Nonprofit Resources


Gift Week: Vehicle Donations

Situation GW2: Mrs. Anson, an individual taxpayer, donates a used van to Rolling Café, a 501(c)(3) public charity that delivers meals to needy individuals. The charity plans to use the van to deliver meals every day for one year and then sell the vehicle. The CFO of Rolling Café asks us if they have to file a Form 1098-C for the van and send a copy to Mrs. Anson. We answer that they should complete and file Form 1098-C for 2014, check Box 5a, and include the description of the intended “significant intervening use” in Box 5c (see bulleted requirements of this description, below). A copy of the Form 1098-C should be provided to the donor as the required “contemporaneous, written acknowledgement.”

Per Example 2 in IRS Publication 4302, page 6, this intended use qualifies because it is significant and substantially furthers the charity’s regularly conducted activity of delivering meals to needy individuals.

*Remember also that the 2014 Form 1098-C has added a Box 2a for “Odometer mileage” — with very little help in the instructions for this line.


From IRS Publication 4302, “A Charity’s Guide to Vehicle Donation”:

Charity Intends a Significant Intervening Use of the Vehicle – If the charity intends to make a significant intervening use (defined below) of the vehicle, in addition to the information required for all acknowledgments, the contemporaneous written acknowledgment must include:

  • A statement certifying that the charity intends to make a significant intervening use of the donated vehicle,
  • A detailed statement of the intended use,
  • A detailed statement of the duration of that use, and
  • A certification that the vehicle will not be sold before completion of the use.

Significant Intervening Use — To qualify as significant intervening use, the charity must actually use the vehicle to substantially further its regularly conducted activities, and the use must be considerable. There is no significant intervening use if the charity’s use is incidental or not intended at the time of the contribution. In addition, significant intervening use does not include use of the vehicle to provide training in general business skills, such as marketing and sales. Whether a use qualifies as significant intervening use depends on its nature, extent, frequency, and duration.



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