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Frequently Asked Tax Questions

Itemized Deductions, Standard Deductions - Gifts & Charitable Contributions

  1. I donated a used car to a qualified charity that the charity sold immediately after I donated it. I itemize my deductions, and I would like to take a charitable contribution deduction for the donation. Do I need to attach any special forms to my return? What records do I need to keep?

Rev. date: 12/13/2013

I donated a used car to a qualified charity that the charity sold immediately after I donated it. I itemize my deductions, and I would like to take a charitable contribution deduction for the donation. Do I need to attach any special forms to my return? What records do I need to keep?

Your recordkeeping and filing requirements depend on the amount of your claimed deduction.
1) If you claim a deduction of at least $250 but not more than $500 for the car donation, you will need a written acknowledgment from the charity. The acknowledgment must be obtained by the earlier of the date you file your return for the year of the donation, or the due date of the return with extensions.  The acknowledgment must include the following:
Do not attach the written acknowledgment to your return.  Instead, retain it with your records to substantiate your donation.
2) If you claim a deduction of more than $500 but not more than $5000 for the car donation, the written acknowledgment from the charity must be timely, must be attached to your return and must include all of the information listed in (1) above, plus the following additional information:
For this acknowledgement to be considered timely, generally you must receive it within 30 days of the sale of the car.  In lieu of a written acknowledgment, the charity may provide you a completed Form 1098-C (PDF), Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes, that contains the same information.
You must also complete Section A of Form 8283 (PDF), Noncash Charitable Contributions, and attach both the written acknowledgment and the form to your return.
3) If you claim a deduction of more than $5,000 for the car donation, you must obtain a written acknowledgment with the information described in both (1) and (2) above.  You must also complete Section B of Form 8283, and attach both the written acknowledgment and the form to your return.  An appraisal is not required if your deduction is limited to the gross proceeds of the sale.