Doug's Credit Center Blog

How to donate a vehicle to charity

After such a long weekend many of us have already found ourselves at some of the local department stores, retailers, and even many websites for the slew of sales going on. Between black Friday, cyber Monday, and even thanks giving shopping; there are many great ways to give back with lots of deals to do so.

But besides just finding the hottest new item on a stores shelf or in a catalog for that matter, maybe you might be able to make a larger impact on the life with that old dust collector in the garage or driveway.

Why donate a used vehicle?

What happens to a used car after it is donated really depends on the condition of the vehicle, but most charities such as The Salvation Army make every vehicle count no matter if its a rust bucket with flat tires or a missing engine. Each and every vehicle has some value in it even if it’s just in the scrap metal. Between fixing up the working models to be turned around and auctioned off or simply sending them to the local scrap heap; the funds help a number of different causes which that specific charity supports.

Who should consider donating a car?

For those of us that have a second vehicle that is no longer is use, the chances are it would make a great donation for the right charity. Even with a single vehicle that you currently you there are at least two ways that a donation could make perfect sense. Any current auto loans must be paid in full, with no liens on the vehicles title.

After itemizing all the deductions on your most recent tax returns and need another deduction, donating a used car can reduce the amount you have to pay in taxes if you have made a large capital gain. or for instance the current vehicle is either inoperable or worth less than $500; you can generally claim up to $500 from any donated goods without a receipt from the items re-sale value.

How and where to give..

  • Identify a charity that accepts used vehicle donations and supports a cause you believe in.
  • Ask how the charity plans on using the vehicle. To sell for a charitable donation or to use as transportation for the homeless; but make sure to have an estimate for the current value if the vehicle is being used rather than sold.
  • Inquire is a used car broker is going to be used – When more hands are in the cookie jar, a smaller amount of cookies are available for donation.
  • Confirm that the charity is a 501(c)(3) – To receive the proper deductions you are looking for be sure the proper paperwork is filed with the IRS from said organization.
  • Ask about the re-titling process of the car – Once donated and the car is no longer in your possession make sure to have discussed the proper way to transfer the title to the organization so not to be held liable for any problems later down the road.
  • Keep all related paperwork – I am sure you’ve had your fair share of paperwork when buying the vehicle, insuring it, and making any possible car loan payments. Add any and all papers from the donation to this file and keep it in case any questions arise.
  • Bring the vehicle in yourself – By donating the car in person you allow yourself time for any last minute questions and save the organization any potential towing fees.
  • More questions? Contact a professional – While we can help steer you in the right direction we highly recommend talking to any accountants or lawyers in your area for more specific answers to donating in your area.

There is a wide selection of nationally and locally owned and operated organizations that handle used car donations, do your research and find how you can help give back to the community more than just during the holiday season this year.

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