Vehicle Donation Receipt Template

man-in-front-of-car-holding-vehicle-donation-receipt A vehicle donation receipt is the written acknowledgment produced by a charitable organization that outlines the donation of a qualified vehicle. The IRS requires donors to submit appropriate receipts to claim deductions for vehicle donations on their tax returns. A qualified vehicle is any of the following:

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  • Airplanes;
  • Boats; and
  • Motor vehicles that are manufactured for use on public roads.

Table of Contents

Is a Vehicle Donation Tax Deductible?

The amount a donor can claim to deduct on their tax return depends on what the charity does with the vehicle once it is in its possession. If the charity sells the vehicle, the donor’s deduction is limited to the sale’s gross proceeds, but if it keeps the vehicle for any other purpose, the deduction is limited to the vehicle’s fair market value.

Receipt Requirements

What to Include

Charitable organizations receiving vehicle donations have to follow strict rules regarding donation receipts. The information included on the receipt depends on two criteria: the vehicle’s value and what the organization plans to do with the vehicle when the donation is final.


Vehicle Valued Less than $250 Receipts for vehicles worth less than $250 must include:

  • Charities name and address;
  • Donation date, location, and method; and
  • Physical description of the vehicle.

Vehicle Valued Between $250-$500 Receipts for vehicles worth between $250 and $500 must include:

  • Everything listed for vehicles valued at less than $250; and
  • One of the following statements:
    • No goods or services were exchanged between the charity and the donor for the vehicle;
    • Description and estimated value of goods or services exchanged between the charity and the donor; or
    • Goods or services exchanged between the charity and the donor consisted only of intangible religious benefits.

Vehicle Valued Between $500-$5000 Receipts for vehicles worth between $500 and $5,000 must include:

  • Everything listed for vehicles valued between $250 and $500; and
    • Charity representative’s formal signature;
    • Donor’s name and tax ID;
    • Record of an appraisal conducted by a qualified appraiser no more than sixty (60) days before donating the vehicle;
    • Vehicle identification number;
    • What the charity plans to do with the vehicle;


Charity Sells the Vehicle Receipts for donated vehicles sold by a charity must include:

  • Gross profits earned;
  • Sale date; and
  • A statement that deduction can’t equal more than the gross profits earned.

Charity Keeps the Vehicle Receipts for donated vehicles kept by a charity must include:

  • The charity’s intended use of the vehicle;
  • The term period the charity intends to use the vehicle; and
  • A statement confirming the charity won’t sell the vehicle before the term period expires.

Proper use of a donated vehicle by a charitable organization is called significant intervening use. The charity must use the vehicle consistently to support the charity’s mission and for an extended period. Charity Makes Improvements to the Vehicle Receipts for donated vehicles updated by a charity must include:

  • A confirmation that the charity won’t sell or re-donate the vehicle before the improvements are completed; and
  • A detailed list of the material improvements the charity plans to make to the vehicle.

The following changes aren’t considered material improvements under this rule:

  • Dent and scratch removal;
  • Installation of theft deterrent systems;
  • New paint or other surface finish; and
  • Upholstery cleaning or repairs.

Charity Gives or Sells the Vehicle to a Needy Individual Receipts for donated vehicles re-donated or sold by a charity to a needy individual must include:

  • A statement that the charity will donate the vehicle to a needy individual for free or sell it at a price much lower than fair market value; and
  • A statement that the gift or sale falls directly under the charity’s mission.

How Long to Keep the Receipt

The IRS recommends keeping all tax-related documents on record for at least three (3) years from the original filing date.

Penalties for Not Providing a Receipt

Generally, charities have to provide written acknowledgments of vehicle donations within thirty (30) days of executing one of the following actions on a vehicle:

  • Attribute the donation for regular use by the charity to conduct the charity programs;
  • Re-donate the vehicle to a person in need; or
  • Sell the vehicle to use the proceeds for charitable purposes.

No matter what, charities are required to provide donors with vehicle donation receipts each year before tax filing deadlines. If a charity wants to conduct good donor relations, it will send all donors their receipts by the end of January each tax year. Most employers must provide employees with tax withholding forms by January 31st each year, so employees begin filing their taxes as early as February. A charity that knowingly provides a false receipt or fails to provide them at all incurs one of the following penalties.

  • If the organization sold the donated vehicle for money, the penalty is the greater amount between:
    • The gross proceeds from the sale, or
    • The product of the highest tax rate and the sale price stated on the receipt.
  • If the organization didn’t sell the donated vehicle, the penalty is the greater amount between:
    • $5,000, or
    • The product of the highest tax rate and the value claimed on the receipt.

