How to Start Your Spring Cleaning by Donating Your Beat-Up Car

If decluttering expert Marie Kondo could only talk to you, she’d probably tell you that your old beat-up car that is collecting dust in your garage for years no longer “sparks joy.”

Donating a dilapidated car to a charity should be part of your spring cleaning checklist. Remember, maintaining a tidy home is much easier if there is no junk eating up space and requiring you to do regular wiping and dusting.

Aside from decluttering your garage, donating your car to a reputable charity has other surprising benefits.

You don’t have to spend to get rid of your beat-up car. Many charities can tow donated vehicles away for free, although the cost of towing will reduce your tax deduction.

Enjoy tax deduction. But to make sure that you get a healthy tax write-off, get a written notice from the charity if your car cost more than $500, or get an independent appraisal and the charity’s certification if it is worth more than $5000.

Also, keep in mind that if your vehicle costs more than $500, you will need to file IRS Form 8283 and attach your return.

You can get rid of a car that doesn’t have a title. In most cases, it is illegal to sell a vehicle or transfer ownership without a title. However, this is not an issue if you are going to donate it to a charity.

By donating a beat-up car that has a missing title, you can avoid the cost of applying for a replacement copy and get rid of it without having to pay for a towing company.

There is joy in purging yourself of unnecessary stuff that other people will find useful–just go ask Marie Kondo’s fans. Your “junk” can help charities deliver meals to the homeless, take sick people to doctors, and raise money to support poor students.

Related articles:

  • Why Should I Donate My Car to Charity?
  • Why (and Where) Should You Donate Your Junk Car?
  • Can you donate a car that doesn’t run?
  • Used and Junk Car
    Things to Keep in Mind

    To make sure that you reap the benefits of “giving,” do your due diligence before donating your junk car.

  • Choose a reputable charity. A good rule of thumb is to pick an organization with 501(c)(3) non-profit status with the IRS, which indicates that it is a legitimate charity and so your donations are tax-deductible.
  • Donate to a reputable vehicle donation center. For instance, you may want to consider contacting Donation Line Center, which is one of the most trusted centers that have partnered with esteemed charities, including America for Veterans Foundation, Fox Chase Cancer Center, ALS Hope Foundation, and Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
  • Ask your charity for a receipt. If the charities sell the donated cars, they must give the donors a receipt within 30 days of selling them.
  • Secure IRS form 8283. If the market value of the donated car is more than $500, you have to fill out this form with your tax return, and if it’s worth greater than $5000, you need to get an independent appraisal.
  • Take pictures of your car. This is particularly important if you’re filing for a tax deduction.
  • Itemize tax deductions on your return. You can deduct the full market value of your vehicle if the charity uses it for their operation, it donates or sells it to a needy person for below market value, or it repairs or improves the car to sell or use it.
  • Review the IRS publication 4303, i.e., A Donor’s Guide to Car Donations.
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