How to Donate a Car for Tax Write-Off in Utah

By Joe Fletcher

  • Overview

    Donating a car in Utah is an excellent solution to getting rid of an old car that you're not sure what to do with. You'll be able to provide a valuable donation to a local charity that is important to you while also getting tax benefits. If you've never donated a car in Utah, figuring it out can be somewhat intimidating. Luckily, there are many charity professionals available around Utah to make the process stress free. Here's a simple guide to get you started in the right direction.
    • Step 1

      Determine the charity that you'd like to donate to. There are many worthwhile charities in Utah that could use your donation, so pick one that is meaningful to you. Some specific groups in Utah that accept car donations are The National Kidney Foundation of Utah and Idaho, Recycle Utah and The Humane Society of Utah. Some services like Action Donation Services offer car donation processing for a variety of charities around the state and country (see Resources). When choosing a charity, be sure it is a tax exempt organization able to accept donations (refer to IRS Publication 78).
    • Step 2

      If you're not sure whether or not the charity accepts car donations, contact them to speak further about options. Also discuss any vehicle requirements that they have and make sure that your vehicle meets them.


    • Step 3

      Check the value of your car using a guide such as Kelley Blue Book. Pay close attention to the condition as well as make, model and year. If it is valued over $5,000 you'll want to get it appraised in order to get the full tax deduction.
    • Step 4

      Set up an appointment for pick up or drop off. Contact the charity in question and determine a mutually agreeable time to give the car away. Many charities will stop by and pick the car up, making the process quite easy on you.
    • Step 5

      Before pickup, ensure that the title is signed over to the charity and available to hand over to them. Personal belongings should then be removed from the vehicle. Make a copy of the title signed over to the charity for your records.
    • Step 6

      Give the car to charity. You'll want to get a receipt for tax purposes that includes the make, year and model of the vehicle, the charity's name and address, your information and a statement that you did or did not receive any goods or services in exchange and if so how much. Some charities, like the Humane Society of Utah, may offer you partial cash payment, but this will limit your deduction.
    • Step 7

      Contact the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles to report the transfer at (800) DMV-UTAH.
    • Step 8

      While giving to charity is largely a selfless act, tax benefits are there and you should take advantage of these. You can itemize the donation as a deduction on your tax return for that year. If the vehicle sells for less than $500, you are eligible for a deduction of the fair market value or sale price (whichever is higher). If the selling price of the vehicle is $500 or more your deduction will be based on the sale price or private property value. Check with a tax professional for further details on how your individual circumstances may affect your deductions.
    • Step 9

      When your vehicle is sold, the charity or service in question should provide you with a IRS Form 1098 C within 30 days, which you'll need to submit with your taxes to process the deduction. You will also need to file Form 8283 for deductions over $500.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Ingredients:
    • Clear title for the vehicle
    • Warning:
    • There are is a surge of third-party intermediaries that handle car donations on behalf of charities. Be sure to thoroughly research the broker and charity so that you are assured your donation is going where you want it to go. Read the warning from the Better Business Bureau for more information (see Resources).
    • Donating a car to a non-recognized charity or improper 3rd party broker could render you ineligible for tax deduction.

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