Donate Old Car for Tax Deduction

Today we donated our old car to a charity called, Wheels for Wishes. (This is NOT sponsored content by the way.) Watch the pickup process, Donate Old Car for Tax Deduction video at the end of this post.

There are many reasons for deciding to donate your old car versus selling it. It is very helpful on the financial side of things during the decision making process to know that you can get a tax deduction for donating your car.

The story: Last year we bought an AWD SUV to replace our minivan. Shortly after we got it, our plans of selling the van changed, and so did our simple little lives. 

Our 2-year-old was diagnosed with Leukemia in early 2020. When we found out that we would be traveling weekly to Salt Lake City to get chemo treatments, we decided to keep the van for our son to use as a commuter car.

Aside from the fuel economy benefits of keeping the van, we were also told to always have the car packed for an unanticipated hospital stay. The van has worked perfectly to have as a bonus vehicle that was always ready to go. We called it our Go Van Go, named after one of our kids storybooks, or simply the chemo van. 

Jump ahead to today, our son has reached the long anticipated “Maintenance Phase” of his chemo treatments. This means, we only have monthly visits to Salt Lake, and chemo is only administered quarterly. What a relief.

Finally, it was time to sell the van. Unfortunately, the week we wanted to list it, we noticed a daunting sound in the engine. It still drove fine, but there was something ominous looming under the hood and now, well, we don’t feel good about selling it anymore. We would not want to pass on something like that. My husband is quite a mechanic and he unofficially declared it “totaled” based on the amount it would cost to fix vs. the value of the van. 

While pondering about what to do with it, I remembered something that my uncle had done in California with an old car of his. He donated a vehicle to Deseret Industries.

I did a quick google search to find auto donations near me and found the non-profit organization that fit perfectly for our family at this time.

We chose Wheels For Wishes.  This non-profit hit home for us because Dawson was actually nominated for Make-a-Wish last year, and is currently in position for a wish. What a neat way to give back already!

How to choose what charity to give your car to?

There are many non-profits that have automobile donation programs. As with any charitable donation, you will want to select a charity that aligns with your goals and values.

Something more to consider is if they are a legitimate operation and can provide you with the proper tax information.

Wheels for wishes is a “501(c)(3) nonprofit car donation operation. Your completely tax-deductible donation helps kids in need and it is absolutely free! Call today for a quick and easy tow away and help grant some wishes!

Wheels for Wishes

Check out more ways to sniff out a scam here.

Places to donate old car for tax deduction?

Most national charity thrift stores have programs, along with other non-profit organizations. Here are a few:

  • Goodwill
  • Deseret Industries
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Kars4Kids
  • Cars4Moms
  • Wheels for Wishes/Make a wish
  • Veteran Car Donations
  • Comment on this post if you know of one that I have missed.

How much can you write off for a tax deduction donating an old car?

Fair market value or $500.

If the charity sells your car sells for $500 or less, you can deduct $500 or your car’s fair market value, whichever is less. For example, if your car is valued at $650 but sells for $350, you can deduct $500. Most charities will report the sales price of your car to you on Form 1098-C.


Are you ready to donate your old car for a tax write off?

When we told our son that we were going to give our van to Make-A-Wish to grant sick kids wishes, he thought that was super cool and was on board to give his beloved chemo van away. I will always remember, “Goodbye van!”

If you have a vehicle that is taking up a parking space, is too much money to fix, or is just something you don’t need around anymore, consider filling out this simple form to schedule a pickup time.

Donating our van was so easy! They had the vehicle gone in 5 days. We would absolutely donate old car for tax deduction again for sure!

Here is a cute video of the van pick-up day. 

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