I’m Donating My Car: How Do I Deal With The IRS?

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At  Cars Helping Veterans, we pride ourselves on the time and effort that we take in answering your questions. We hear everything from, “What kinds of cars are do you accept?” (short answer: all of them), to, “Which location is closest to my city/town/township?” (short answer: depends on where you are, but we’ll come to you).

That’s why we encourage you to call us, at 1-888-480-VETS (8387), or send us a message via our contact form, and we’ll address whatever issue you raise. Don’t worry if your question sounds obvious, or seems like one you could answer yourself. Everybody’s situation is different, so we’re happy to talk, and find out what’s on your mind.

One of the more frequent questions we hear is: “How does my donation affect me in dealing with the IRS?” To ease your anxiety, we’ll give you the basic rundown in this post. That way, you’ll get credit for your donation, and stay focused on the goal that motivates us every day – helping the veterans in your area, when they need it most.

*Please note, everyone’s situation is different, so it’s always recommended to consult with a registered financial advisor or CPA to learn how a donation tax deduction would impact your individual financial situation.

What Else Do I Need?

All you need, besides your receipt, is a clear title to the vehicle. 

If the owner is deceased, you’ll have to submit a death certificate, plus the title, and executor’s rights paperwork. If you’re not sure what to do, give us a call, and we’ll discuss your issue.

What Happens Next?

Within 30 days after your car sells, we will send you a 1098-C form to file with your taxes. The amount that you can claim depends on the final selling price.

For example, if your donated car sold for $501 or more, congratulations! In that case, you can claim the full amount on your 1098-C form. If the amount is $500 or less, you can claim your car’s fair market value, up to that amount, as you’ll see shortly.

Safeguard Your Paperwork

This goes without saying, but it’s important. Once we haul your car away, we will send you a tax donation receipt in about 10 days. When it arrives, find a safe place to keep it, whether it’s your wallet, a folder on your desk, or that special  refrigerator magnet that holds all your crucial paperwork.

Don’t delay! Without your receipt, the IRS won’t give you any credit for your donation. You’ll feel better, knowing you can produce it when it’s time.


How Do I File?

If your car sold for more than $500 you will be sent a 1098 C form that CHV will send to you. The IRS considers it good enough for documentation, so a 1098-C form isn’t needed. Just enclose your receipt with your regular tax return.

If your car sold for $500 or more, but less than $5,000, you must file a 1098-C form. You’ll also need to file Form 8283, which the IRS uses for charitable donations of property, like vehicles.

If your car sold for $5,000 or more, you must get a signature from a qualified appraiser,  and include it in your 8283 form (Section B).

I’m Ready To File: Now What?

Once you’ve collected the necessary paperwork, and complete the forms, take a few minutes to review it. After all the effort you’ve put in, you don’t want to have to fill out more paperwork, or risk losing the deduction.

If you don’t trust your own eyes, that’s fine. Get a friend, neighbor or relative to look at your paperwork before submitting it. If you’re still not sure that it’s right, or there’s an issue nagging at you, call us, so we can discuss it.

For specialized advice, seek out a tax preparer in your area, or visit the IRS online, at https://www.irs.gov. You can also check out IRS Donation Guide 4303, “A Donor’s Guide to Car Donations,” to help figure out the actual value of your donated vehicle.
If you’re ready to donate your vehicle, visit our simple to use online donation form now.   

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