How to Donate a Car in St.Louis

By J.D. Wollf

  • Overview

    Want to get rid of your used car in St. Louis? Donate it to a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity and get a deduction on your federal income tax. Most charities will sell your car, and you'll receive a deduction worth the gross amount of money the charity receives from the sale. Some charities use the car for themselves or give it to a needy family. This allows you to claim the estimated value of the vehicle as a deduction.
    How to Donate a Car in St.Louis
  • Estimated Value Deduction

  • Step 1

    Estimate the value of your car. There are several websites you can use to estimate the true value of your car (see Resources). You will need a written appraisal to submit to the IRS If your car is worth more than $5,000.
  • Step 2

    Find the title and keys to your car. You'll need to give these to the charity of your choice in St. Louis. Keep a copy of the title for yourself and ensure that the title is transferred.
  • Step 3

    Contact the car donation program. 1-800-Charity-Cars operates in St. Louis, but not all cars will be eligible for estimated value deduction. Request a donation form and send the title to the car donation program.
  • Step 4

    Wait for the tow truck. Most donation programs will tow your vehicle away for free. Don't forget to take the license plates off the car.


  • Step 5

    Receive a receipt. The receipt should contain your name and taxpayer number, the vehicle identification number, the date of the contribution, and an acknowledgement that the vehicle will be improved by the charity or will be directly used by the charity.
  • Step 6

    Deduct the value of your car from your federal income tax. You will have to fill out IRS form 8283 if your deduction is worth more than $500.
  • Sales Deduction

    • Step 1

      Find the title and keys to your vehicle. The program will need your title and your keys to accept the car. Keep a copy of the title for yourself.
    • Step 2

      Contact the car donation program. Many car donation services are run by car donation companies---they sell the car, then donate a part of the proceeds to the St. Louis charity of your choice. Other car donation services are run directly by the charity itself. Call or e-mail your favorite charity to see if they take used car donations. In St. Louis, the St. Louis Salvation Army chapter, Goodwill St. Louis, the St. Louis chapter of the American Red Cross, and the American Cancer Society all directly accept car donations. Fill out the donation form and send the title to the car donation program.
    • Step 3

      Wait for the tow truck. Most donation programs will tow your vehicle away for free. Don't forget to take the license plates off the car.
    • Step 4

      Receive a receipt. The receipt should contain your name and taxpayer number, the vehicle identification number, the date of the contribution, and an account of the gross proceeds of the sale.
    • Step 5

      Deduct the gross sales proceeds from your federal income tax. Your deduction will be a minimum $500 (if the car sells for less than or equal to $500). If your car sells for more than $500, the deduction value is the selling price. You will have to fill out IRS form 8283 if the deduction is more than $500.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Warning:
    • Check to make sure that your charity of choice is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity before you donate.
    • You can claim a tax deduction on your vehicle only if you itemize your tax deductions.

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