1. Do your homework, find a charity through word of mouth, community work or causes that speak to you. Look into their work, research them on the Better Business Bureau site or through Charity Navigator. The charity of your choice, should be an IRS-approved 501(3)c) organization, visit the Internal Revenue Service’s Website for more information.
2. Ask questions, how much will your charity receive from the sale of your vehicle? How will car donation process work? Will you be eligible for a tax deduction? Asking questions early not only saves you hassle later, but the person who responds to your inquiries should be polite, friendly and knowledgeable.
3. If you can, ask if you can drop the car off, since most charitable organizations require a tow service to transport the donated vehicle to another facility, ask if it would help earn the charity more money if you dropped the car or other vehicle off yourself.
4. Fill out the title properly. Never, ever, leave your vehicle’s title blank during transfer of ownership time. Any organization worth their weight in gold, will not ask that you leave the title blank for supposed ‘ease of transferability’. Always fill out the appropriate transfer section of your title, using help from the organization or online resources.
5. Know your tax rights. Once you choose your 501(3)(c) organization to donate to, know that you can deduct the fair market value of the vehicle. Kelly Blue Book or other sources provide average retail values for vehicles sold privately; but donated vehicle values often differ. If you have a special, antique or unique donated vehicle, make sure you tell you organization about it. If you expect to get a certain value from the sale of your vehicle, make sure you ask the right questions so you won’t be disappointed with the fair market value later on.
6. Keep records. If your donation is worth more than $500, you’ll have to attach IRS Form 8283 to your tax return. If it’s worth more than $5,000, your documentation must include an outside appraisal. You’ll also need proof of the donation, such as a receipt from the charity and a copy of the title change.
7. Get excited. Donating a vehicle is an amazing way to support your favorite nonprofit. For more information on some of the most amazing nonprofit organizations we know, visit Car Donation Wizard, where we’ve taken all the guesswork out of donating a car.