Anyone donated a car to charity?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
texasdiver
Posts: 2548
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:50 am
Location: Vancouver WA

Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by texasdiver » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:39 pm

I've got a 2004 Toyota Sienna I want to get rid of this summer. I'm the only owner. I bought it new in summer 2003 and have 291,000 miles on it. At this point the catalytic converters have gone out and I'm looking at the neighborhood of $1200-$2000 just to replace them so that the car will pass emissions testing and allow me to renew the plates. https://repairpal.com/estimator/toyota/ ... ement-cost There are other nagging issues that need fixing at some point in the front suspension. I replaced it with a Prius as my commute car and basically just use the Sienna to haul lumber and garden supplies once or twice a month.

I could hassle with putting it on Craigslist. But I hate to hand my problems off to someone else. So it occurs to me that i could do the thing where you donate the car to the local public radio station and they haul it away and sell it at auction. And then you eventually claim some tax deduction. I've read through the process on a couple of web sites and the information is conflicting. Some say you can claim the fair market value of the car if you document it through Kelley Blue book or some such. Others say you can ONLY claim the auction price for the car that the charity receives and it may take up to 3 years for that to happen.

Just wondering if anyone else has done this and how easy/complicated the process turned out to be.

User avatar
bertilak
Posts: 6002
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:23 pm
Location: East of the Pecos, West of the Mississippi

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by bertilak » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:46 pm

I donated a car to charity. It was not even in derivable condition. I first tried to sell it at several places. The best i could get was I PAY to have them haul it away. I called a charity that advertised for used cars. They picked it up (flatbed), auctioned it off and a few weeks later sent me an official donation receipt for the amount it auctioned for ($1500, I think).
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker, the Cowboy Poet

User avatar
ClevrChico
Posts: 1237
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by ClevrChico » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:49 pm

Someone donated a 14 year old vehicle this month to our charity through an organization that handles vehicle donations. The net donation to our charity? $25 is all!

I'm a bit frustrated, as the scrap metal value alone is probably $300 if the vehicle was completely worthless.

I'm going to suggest we not encourage this any longer, as someone is making money, but it's not the charity.

User avatar
Chan_va
Posts: 763
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:15 pm

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by Chan_va » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:50 pm

It's fairly painless.
If the value of the car is less than $500, you can just claim it with a justification from KBB. If it's more than that - the charity will need to provide you documentation of auction value. Should take a couple of months.
Research the charity that you can considering. Most charities will typically outsource this car donation to a 3rd party, and many 3rd parties only donate about 20c on the dollar to charity and pocket the rest. Look for a charity that will maximize what will be donated.

If you are donating in 2018, with the standard deduction going up, I think you will need to run the numbers to see if you can itemize, for the tax deduction to be worth getting the documentation.

SlowMovingInvestor
Posts: 751
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:27 am

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:51 pm

One thing to note is that under new tax laws, the charitable donation is not likely to give you any benefit unless your other itemized deductions add up to > standard deduction (24K for couples). SALT + mortage are the big one for most people, but medical expenses could be another large expense.

You might still want to donate to charity, but there would be no charitable benefit.

SlowMovingInvestor
Posts: 751
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:27 am

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:52 pm

bertilak wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:46 pm
I donated a car to charity. It was not even in derivable condition. I first tried to sell it at several places. The best i could get was I PAY to have them haul it away. I called a charity that advertised for used cars. They picked it up (flatbed), auctioned it off and a few weeks later sent me an official donation receipt for the amount it auctioned for ($1500, I think).
Really ? 1500 for a non drivable car ? That's pretty impressive.

island
Posts: 1726
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:45 pm

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by island » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:56 pm

We've done it with all our cars since we keep all for years and don't want to be bothered with trying to sell or trade in.
All we did was Call a local charity, they send someone to pick it up drivable or not, do the paperwork, title transfer, whatever, and send the donation slip to us in the mail. There was no haggling on the value, we got what we got, based on sale or blue book, I don't recall. Usually in the $1500-2500 range. Hassle-free, one less thing to worry about.

