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Here’s How to Donate a Car to Charity and Write It Off as a Tax Deduction

Do you have an old car that you’re no longer using? Instead of letting it sit in your driveway or selling it cheap, you can donate a car to charity to help those in need.

Car donations can help support various worthy causes, from providing food and shelter to the unhoused to meeting medical needs.

Donating your car is also a great way to get a tax deduction. The IRS allows you to deduct the fair market value of your car donation up to $500. If your car is worth more than $500, you can still deduct the full amount, but you’ll need to have it appraised.

How to Donate a Car

Choose a charity: Many charities accept car donations. Do some research to find one that you support, and that has a good reputation.

Contact the charity: Once you’ve chosen a charity, contact them to learn more about their car donation program. They’ll tell you what documentation you must provide and how the donation process works.

Get the car ready for pickup: The charity will need to inspect your car before they pick it up. Make sure the vehicle is clean and free of any personal belongings. You’ll also need to remove the license plates and title.

Schedule a pickup: The charity will arrange for a tow truck to pick up your car. They’ll usually pick up the vehicle within a few days of your call.

Get a tax deduction: Once the charity sells your car, they’ll send you a tax receipt. You can use this receipt to claim a deduction on your next tax return.

donate a car
(Photo: Unsplash/Hayes Potter)

Things to Remember

Here are a few additional tips to remember as you go through the process of donating your car.

First, get multiple quotes from different charities before donating your car.

Second, make sure the charity is legitimate. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous organizations prey on people seeking to do good.

Third, you will want to keep good records. You must keep records of your car donation to claim the tax deduction. This includes the charity’s name, the donation date, and the car’s value.

Finally, check with your local DMV to see what should be done with the license plate, registration ticket, etc. In most cases, the license plate has to be surrendered to your local DMV. Sometimes, a transfer of the title is also necessary. So check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles.

Where to Donate a Car

Numerous charities accept car donations, including:

Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity builds homes for low-income families. Your car donation can help them provide a safe and affordable living place.

Goodwill Industries: Goodwill Industries helps people with disabilities and other barriers to employment find jobs. Your car donation can help them provide job training and placement services.

The American Red Cross: The Red Cross provides disaster relief and other humanitarian aid. Your car donation can help them help people in need.

The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army provides food, shelter, and other social services to people in need. Your car donation can help them make a difference in the lives of others.

Wheels for Wishes: Wheels for Wishes grants wishes to children with serious illnesses. Your car donation can help them make a child’s dream come true.


Your car donation will make a difference no matter which charity you choose. So, if you have an old car you’re no longer using, consider donating it to charity. It’s a great way to give back and help others in need.

To learn how your car donation can impact your taxes, review the IRS publication “A Donor’s Guide to Vehicle Donation” via the agency’s website.

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Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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