The Best Tips To Maximize Your Car Donation Tax Deduction

Car Donation Wizard wants donors to know that donating a car to a nonprofit organization not only helps that organization fund worthwhile research and humanitarian efforts, but you also may be eligible to claim a tax deduction for your charitable contribution.

Here are some car donation tax deduction tips we’ve put together:

  1. Make sure the nonprofit is eligible to receive tax deductible contributions. Organizations such as  501(c)(3) qualified nonprofits are able to give you a tax receipt for your vehicle donation. Visit to search for registered charities. Car Donation Wizard only works with esteemed, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations.
  2. Ask if you will get a formal tax receipt from the charity for your car donation. If the total deduction you are claiming for a donated car is $250 or more, you need paper proof of your donation. Car Donation Wizard mails a tax receipt for your records following the sale of your vehicle.
  3. Know that despite what you might find on Kelly Blue Book, the IRS will only allow a deduction for the fair market value of the car. This can be found on the tax receipt mailed to you from Car Donation Wizard.
  4. If your car is worth more than $500, you, the donor, must complete Section A of IRS Form 8283 and attach it to your yearly tax return.
  5. If your car is worth $5,000 or more, an independent appraisal is necessary. You must also fill out Section B of IRS Form 8283. You may consider taking pictures of the car and saving receipts for new tires or other upgrades to verify its value.
  6. As a safety, consult your tax adviser or the IRS for more information about how you can claim charitable deductions. The IRS can answer your tax questions and can provide tax forms, publications, and other reading materials for further assistance. IRS materials are accessible through the Internet at and at IRS walk-in offices in many areas across the country.

Car donations drive our mission’s success

By Krysta Morgenthaler, Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley vice president of development and communications

Honk your horn if you love Habitat!

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’re honking our horns to thank our generous donors for making Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley the top affiliate in the nation for revenue generated through car donations. Vehicle donors in our service area area have generously contributed more than $600,000 through car donations. That’s enough to build a dozen Habitat homes or provide material for 60 Habitat roofs or buy 20 million nails.

The Habitat for Humanity Cars for Homes Program is an easy way for donors to make a huge impact on the local Habitat mission in their surrounding communities. In 2010, our affiliate worked with Cars for Homes to launch the Partnership Project, which provided a $100,000 challenge grant to match all car donations dollar for dollar. Donors from across the area responded generously by exceeding the $100,000 goal in just nine months!

The vehicle donations helped fund the construction of a home for Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley’s 250th family served, Teebe and Ande Nerayo. The donations raised through the Partnership Project also funded the renovation of two homes as part of our affiliate’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Car donations at Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley continue to play a major role in the success of our mission by funding, on average, two homes per year.

The next time you have a junker sitting in your driveway or would rather put your old car to work than put more work into it, think about the impact your car could have on a local family in your community.

Find out more about Cars for Homes today!

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Get A 2012 Tax Deduction For Your Car Donation!

While it might be too late to donate a car for and receive a 2011 tax deduction; it’s the perfect time to donate a vehicle and get a 2012 charitable tax deduction! When you donate a car, van, truck, hybrid or any other vehicle to your favorite charity, we’ll send you a receipt to use during tax time. Not only do the proceeds of your vehicle go towards an amazing cause but your charitable contribution is tax deductible.

Choose your charity now!

Want to learn more? Visit or Tax Tips page

Need to speak with a customer service member about you tax deduction? Call us at 877-957-2277 and we’re happy to help!

Donated to Car Talk – a 1997 Subaru Legacy                              

donate a car to car talk

Donated to Habitat for Humanity – a 1987 Volkswagen Golf

car donation to habitat for humanity

Car Donation Spotlight: 1990 Buick Reatta

Written By: Sam Andrews

The 1988-1991 Buick Reatta was the company’s first attempt at an exclusive compact 2-door sports car since the 1940s.

car donation buick

The Reatta will be remembered alongside similar vehicles offered around the same time by General Motors like the Cadillac Allante (which shared a modified platform with the Reatta) and Chrysler’s Maserati TC. They all had one goal: to capture a piece of the market segment that normally didn’t buy American cars, people who appreciated European flavored design and/or engineering but were willing to pay a substantial price for it in an otherwise thoroughly American car.