User avatar
bertilak
Posts: 6002
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:23 pm
Location: East of the Pecos, West of the Mississippi

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by bertilak » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:01 pm

SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:52 pm
bertilak wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:46 pm
I donated a car to charity. It was not even in derivable condition. I first tried to sell it at several places. The best i could get was I PAY to have them haul it away. I called a charity that advertised for used cars. They picked it up (flatbed), auctioned it off and a few weeks later sent me an official donation receipt for the amount it auctioned for ($1500, I think).
Really ? 1500 for a non drivable car ? That's pretty impressive.
I was greatly surprised myself!
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker, the Cowboy Poet

Mike Scott
Posts: 883
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:45 pm

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by Mike Scott » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:17 pm

If you pick a place that advertises car donations, chances are they know how to make it easy. I've done a couple in the last two years. I mail them the title, leave the keys in it, they tow the car and about 6 weeks later I get a tax receipt.

User avatar
Flobes
Posts: 971
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:40 am

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by Flobes » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:23 pm

This topic comes up with frequency, and here's my perennial answer:
* Donate your car to the school district's industrial arts program.
* Future mechanics will spend hours taking it apart, then putting it back together.
* It's more than OK if it needs repairs. Fixing is a goal.
* They are always in need of cars.
* And society gets well-trained mechanics.

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 7428
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:34 pm

ClevrChico wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:49 pm
Someone donated a 14 year old vehicle this month to our charity through an organization that handles vehicle donations. The net donation to our charity? $25 is all!

I'm a bit frustrated, as the scrap metal value alone is probably $300 if the vehicle was completely worthless.

I'm going to suggest we not encourage this any longer, as someone is making money, but it's not the charity.
Maybe 6 years ago when scrap metal was $200 a ton. I haven't brought scrap over for a while, but know other metals are in the toilet. I'd guess a car in scrap metal value these days is maybe $25. If someone stripped the car for more valuable materials (wiring harness and copper, aluminum, brass) it could bring $45. If it were a popular car, the parts could bring more, but that's a junkyard play and they pay close to nothing for cars.

I've stripped a dozen cars for part resale and always take every single piece of metal to the scrapyard for cash.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

OhioGozaimas
Posts: 284
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:27 pm

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by OhioGozaimas » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:35 pm

Here are a couple of IRS references.

See IRS Pub. 17, p. 167-168:
https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p17.pdf

A Donor’s Guide to Vehicle Donations
https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/pub4303.pdf

Good luck!

User avatar
ClevrChico
Posts: 1237
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by ClevrChico » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:10 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:34 pm
ClevrChico wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:49 pm
Someone donated a 14 year old vehicle this month to our charity through an organization that handles vehicle donations. The net donation to our charity? $25 is all!

I'm a bit frustrated, as the scrap metal value alone is probably $300 if the vehicle was completely worthless.

I'm going to suggest we not encourage this any longer, as someone is making money, but it's not the charity.
Maybe 6 years ago when scrap metal was $200 a ton. I haven't brought scrap over for a while, but know other metals are in the toilet. I'd guess a car in scrap metal value these days is maybe $25. If someone stripped the car for more valuable materials (wiring harness and copper, aluminum, brass) it could bring $45. If it were a popular car, the parts could bring more, but that's a junkyard play and they pay close to nothing for cars.

I've stripped a dozen cars for part resale and always take every single piece of metal to the scrapyard for cash.
I checked scrap prices on our local yard, and it would value $385 for the nearly 3 ton vehicle that was donated. Radiator and cats pay more, with a $15 deduction for fuel tank removal.

I've seen a Craigslist scrapper pay $250 for a very rough car recently. For comparison, thrift store value of a washing machine is minimum of $40.

HIinvestor
Posts: 1590
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:23 am

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by HIinvestor » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:21 pm

We donated our car—old heavy Cadillac in 1999 to the public radio station. It was still working but had a big dent from being hit while turning. It was auctioned off promptly. I think we claimed the Kelley Blue Book $3000.

User avatar
HueyLD
Posts: 5859
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:30 am

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by HueyLD » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:25 pm

Flobes wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:23 pm
This topic comes up with frequency, and here's my perennial answer:
* Donate your car to the school district's industrial arts program.
* Future mechanics will spend hours taking it apart, then putting it back together.
* It's more than OK if it needs repairs. Fixing is a goal.
* They are always in need of cars.
* And society gets well-trained mechanics.
Thank you Flobes. I like your suggestion.

HIinvestor
Posts: 1590
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:23 am

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by HIinvestor » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:28 pm

Yes, the idea of inquiring about donating a car to any school for their students to repair is an excellent one. We have a community college program that does this—don’t think our HSs do this.

