Last April I donated a vehicle to Cars To Help Kids. I found the organization through a mailer. The mailer and phone number for the organization is led me to believe it was Kars for Kids that I was dealing with.
The website had 501C3 seals on it and I thought I was doing a good thing and getting a tax write off.
The donation exchange went relatively easy, especially since I was out of town on business with a hissy landlord freaking out because I had two vehicles and never around to drive either one because of business travel. I had someone there to oversee the removal of the vehicle and received a receipt of pick up from the private towing company.
I immediately received a confirmation letter the day the car was picked up via email from the organization acknowledging the donation and that letter was valid for a write off of $500. The letter acknowledged if the vehicle sold for more than $500 I would receive a 1098C.
About 6 weeks later, I get a follow up email stating the vehicle sold for more that $500 but they did not include the gross amount to legally write off the donation. I learned from the IRS the non-profit had 30 days to produce a 1098C. Despite frequent inquiries to Cars to Help Kids looking for this document, they disregarded the request.
I called the IRS and learned the charity is not listed as a 501C3. The website has no physical address or EIN numbers for tax filing. The BBB has no record of the charity and my Attorney General has no record of them.
Essentially, the IRS claims I can't event claim the $500 standard deduction because the charity does not have any physical address or published non profit tax numbers to claim it. The letter I received claiming I can write off the $500 and acknowledging the donation is invalid because it is not signed by an individual of the organization, the organization's address is not listed and there is no way to prove they are even in the US.
Avoid like the plague.