How to Donate a Car to Goodwill

By Carolyn Williams

  • Overview

    Goodwill Industries helps get people back to work. Its educational, training and career programs are among the largest in North America. If you have a car that is past its useful life in your family, consider Goodwill as an option. The organization has a need for drivable cars to help its clients stay on the job, but it is also happy to receive the monetary value of a car that isn't in the best driving condition.
    • Step 1

      Find out whether your local Goodwill has a Wheels-to-Work program. Some local Goodwill organizations use the car for this program to provide a means of reliable transport to keep people in their jobs. Other Goodwill organizations sell the car for scrap or sell the car to a dealer to auction off (see Resources below).
    • Step 2

      Be aware that the value of your tax write off varies in these two cases. If your car will be driven in the Wheels-to-Work program, you can write off the full fair market value of the car. If, however, the car is sold (for auction or scrap), you can only write off the proceeds Goodwill receives as a result of the sale.

    • Step 3

      Determine the value of your car based on its condition; cars in good running order are more likely to be candidates for the Wheels-to-Work program, though Goodwill accepts cars in any condition. A good guide is the Kelley Blue Book (see Resources).
    • Step 4

      Deliver the car to Goodwill. Sign the title over to Goodwill. Enter this information yourself to avoid any issues with the potential of the tax benefit. If you leave the title blank and it is filled out incorrectly, you run the risk of losing the charitable deduction.
    • Step 5

      Receive written acknowledgment of the donation of the car from Goodwill. This letter will identify the final result of your donation--sale or use in its program--and determines the final tax benefit the donation generates for you.
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Tip: You should receive written acknowledgment within 30 days.

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