Buick car donation

Also similar to those other automaker’s efforts was the Reatta’s unusual manufacturing process. The Reatta was actually hand-assembled by workers at special stations. When the station had completed their part, the vehicle was moved by robots to the next station, where another part was hand-completed, then moved to the next station and so on and so forth. This intricate, detailed-oriented process was unheard of for the world’s largest automaker in their ninth decade of mass producing automobiles.

inside of buick car donation

The results of such labor are moderately impressive. The Reatta’s styling was certainly fresh and new, at least when compared to the rest of Buick’s lineup at the time. It features a smooth, simple body that tapers to a slightly snubbed nose, pop-up headlights, blackened a-pillars, a single-unit taillight strip, and a large curved rear window, which must have been great for visibility.

Inside, the interior featured bolstered leather seats, driver-oriented dashboard and a very interesting all-digital touch-screen instrument cluster and center console, complete with a digital speedometer. All major functions were controlled from the touch-screen. I’ve never seen one of these before and can’t confirm if it was an industry first, but the boldness of placing such an interface in company that normally sells to older and mature customers used to simplistic technology is as quizzical as it is inspiring. The touch screen was only available from 1988-1989 before it was dropped in 1990.

car donation

The Reatta was one of several attempts by various automakers in the late 1980s to replicate the feel of classic ‘60s British convertibles like Triumph and MG but with modern technology and driving mannerisms. Examples include the Lotus M100 Elan and the ’89-‘94 Mercury Capri. Probably the best example was immensely popular and successful Mazda Miata, which debuted in February 1989. Some would consider the Reatta the least of those attempts, but I think it’s notable for being the first. The Reatta actually predated the Miata by a year, so one must give credit to Buick’s intuition. They even have similar sounding names. But the Reatta debuted as a coupe only, a misstep in a market that was ripe for small convertibles, as the Miata would prove. By the time they added a convertible in 1990, the Miata, which only came as a convertible, had already taken off and the Reatta was just a year away from discontinuation.

Could the Reatta have been the hit the Miata was? Perhaps. The Reatta was nice looking and mostly well designed. The arrival of the convertible made it even more alluring. But there were more negatives than positive. The hi-tech touch-screen was in conflict with the small, sporty, back-to-basics nature that most people conjure when they think of small coupes, not to mention alienating to older buyers. The engine was Buick’s basic 6-cylinder with a max of 170 horsepower and was not, like other Buicks of the era, turbocharged. The only transmission ever available in a Reatta was an automatic, a big turn off to young people and enthusiasts looking for something fun to drive. Lastly, the charming but antiquated hand-made assembly made manufacturing costly and time consuming.

Buick planned to sell around 20,000 each year. But by 1991, only 21,751 examples had been produced over about 4 years.

Right now the Reatta stands a good chance of becoming a future classic collector car. The good intentions of the original product, combined with the classic convertible body style and relatively low production figures make the vehicles candidates for restoration or show pieces. Will they become extremely valuable? Probably not. But as time goes on, and more and more are taken off the road and parted out, the Reatta stands a better chance than other cars from the era at garnering some interest, and maybe even increasing value after it bottoms out.

Our ’90 Reatta coupe was generously donated to WBUR and is painted red and features a light grey leather interior, sunroof, alloy wheels and only 64,408 miles on the odometer.

donate a car to charity


The Truth About Car Donation to Charity

Scenario: It’s got four wheels and an engine. Sometimes it even runs. But the mechanic’s estimate is more than you want to pay, so it’s time to get rid of the old clunker in your driveway. A 501(c)(3) public charity you like will take it off your hands. You’ll dispose of your car, support a favorite charity, and get a nice income-tax deduction. It’s a win-win-win situation—right?

