How to Claim a Vehicle Donation on Your Taxes

By Stephanie Ewell

  • Overview

    One of the greatest ways you can help your favorite organization or cause is by donating a vehicle. Your thoughtfulness enables a charitable organization to continue helping people, causes and animals. Your kindness is appreciated and your meaningful support makes a difference. Many people think taking a tax deduction on a vehicle donation requires too much effort and paperwork or will trigger an audit, when in reality it is quite a simple process.
    • Step 1

      Gather all the necessary IRS forms, paperwork and your receipts. To claim a vehicle donation on your taxes you cannot use IRS Form 1040EZ or the1040 short form and you must itemize your deductions. Make sure that you keep all pertinent documents and records for several years after filing.
    • Step 2

      Calculate the amount to deduct for your vehicle. For vehicles worth $500 or less, the donor may estimate the value of the vehicle. The charity will provide you with one receipt at the time of donation. For vehicles that have a value of $500 or more, donors may claim the amount the charity received for the sale of the vehicle. The charity will mail you a second receipt after the sale in this instance.


    • Step 3

      Use IRS Form1040 Schedule A to itemize your deductions. If you received $500 or less for your vehicle donation, simply attach your receipt from the charity, if the organization sold your vehicle for more than $500, attach the second receipt provided by the charity after the sale as well.
    • Step 4

      Fill out IRS Form 8283 Section A and list your total non-cash donations that total $5000 or less. Complete Section B only if your total non-cash charitable donations exceeded $5000.
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Ingredients:
    • IRS Form1040
    • IRS Form1040 Schedule A
    • IRS Form 8283
    • Donation receipt
    • Tip: Deduct your contributions only in the year you actually make them.
    • Tip: Get a written appraisal if your car donation is worth more than $5,000.
    • Warning:
    • For expensive car donations, seek the help of an accountant.

    © High Speed Ventures 2011