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Frequently Asked Tax Questions

Itemized Deductions, Standard Deduction - Gifts & Charitable Contributions

  1. I donated a used car to a qualified charity that sold the car immediately after I donated it. I would like to take the charitable contribution as an itemized deduction. Do I need to attach a special form to my return for the donation? What records should I keep?

Rev. date: 08/03/2017

I donated a used car to a qualified charity that sold the car immediately after I donated it. I would like to take the charitable contribution as an itemized deduction. Do I need to attach a special form to my return for the donation? What records should I keep?

Recordkeeping and filing requirements depend on the amount you claim for the deduction.
1) If the deduction you claim for the car is at least $250 but not more than $500, you'll need a written acknowledgment from the charity. You must obtain the acknowledgment by the date you file your return for the donation year or by the return due date with extensions, whichever is earlier. The acknowledgment must include:
Don't attach the written acknowledgment to your return. Instead, keep it with your records to substantiate your donation.
2) If the deduction you claim for the car is more than $500 but not more than $5,000, 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:
You must generally receive the written acknowledgment within 30 days of the sale of the car for the acknowledgment to be considered timely. The charity may provide you a completed Form 1098-C, Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes, which contains the same information, in lieu of the written statement.
You must also complete Section A of Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, and attach both the written acknowledgment and this form to your return.
3) If the deduction you claim for the car is more than $5,000, 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 isn't required if your deduction is limited to the gross proceeds of the sale.