Top 5 Things to Consider When Donating a Car or Truck

  1. Does the charity you select accept vehicles and have a mechanism for picking up the car or truck?
  2. Does the charity’s mission and values align with your own? Why donate to an organization that supports causes that you disagree with?
  3. How will the charity use the vehicle? If the vehicle is going to be used by the charity or given to someone that the charity supports, is it safe for operation? Or, does the charity simply sell the vehicle at auction to an auto recycler?
  4. Do you plan to take a tax deduction from the donation? If you elect the new, higher standard deduction on your tax return you will likely not be able to take a deduction for the donation. Another consideration is how much you can deduct legally. In most cases, a $500 tax deduction is the maximum allowed, and most times the amount is much less. You should consult your tax specialist about your specific situation or research it at https://www.irs.gov/publications/p526
  5. Is the vehicle near or at the end of its life, or does it require costly repairs? If so then getting a cash offer from an auto recycler first is a good idea, here’s why:
    1. Any payment made to you in cash is your money to keep. Unless the vehicle was depreciated as a business asset or was an investment, the proceeds are yours tax-free.
    2. Selling to a licensed automobile recycler insures that the vehicle is recycled properly, and there is no recourse to you from the improper or unsafe use of that vehicle in the future.
    3. Selling to an auto recycler is easy. You get an instant cash offer without any haggling and it is towed away at a time that is convenient for you.

Making charitable donations is a great way of supporting causes that are important to you and we all benefit from the generosity of others at one time or another. In some cases it may make more sense to sell the vehicle and donate the cash proceeds to the charity of your choice, or keep the money and volunteer your time instead. The information provided here is meant to assist you in deciding whether donating or selling an unwanted vehicle is best for your situation. We encourage everyone to give generously and to consult with a tax professional before making a final decision.

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