Three Tips for Getting the Most from Donating Your Used Vehicle

Donating your used vehicle to a charity is a noble gesture that could benefit you as well.

Considering donating your used vehicle? It’s a noble gesture. And it’s one that could benefit both you and the charity you choose – but only if you do it the right way. E3 Spark Plugs offers a few tips:

  1. Do your homework: Before signing over your vehicle, make sure you do your research. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous folks out there who will set up and/or market bogus nonprofit organizations, keeping donations for themselves. Make sure that the charity you choose is, indeed, a genuine charitable organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service, in good standing and with a 501c3 designation, which will allow you to receive a tax benefit for your donation. A few great resources for doing that are Forbes’ America’s 200 Largest Charities list, your local Better Business Bureau, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and Some of these resources include financial disclosures from charitable organizations, so that you can see how they distribute the funds they raise.
  2. Know your value: Confirm the value of your vehicle and make sure that the charitable organization you choose knows that figure. Still, understand that there may be limits on the dollar value that you’re legally allowed to deduct from your taxes. For instance, if the charity you choose will actually use your vehicle, you may be allowed to deduct the value up to a state or federally predetermined amount. If the charity will sell your vehicle and use the proceeds to serve their beneficiaries or further their cause, you’ll be allowed to deduct only the amount of money for which the charity is paid for the car.
  3. Mind the paperwork: Donating your vehicle and being able to take advantage of the benefits require a little paperwork. You’ll need to legally transfer your vehicle’s title over to the charitable organization. And you’ll need to cancel the plates and tags. Laws governing this vary, so be sure to check with your state or your local DMV for all the details.

In our next blog, we’ll give you a list of great charities and causes that could benefit from your generous donation of your used vehicle, whether it’s running or not. Got more tips? Post them on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.


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