How to Donate a Vehicle

Step 1: Choose a Charity Research charities that offer formal vehicle donation programs. Select a charity based on its overall mission and whether or not it is a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. If it isn’t qualified, the IRS will not consider any donations made to the organization tax-deductible. Use the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search tool to determine an organization’s status. Step 2: Get an Appraisal No more than sixty (60) days before donating a vehicle valued at more than $5,000, the donor must get an appraisal conducted by a qualified appraiser (according to the IRS). Vehicles valued at less than $5,000 do not need to be appraised. Step 3: Transfer the Title Follow all applicable state laws to transfer the vehicle’s title to the charitable organization (see the table below for state-by-state titling resources). Step 4: Donate the Vehicle Follow the charitable organization’s procedures for dropping the vehicle off at a donation location or for the charity to pick up the vehicle directly from the donor. Step 5: Request a Donation Receipt If not received soon after the donation, donors should follow up with the charity to find out when they can expect to receive an appropriate vehicle donation receipt.

Vehicle Donation Programs

Charities have three options for setting up a vehicle donation program: Charity Operated When a charity operates its own vehicle donation program, it provides a receipt stating it will do one of the following with the vehicle:

  • Re-donate it to a needy individual (if the organization’s primary mission is to provide support to the needy, poor, or distressed);
  • Sell it (making improvements if necessary) and use the profits exclusively to fund its charitable programs; or
  • Use it to conduct activities supporting and furthering its charitable programs.

Agent Operated A charity hires a for-profit entity to operate a donation program on its behalf. The charity has agency over the for-profit organization to oversee all operations related to the vehicle donation program. As long as the charity conducts appropriate oversight and produces accurate donation receipts, donations to these programs are eligible for tax deductions. For-Profit Operated  A charity allows a for-profit organization to use its name and likeness to solicit vehicle donations. The charity itself doesn’t benefit from the donations in any way, so donations to these vehicle programs aren’t tax deductible.

Table: Vehicle Titles (By State)

Most states require donors to transfer a vehicle’s title to a charitable organization before donating the vehicle. This table provides titling resources for each state and the District of Columbia.

Alabama Title 32, Chapter 8, Article 2 Alabama Department of Revenue
Alaska Chapter 28.10 Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles
Arizona § 28-2056, § 28-2058, § 28-2060 Arizona Department of Transportation
Arkansas Title 27, Subtitle 2, Chapter 14, Supchapter 9 Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration
California California VEH Division 3, California VEH Division 3.5 California Department of Motor Vehicles
Colorado Title 42 , Article 6, Part 1 Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles
Connecticut § 14-179 Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles
Delaware Title 21, Chapter 25 Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles
Florida § 319.22 Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
Georgia Title 40, Chapter 3, Article 2 Georgia Department of Revenue
Hawaii §286-52 County Specific
Idaho Title 49, Chapter 5 County Specific
Illinois 625 ILCS 5/Ch.3 Illinois Secretary of State
Indiana IC 9-17 Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Iowa § 321.45 Iowa Department of Transportation
Kansas Chapter 8 Kansas Department of Revenue
Kentucky § 186A.097, § 186A.215 Drive KY
Louisiana RS 32:707 Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles
Maine Title 29-A, Chapter 7 Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Maryland Transportation Title 13, Subtitle 1 Maryland Department of Transportation
Massachusetts Chapter 90D, Section 15 Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles
Michigan 300-1949-II Michigan Department of State
Minnesota § 168A.10 Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services
Mississippi Chapter 21 Mississippi Department of Revenue
Missouri § 301.210 Missouri Department of Revenue
Montana § 61-3-220 Montana Motor Vehicle Department
Nebraska § 60-139 Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles
Nevada § 60-364 Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles
New Hampshire § 261.14, § 261.66 New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles
New Jersey § 39:10-8, § 39:10-18 New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission
New Mexico § 66-3 New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department
New York § 2113, § 2114, § 2115 New York Department of Motor Vehicles
North Carolina § 20-50, § 20-52, § 20-57, § 20-72.1, § 20-73, § 20-85.1 North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
North Dakota § 39-05-17 North Dakota Department of Transportation
Ohio Chapter 4505 Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Oklahoma § 47-12-505, § 47-591.8, § 47-1105.2, § 47-1107, § 47-1107.4 Form 701-6
Oregon § 803.092 – § 803.140 Oregon Department of Transportation
Pennsylvania Title 75, Part 2, Chapter 11 PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services
Rhode Island § 31-3.1-12, § 31-3.1-13, § 31-3.1-14 Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles
South Carolina Title 56. Chapter 19 South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
South Dakota Title 32 Chapter 3, Title 32 Chapter 3A South Dakota Department of Revenue
Tennessee Title 55, Chapter 3 Tennessee Department of Revenue
Texas Title 7, Subtitle A, Chapter 501 Texas Department of Transportation
Utah Title 41, Chapter 1a, Part 5, Title 41, Chapter 1a, Part 7 Utah Department of Motor Vehicles
Vermont Title 23, Chapter 21 Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles
Virginia § 46.2-278 through § 46.2-634 Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
Washington Chapter 46.12 Washington State Department of Licensing
Washington, D.C. Chapter 15, Chapter 15B Washington, D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles
West Virginia Article 4 West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
Wisconsin Chapter 342, Subchapter 2 Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Wyoming § 31-2-104 Wyoming Department of Transportation