Avoid IRS Pitfalls When Donating Your Car to Charity

Release date: July 20, 2004
Williamsburg, Va.—If you're thinking about donating your used vehicle to charity and want to deduct the gift from your federal income tax, the IRS warns that the first step is to "make certain that the charity is a qualified organization." The IRS's new brochure, "A Donor's Guide to Car Donations" (Publication 4303), advises that only donations to qualified organizations are deductible.

You can confirm that a charity is a qualified organization on GuideStar, www.guidestar.org. All of the more than 1 million nonprofits in the GuideStar database are recognized by the IRS as eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. There is no charge for searching the database.

The organizations on GuideStar include:

  • All 501(c)(3) public charities registered with the IRS.
  • More than 170,000 faith-based organizations. (Most religious charitable organizations are not required to register with the IRS and do not appear in IRS Publication 78, Cumulative List of Organizations. The faith-based organizations found on GuideStar, however, have either registered with the IRS voluntarily or have provided GuideStar with proof that they meet the IRS criteria for 501(c)(3) public charities.)
Donors can search the database several ways—by name, keyword, city, state, income range, or a combination of criteria—to identify charities doing the work they want to support.

Every charity in the database has a GuideStar Report, and every GuideStar Report lists the organization's address. Many reports also include a contact name, telephone number, and e-mail address.

Hundreds of thousands of GuideStar Reports provide data about organizations' missions, programs, accomplishments, and objectives, enabling donors to find the charities whose activities are most in line with their personal values.

A simple, no-cost registration gives donors access to this information on www.guidestar.org.

About GuideStar

GuideStar, www.guidestar.org, offers information about the programs and finances of 1.7 million IRS-recognized charitable organizations. GuideStar powers many on-line giving systems and distributes both free and subscription-based nonprofit data to grantmakers, nonprofits, donors, government charity regulators, and professionals serving the sector. To find out more about GuideStar services, go to www.guidestar.org.

News Contact

Suzanne E. Coffman
Director of Communications
757-229-4631, ext. 27