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Before Your Church Sells a Donated Car

Vehicle substantiation requirements widely disregarded.

In recent years Congress and the IRS have questioned the accuracy of values claimed by donors for contributions of vehicles to charity. These concerns prompted Congress to enact legislation in 2004 making the substantiation requirements for vehicle donations more stringent. The current substantiation rules are summarized below:

1. Church sells a donated vehicle with no significant use or alteration

The church must:

(a) Issue a written acknowledgment to the donor, within 30 days of the sale, containing the donor's name and Social Security number, date of contribution, vehicle identification number, date of sale, certification that the vehicle was sold in an arm's-length transaction, a statement of the gross proceeds from the sale, a statement that the deductible amount may not exceed the amount of the gross proceeds, and whether the church provided any goods or services in consideration ...

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