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Donating a Car
Old 06-07-2009, 07:52 PM   #1
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Donating a Car

I am considering donating a car - 8 years old with 200k miles. Does anyone have experience going through this process?

Companies or agencies to recommend or stay away from, what is needed in regards to tax forms, etc.??

Any help is appreciated.

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Old 06-07-2009, 11:08 PM   #2
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Last year we donated a 14-year-old Taurus station wagon to Goodwill. We found them through the website, which allows you to choose among dozens of different charities. Goodwill arranged the tow truck (the Taurus was running but the tow truck was easier for them), and it left the house about a week later.

You sign up online and usually get an immediate yes/no answer on whether they want it. Before they pick up the car, you'll get donation paperwork either from the website or in the mail. You'll probably end up mailing away the title (in our case the title went to Maine for an Oahu donation) and just tossing the keys to the towtruck driver. I also felt obligated to hose the car off, pitchfork out the passenger compartment, and include a folder with the car's documents & maintenance records, but the charity might have specific requirements. The towtruck driver might give you a receipt for the pickup but they're just the contractor-- the charity's pickup receipt is probably your website printout.

Feels kinda strange to just drop a title in the mail. You spend over a decade caring for a piece of valuable paper, or at least something that's a hassle to replace. Then one day you have to decide that it's essentially worthless and you mail it off (along with your Social Security Number) to a bunch of strangers you met over the Internet.

You'll get a tax receipt a few weeks/months after you wave bye-bye to the tow truck. It depends on how often the auctions occur, so don't delay until November/December if you want the deduction in this tax year. The tax receipt will give you the gross proceeds (how much the car got at auction) and, depending on the auction price and the charity, it may even include a Form 8283. The charity also sends a 1098C to the IRS for them to computer-match to your return, so you report exactly what's on the tax receipt. If your itemized deductions are greater than your standard deduction then you'll probably be able to deduct the auction value. If not, well, then, I guess you did something nice for a charity.

We also considered the following charities but didn't research them:
Kokua in Kind (Hawaii only, but there might be a similar charity in your area)
"Kidney Cars"
Salvation Army


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Old 06-08-2009, 06:14 AM   #3
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I donated a car a few years ago to "Kids for Cars " . They came with the tow truck and picked up the car . I handed them the title and the keys and the driver handed me a receipt . That was in the good old days when you could deduct the book value of the car so since it was an old Jaguar ( piece of S ---) I did very well on my tax deduction.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:15 PM   #4
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Thanks - this is helful info, It sounds like the tax laws have changed over time in regars to handling the deduction. I didn't realize the deduction is not valid unless the car is sold.

I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:33 PM   #5
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We have donated several cars to the Salvation Army over the years. DH and I believe in running our cars into the ground before we get rid of them so their not worth much at trade in time. The last time was three weeks ago after our 2002 Ford Focus's engine block cracked. Husband called it rolling junk at that point so we were in the market for a new car.
The process was easy. We called and spoke to a person from the Salvation Army who got information on the car. They arranged for it to be towed and instructed us what to do with the title,keys etc. The day before the car was towed we received a call from the firm handling the auction of the car to confirm the pick up. They were there with in the time specified. We completed the paperwork and off she went. Our past experience has been that the car sells within a month and we get a receipt for what it went for. We have deducted $500 off of our taxes each time we did this.

Nords gives good advice, do not delay if you want the deduction for this tax year. This is about the easiest way we have found to get rid of a car.
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Old 06-10-2009, 10:24 PM   #6
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If it is running... keep it for the clunker trade in... it does get 18 mpgs or less
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:23 AM   #7
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I've done it. If I had to do it over again I would sell the car to CarMax and donate the money - much easier - especially handling the tax issues.
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
If it is running... keep it for the clunker trade in... it does get 18 mpgs or less
Or sell it to someone else looking for a clunker trade in. Then donate the $$ to charity.

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