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:

  • A detailed description of the car.
  • A statement as to whether or not the charity provided any goods or services in return for the car other than intangible religious benefits and if so, a description and good faith estimate of the value of the goods and services.
  • If the charity provided solely intangible religious benefits, a statement to that effect.

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:

  • Your name and taxpayer identification number (TIN).
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • The date of the contribution.
  • A certification that the charity sold the car in an arm’s length transaction between unrelated parties.
  • The date the car was sold by the charity.
  • The gross proceeds of the sale.
  • A statement that the deductible amount may not exceed the amount of the gross proceeds of the sale.

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.