How to Donate a Boat & Deduct it From Taxes

Donating a boat is great an opportunity to take advantage of a tax break.

Donating a boat is great an opportunity to take advantage of a tax break.

When you own property that you no longer use, donating the property to a charity is a kindhearted gesture. By helping others in need, you give the less fortunate the chance to have a better life. Not only does donating reward you personally, your good deed can also reward you financially. The Internal Revenue Service allows you to deduct donations to a qualified charitable organization on your income taxes. To claim the deduction for a boat donation, you must prepare your income taxes using Form 1040 and elect to itemize your deductions.

Visit the IRS online database to obtain a list of recognized qualified charitable organizations. The IRS separates the charities by state, listing them alphabetically, including the address and contact information.

Select and contact a charity in your area. Contact the charity's director to arrange for delivery or pick up of the boat.

Have the boat appraised by a qualified appraiser if the anticipated value of the boat exceeds $5,000. If the anticipated value does not exceed $5,000, use a pricing guide, such as the NADA guides, to determine the fair market value of the boat.

Obtain the proper documentation from the charity, which must include the charity's name, date of donation and description of the boat. If the charity plans to use the boat, the document must explain how long they expect to use the boat. If the charity plans to sell the boat, the charity must send you a notice within 30 days of the sale. This notice must include the date and amount of the sale.

Report the charitable contribution deduction in line 17 of Schedule A. If the amount of the deduction exceeds $500, you must complete Form 8283 to your tax return.

Items you will need

  • Form 1040
  • Schedule A
  • Form 8283


  • If the charity sells the boat, you can only deduct the actual amount that the charity received for the boat, regardless of fair market value.
  • Complete Section A of Form 8283 if the amount of your donation is more than $500. If the amount of your deduction is more than $5,000, complete Section B.
  • Keep the documentation received from the charity with your records in case the IRS initiates an audit.
  • For more information regarding charitable contributions, refer to the IRS Publication 526.

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About the Author

Angela M. Wheeland specializes in topics related to taxation, technology, gaming and criminal law. She has contributed to several websites and serves as the lead content editor for a construction-related website. Wheeland holds an Associate of Arts in accounting and criminal justice. She has owned and operated her own income tax-preparation business since 2006.

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