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Car Donation

Updated on July 11, 2009

Why Donate Your Car

There are many reasons to donate your car.

  1. Maybe your a do gooder who want to donate your car to a worthy cause
  2. Maybe your car broke down, and you can't sell it so you can donate it
  3. Of course there are also substantial tax benefits to donating your car

How to Donate:

For many organization such as Family Care Foundation all you have to do is call or submit a form online, and the organization will come pick up and tow your car for free. The Family Car Foundation has fast and free pickup nationwide, but many organizations are local. Donations can also include a boat, truck, or RV. There are five important steps to donating your car:

  1. Determine what to donate
  2. Determine the vehicles value
  3. Complete the donation form given by your charity
  4. Acquire title for the vehicle, and arrange for a pickup
  5. Get the tax benefit

Step 1: You can donate any vehicle, that includes cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, RVs , and even boats. The only limit is you need to own the title to the car or most charities will be unable to accept the donation.

Step 2: A tax law that came into affect as of January 2005 took the guess work out of the value of your car, by giving you a tax benefit equal to what the charity gets for your car. This is helpful because it simplifies the process of claiming your donated car for taxes. Also, this eliminates the chance of getting in trouble for overstating the value of your car. Another new helpful law states that if the condition of your car causes is it to sell for less than $500 than you can get a tax deduction of fair market value.

Step 3: The third step is the simplest, all that needs to be done is to fill out the form given by your chosen charity. Make sure that you review the sheet to ensure that the contract is to your standards and that your car is going to an actual charity and not a middle man trying to take your car.

Step 4: Once the charity reviews your contract and decides to accept your car then set up a time and date for the charity to pick up your vehicle. *Note: Not all charities will pick up your vehicle, some charities will charge to pick it up, and your vehicle might not even be accepted for donation in the first place. Also, not all national charities will have a donation site in your area. The most important part of this step, and arguably the whole donation process, is to have the title in hand when the car is picked up (or dropped off) to prove that you are the owner of the vehicle and so the charity then has legal possession of the vehicle. Before the car is donated be sure to remove all personal items.

Step 5: The final step in the car donation process is to claim the car on your taxes. A legitimate charity will give you a receipt after donation to allow you to claim the vehicle on your taxes. Without this sheet you will be unable to receive tax benefits so be sure that you are given by your charitable organization.

Which Organization to Pick:

There are hundreds of organizations from which to choose from. Some organizations are local which means that they will help donate the money to support a cause in your community which for some people is a better choice because you can see the difference your donation has made. Although there are many organizations that help both national and international efforts such as the above organization, Family Care Foundation. Family Care Foundation is a non-profit organization registered with the IRS so you will get the most money back on your taxes. Vehicles donated to Family Care Foundation will be sold for parts or as a whole to earn money that will help disaster relief in over 50 countries.


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