaluate the running and physical condition of a Car. If it still works well then they can maybe use at a delivery car, or lease it to a person needing a vehicle to work or school.

Charity Preparation

Most charities, especially those listed on the IRS publication 78 depends solely on car donations and other contributions in order to perform good will, hence they make it easy for people to donate their vehicles. The institutions always have IRS forms on file together with their donation forms.

Furthermore, it is also the philanthropic organization’s duty to provide the documents needed for the donor to claim tax deduction. These documents depend on how the car donation was put into use. If the car was assigned to an agenda, the charity will give you a tax voucher that clearly states the value of the car. The tax write off will be based on the car’s fair value that may be found on the Kelly blue book price listing of automobiles fair market values.

The charity also has to provide a paper acknowledging your appropriation. The instrument has to contain the details of the benefaction like, an honest estimate of the cost of your car, an assertion that the charity did not repay you anything in any manner or that if they did do something the deed consisted of intangible things like religious counsel or etc. All these have to reach you within 30 days of donation or else you cannot claim the tax subtraction.

Why Wait Donate!

There are those who hesitate when it comes to donating a car. After all, a car donation entails certain responsibilities like proper documentation and what not. But the important thing here is that you are helping someone while making it worthwhile for you because you reap not only financial benefits but spiritual and emotional as well.

A word to the wise, now that you have a glimpse of what a charity goes through to raise funds and even accept car donations, try and make it worth their while. If you can, deliver your car donation. This act helps a charity save a small yet significant amount of money by not having to pay a tow truck or driver to pick up your car. Not only that, you may also establish a long lasting relationship with the charity workers and you might even become one someday.