In this case, yes. But vehicle donations to charity don’t always work out that way. To clarify the situation, the IRS issued a publication for donors on the topic, which Car Donation Wizard recommends checking out to decide if you’re ready to donate a car.

“A Donor’s Guide to Car Donations” (IRS Publication 4303) offers the following advice to vehicle donors:

  • “Check out the charity”
    Only gifts to qualified nonprofits are deductible. If you plan to deduct your vehicle donation from your taxes, you need to verify that the nonprofit receiving the car is a qualified organization before you turn over the keys and title.Note: If you find a nonprofit on GuideStar, it’s likely that your gift to it will be deductible. To be sure, look at the fine print that appears under the organization’s EIN on the first page of its GuideStar Report. If it is a 501(c)(3) public charity, your donation will be deductible. If the nonprofit is exempt under another subsection of the tax code—for example, a 501(c)(4) organization or 501(c)(6) entity—contact the organization to ask about the deductibility of your gift.
  • “See if you’ll get a tax benefit”
    You can deduct charitable contributions from your taxes only if you itemize your deductions, consult your tax adviser for individual information on how this will benefit you most.
  • “Check the value of your car”
    A car’s blue book value is not necessarily the same as its fair market value—a vehicle missing a bumper or driven for thousands of miles without an oil change will have a lower fair market value than a car that is the same age and model and has been well cared for. Only the fair market value of the vehicle you donate can be deducted from your taxes.
  • “See what your responsibilities are as a donor to charity”
    Make sure you obtain all necessary receipts and, if you declare your car’s value as more than $5,000, that you have a written assessment for it.

See Publication 4303 on the IRS’s website for more information.


Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to fulfill a scenario where you and the charity both win. Trusting your donation with one of Car Donation Wizards incredible nonprofit partners ensures that your donation will be handled professionally, efficiently and with the utmost concern for raising the most money for your charity. We work with recognized 501(3)(c) registered organizations, who run transparent organizations, so you know how and where your money is being spent. Rest assured that every car donation made through Car Donation Wizard will be eligible for a tax deduction. Get started with one of our vehicle donation experts online or over the phone today at 877-957-2277.

IRS Releases the Top Tax Scams for 2012

WASHINGTON –– The Internal Revenue Service today issued its annual “Dirty Dozen” ranking of tax scams, reminding taxpayers to use caution during tax season to protect themselves against a wide range of schemes ranging from identity theft to return preparer fraud.

The Dirty Dozen listing, compiled by the IRS each year, lists a variety of common scams taxpayers can encounter at any point during the year. But many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns.

“Taxpayers should be careful and avoid falling into a trap with the Dirty Dozen,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “Scam artists will tempt people in-person, on-line and by e-mail with misleading promises about lost refunds and free money. Don’t be fooled by these scams.”

Illegal scams can lead to significant penalties and interest and possible criminal prosecution. The IRS Criminal Investigation Division works closely with the Department of Justice to shutdown scams and prosecute the criminals behind them.

See the full list of all 12 scams here.

Car Donation Wizard recommends, in particular, watching out for the abuse of charitable organization and deductions.

Abuse of Charitable Organizations and Deductions

IRS examiners continue to uncover the intentional abuse of 501(c)(3) organizations, including arrangements that improperly shield income or assets from taxation and attempts by donors to maintain control over donated assets or the income from donated property. The IRS is investigating schemes that involve the donation of non-cash assets –– including situations in which several organizations claim the full value of the same non-cash contribution. Often these donations are highly overvalued or the organization receiving the donation promises that the donor can repurchase the items later at a price set by the donor. The Pension Protection Act of 2006 imposed increased penalties for inaccurate appraisals and set new standards for qualified appraisals.

Car donors who donate a car to one of Car Donation Wizard’s nonprofit partners like Car Talk, Habitat for Humanity, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF or any of our other fantastic nonprofit partners can rest assured that we work only with registered 501(c)(3) organizations. We make sure that each organization maintains the highest quality and ethical standards that you would expect out of your charity organization. Car Donation Wizard encourages donors to research their organizations or choice and let their reputation speak for itself. For more information visit our Charity Selector Page, our FAQ page or our Tax Questions page.

