Most people who donate a car are looking for a tax deduction. Use true market value instead of fair market value to figure your deduction. You will able to use true market value as a reference in case of an audit.
Determining the Value
How much your car is worth will determine where you want to donate it. Look up the true market value of your car. True market value is based on what others are paying for similar cars.
Using the standard deduction is beneficial if the car is in poor condition. In this process you give the car to a charity, which sells the car at auction. You receive a tax deduction for the actual sale price.
Deducting Market Value
If your donated car is in decent running condition and the value is more than $2,000, you have another option. Donate it to a charity that gives cars directly to those in need. This will allow you to deduct the true market value.
The difference between these options is the tax deduction. If you choose the standard deduction you will get a percentage of the sale price counted toward your deduction. When you choose a direct charity organization, you can receive the true market value and have a bigger deduction.
With either method, if your donation exceeds $500 you must attach proof of the donation to your tax return. If you have the standard deduction, you must have a statement of sale. Giving to a direct charity requires getting a receipt.