Dottie57
Posts: 3961
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:31 pm

My mom donated an old car to the last cal technical school where students fixed it up and sold it. She received paper work sowing the price it was sold for. The price was her tax deduction.

BBQ Nut
Posts: 50
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:19 am

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by BBQ Nut » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:39 pm

Yes.

Donated a junker Toyota pickup to my favorite local listener supported FM jazz station.

Quick, easy, painless.

If you are trying to eek out every penny possible to your pocket (how's that for alliteration?), then sell it to a private party.

Wanna just get rid of it easy peasy - donate it.

MichaelM
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:02 am

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by MichaelM » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:55 pm

Donated wrecked 2004 Subaru Forester to Wheels For Wishes (Make-A-Wish). The vehicle sold for $625 according to the letter I received from the charity. Also received 1098-C showing same amount. All I did at my body shop vendor was make the decision to donate and get anything I wanted out of the car. My body shop was very happy to help transition the car to the charity by letting the charity come remove the car off their property. I was only wanting the charity to get something from my misfortune as I couldn’t justify the repair plus I was mad at myself and wanted to move on to new challenges. Ymmv. Michael

stan1
Posts: 5698
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by stan1 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:53 pm

I donated a 15 year old Ford Ranger about 10 years ago. They sell it at auction then send you a receipt for the amount it sells for. My marginal tax rate back then was 37.3% so the deduction was decent and it saved me some hassle. Under new tax law I will be taking the standard federal deduction and won't be itemizing my federal return going forward so now I'd go out and find an auto broker willing to buy it from me but that's still less hassle than a private party sale for a low value vehicle.

User avatar
BolderBoy
Posts: 3986
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:16 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by BolderBoy » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:59 pm

Someone on here a year or two ago posted his story about donating his car to his local PBS station. It was involved in a crash while being driven by the pickup driver. The ensuing legal hassles that the poster endured were pretty amazing.

His net comment was that he'd never donate another car.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

texasdiver
Posts: 2548
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:50 am
Location: Vancouver WA

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by texasdiver » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:22 am

Thanks guys. I think even with the new tax law we will be over the 24k standard deduction in 2018 so it would still make sense to donate for the small tax deduction. What I'll probably do is just put it on craigslist this summer for a week or two and see if anyone wants it. If not, call up a charity and have it hauled away.

runner3081
Posts: 1500
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:22 pm

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by runner3081 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:31 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:39 pm
I could hassle with putting it on Craigslist. But I hate to hand my problems off to someone else.
I would think twice about that. I have sold 2 cars that were not able to be driven on CL. The Ford Escort fetched $800 with a blown head gasket and a Nissan Altima that had many issues and didn't start for $1,100.

As long as you disclose everything in the ad, it isn't an issue. In fact, you will have fewer "lurkers" wasting your time on a junker.

Have also donated a car a long time ago with a blown transmission. Very simple, arrange a time, leave the keys in the car and they tow it away.

startwithtruth
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:35 pm

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by startwithtruth » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:00 pm

I've donated cars in the past, and was sometimes frustrated with how long it took for them to be picked up.

Last year, the head gasket blew on our 2009 Toyota Corolla at 224K miles and I requested offers from several junker/damaged car websites; I ended up selling it to peddle.com (redirected from junkcarmedics.com) for $1,075; I received lower offers from a few others (bestpricedamagedcars.com and damagedcars.com). Peddle.com would've given me $940 if it had to be towed, but since it was (barely) driveable, I used back roads to drive it 30 miles to the specified junkyard.

I used an old, spam clogged email address as I didn't know how reputable some of the sites were. I got the impression that buyers wanted it for parts, and apparently there's a lot of demand for parts from this model so YMMV (pun intended :happy )

ubermax
Posts: 1428
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:19 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by ubermax » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:32 pm

Donated a car to a Vietnam Vets group , they picked it up quickly and even provided paperwork for tax purposes - it was a good experience .

boglegirl
Posts: 271
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:41 pm

Re: Anyone donated a car to charity?

Post by boglegirl » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:33 pm

We donated a non-driveable car last year. If you donate to the services that advertise on the radio - all of the money raised from the car, except $25, goes to advertising and administrative costs. (ClevrChico mentioned this upthread). So please make sure you donate to a charity that will use the car in their ministry, or sell it themselves. Look them up on Charity Navigator or do some other due diligence.

http://www.latimes.com/local/california ... olumn.html
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/21/donatin ... rakes.html

Post Reply