Your Guide to Donating a Motorcycle to Charity

Donating a motorcycle to charity is not only easy, but it can benefit one of our great charitable organizations. We know that, as a vehicle donors, you have a lot of choices on where to donate your car or motorcycle to. Car Donation Wizard makes a pledge to its donors to only work with nonprofit organizations that have your best intentions in mind. All of our charity partners are 501(3)(c) recognized, meaning that your motorcycle donation is eligible for a tax deduction. We also work closely with each and every charity to ensure that the proceeds from your vehicle donation go towards supporting the amazing causes and missions you know our charity partners for. Our vehicle donation experts are standing by to help you with any questions about how to donate a motorcycle today – call us at 877-957-2277. We can help maximize your motorcycle donation to charity today!

What information do you need to donate your motorcycle today?

Here’s a list that can help us:

  • What is the year of your motorcycle?
  • What is the make of your motorcycle?
  • What is the model type of your motorcycle?
  • How many miles does your motorcycle have on it?
  • What is the current condition of the motorcycle?
  • Do you know the estimated value of your motorcycle? If so, what is it?
  • Can you drop off your motorcycle to a facility for us?

Motorcycles that have been donated to charity:

charity motorcycle donation

Donated Motorcycle from Colorado

Donate a Motorcycle

Donated Motorcycle from Chicago, Illinois

donated motorcycle to charity

Donated Motorcycle from North Carolina

donate a motorcycle to charity

Donated Motorcycle from California





Car Donation to National Public Radio

At Car Donation Wizard, we are proud to be partnered with Car Talk’s National Public Radio, giving donors easy access to donate a car to their favorite local radio station, anywhere in the country. All you need, in order to donate is the certificate of title and a non-stripped vehicle (car, truck, boat, RV, motorcycle… you name it). We make sure that your car donation is safely and promptly handled by our professional team of experts who can help maximize your car donation for your radio station. After you donate a car, we’ll send you a receipt for your taxes! Easy and hassle free!

Public radio stations first aired in the United States in April of 1971 and are now broadcasting in over 900,000 stations in the U.S. Public radio stations are able to produce the great content that you hear, mainly through donations and private gifts. Each station specializes in the local news in your area, as well as, engaging in many issues and topics that impact local listners.

You may have heard of 90.9FM WBUR out Boston, Massachusetts where they are known to shed light on just about any topic you can think of; from sports, to health, and cars maintenance (Car Talk!).  WDET 101.9FM out of Detroit, Michigan is known for being an independent media, providing an alternative to business or government-owned mass media. Or maybe you listen to WFIU National Public Radio out Indianapolis, Indiana. They specialize in local news, arts, music, and TV. Whoever you listen to, simply visit our Car Talk vehicle donation page, choose your station to donate to and we’ll handle the rest!

For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for new and exciting updates. To find the local Public Radio Station near you, visit the NPR Station List here!

-Jamal Stutts

Hybrid Vehicle Donations

2012 should be the year we all pledge to be greener. One of the ways a lot of our donors do this is by driving a hybrid vehicle. As newer, innovative green cars come on the market, many consumers are left wondering what to do with their old hybrid? Instead of selling or trading your vehicle in, consider donating it to charity and get a tax deduction!

When your vehicle reaches the end of it’s useable lifespan, we’re able to turn your hybrid vehicle donations into amazing profits for our nonprofit partners. With green cars on the rise, our savvy hybrid donors are helping out the planet and saving money on costly gas. Donating your old hybrid when you’re ready for a new one is the best way to give back, be green and get a generous tax deduction, all at the same time.

Check out some recent car donations:

Hybrid Car Donation to Car Talk

2003 Honda Civic Hybrid from Boston, MA

car donation to car talk


Hybrid Truck Donation to Habitat for Humanity

2005 Ford Escape Hybrid from New Haven, CT

connecticut car donation