Get Cash for Your Car Donation
Have an old vehicle you would like to donate for cash? Follow the steps below to get cash for your car donation.
Determining Your Eligibility
- Find the relevant form. A tax deduction reduces the amount of your taxable income, thereby lowering the total amount of taxes you pay, making you cash. The charitable donation deduction on your federal income tax return is located on Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) Form 1040 Schedule A - Itemized Deductions (“Schedule A”).
- You may itemize deductions on Schedule A or take your standard deduction.
- Taxpayers should normally take whichever amount is higher.
- Determine if you are eligible to take a tax deduction for donating your car to charity. To determine if you are eligible to take a tax deduction:
- Complete Schedule A. Read the Schedule A Instructions and follow them carefully. If you need assistance with this, you can contact a licensed tax attorney, certified public accountant (“CPA”) or IRS Enrolled Agent for help.
- Compare the total itemized deduction amount on Schedule A line 29 to your standard deduction amount, located on IRS Form 1040 (“Form 1040), page 2, in the left margin.
- If the amount on Schedule A is higher than your standard deduction, you are eligible to take a tax deduction for donating your car to charity.
Choosing a Charity
- If you are eligible for a tax deduction, make a list of all local charities. Find nearby charities:
- Look in your phone book. Check the Yellow Pages under ‘Charitable Organizations’ for a listing of local charities.
- Do an online search. Use your favorite search engine to search ‘charitable organizations’ or ‘charities’ and then narrow the search to your local area by including your location, for example “charitable organizations” and “Indianapolis”.
- Use a charity guide or database. Several organizations offer searchable databases of charitable organizations. For example, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and America’s Charities are three good places to start your search.
- Check to ensure that donations to the charities on your list are tax deductible. A donation is tax deductible if the charity is a tax-exempt charity under the federal tax code. You may check on an organizations tax-exempt status using the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) Exempt Organizations Select Check tool.
- Cross off any organizations from your list that do not have tax exempt status.
- Contact each of the charities remaining on your list and ask if car donations are accepted. Cross off any organizations that do not accept vehicle donations.
Donating Your Car
- Donate your car to one of the charities remaining on your list. You will want to be sure to get a receipt for your donation and keep it with your tax records.
- Deduct the donation on your federal income taxes by filling out and attaching Schedule A to your Form 1040. Read the Schedule A Instructions and follow them carefully. If you need assistance with this, you can contact a licensed tax attorney, certified public accountant (“CPA”) or IRS Enrolled Agent for help.
Junkyard Disposal for Ineligible Cars
- If you are not eligible for a tax deduction, make a list of local junkyards. You can find junkyards in area by:
- Looking in your phone book. Check the yellow pages under “Auto Parts” or “Junkyards”.
- Doing an online search. Check local business listings online using directories such as Yellow Pages, Yahoo Local or run a search for used auto parts or junkyards using your favorite search engine.
- Call each junkyard on your list and ask how much they will pay you for your car.
- Donate your car to the junkyard that offers to pay the most. To do this, take the vehicle and title to the junkyard, sign the title over to whomever the junkyard requests, and take your cash.
- Be sure to have a friend follow, so you have a way home!
- If the car does not run, you will need the junkyard or an independent tow truck service, whom you pay, to two the car to the yard for you. Call and ask if the junkyard provides tow service, and if not, shop around for the best deal on a private tow.
- The standard deduction for 2012 federal income tax returns was $5,990 for those with a filing status of single or married filing jointly, $11,900 for married couples filing jointly or those filling Qualifying Widow, and $8,700 for those filing as head of household.
- Donate a Vehicle