Donating a car to charity has been one of the common ways many support charities. And charities can benefit a great deal from such vehicle donations. If you’re looking to give off your vehicle, there are a couple of things to know. We’ll look into how to make your donations plus pitfalls to avoid. You’ll also see the inherent tax implications and how you can partner with Food for Life.

How to Donate a Car to Charity 

Donate a Car

Depending on their specific needs, a charity would utilize your car gift differently. Regardless of how they use your gift, every donation counts. Your donations will go a long way in advancing a social cause.

The best way to donate a car begins with locating a charity that appeals to you. Inform them of your decision and call them to come for your vehicle. You can reach out to the charities through their phone lines and official websites.

Otherwise, sell off your car and give the money to a charity organization. That’ll be more helpful to the charity than would a charity auction sale. Your proceeds could then help advance charity causes such as ending child hunger or helping underprivileged women around you.

Giving off your vehicle is pretty straightforward when dealing with already established vehicle donation programs. Your donation doesn’t have to be in optimal working condition, whether it’s a car or truck. Some charities offer donors free pick-up of the vehicles from donors. The twists and turns of the gift begin when you’re interested in a tax deduction.

Pitfalls to Avoid When Donating Your Car 

Your intention to donate a car to charity is a noble one. You’d, however, not want to incur unforeseen liability from your charitable endeavor. Whatever becomes of the vehicle shouldn’t be your responsibility after giving it off. There are pitfalls to avoid in the course of giving your car to nonprofit organizations.

There are two charity extremes to avoid. On the one hand are charities that don’t have the license to operate in your country. On the other hand, some charity organizations have legal permission but with exaggerated donation programs. For instance, a charity organization could advertise an “unlimited” tax deduction on your gift. As we’ll see later, tax deductions have regulations from public policies.

Also, ensure that you pick up a receipt from the charity bearing details of the transaction. To avoid potential risk, retrieve your vehicle license plate from the automobile. You wouldn’t want your name called out over the vehicle after transferring its ownership.

Moreover, inform your state’s transport agency of the vehicle ownership transfer. The general rule is to avoid incomplete vehicle transfer and ensure to document the donation appropriately. We’ll see details of how to go about tax deductions while avoiding these traprisks shortly.

Tax Deduction

Usually, when you donate a car to charity, what you have is a win-win situation. Donors have the privilege of getting a tax deduction from the Internal Revenue Service. However, you’d need to look a little more closely when you’re making an automobile donation. Note the following to make the most of your gift as tax relief.

Locate a Nonprofit Organization Receiving Vehicle Donations

We’ve highlighted that you need to work with a licensed organization. However, not all licensed NGOs receive car donations directly. Reaching out to charities taking car donations directly saves you much stress.  For instance, you won’t have to patronize for-profit third-party agents advertising to help with car donations. Moreover, you’ll  maximize all profits in advancing the noble cause of the charity.


Charity organizations around you may have programs that receive car donations that aren’t well known. You may want to speak to a representative to check if the organization operates such gifts. Locate a nonprofit that effectively advances a cause in a region you prefer and support them.

Conduct a Proper Vehicle Transfer

Ensure that all transfer papers show in detail, a change in vehicle ownership. That way, you’ll be legally relieved of any further taxes on the vehicle usage.

What Is the Fair Market Value of the Car?

The fair market value (FMV) of the car refers to its current market value. When applying for tax deductions, the tax office could require the fair market value of the vehicle. The FMV isn’t simply the highest price tag on a vehicle for the year. Use the fair market value in processing your tax deduction. If you don’t get an FMV, you’d have to deduct the auction price of the car you donate.

When Do I Need a Fair Market Value on My Car Donation?

You’ll need an FMV if the charity decides to use the car for its social activities. Also, if the organization makes renovations before selling the vehicle, an FMV would come in handy. If they sell the automobile at auction price to an underprivileged person, you’ll need the FMV. And finally, if the car you’re giving is worth less than $500, find its fair market value. 

Prepare All Necessary Paperwork 

Tax audits are more likely to investigate non-cash donations. It is, therefore, necessary to hold proper documentation of your vehicle donations. There are also regulations on which car donation is tax-deductible. When the car gift is worth more than $250, request an official acknowledgement from the organization.

If it’s up to $500, you’ll need to complete section A of IRS Form 8283. And if the vehicle is worth above $5,000, you’d complete section B of IRS Form 8283. In this case, the donor is also required to get an appraisal of the car and attach that appraisal to their tax return. You can see the IRS charity donors guide for more information.

Contact FFL

We at Food for Life provide food for kids all around the world. Food for Life aims to end child hunger by giving millions of meals to malnourished children. Your cars, boats, trucks, or farm equipment can help support FFL’s social cause. Contact Food for Life to find more information about how you can partner with us. You’ll get a quick response from the team.


Many charity organizations are putting in much work to help underprivileged demographics around us. Some operate within your local community or state. Others have a global impact and a broader target audience.

Donating your vehicle can go a long way in assisting charity organizations. Take note of necessary precautions when transferring the ownership of your car to the charity. You could get a sizable tax deduction for your donation while helping improve people’s lives.