Do you have to be a homeowner to get a tax deduction on car donations in California?

Other answer:

Alex:
No.

But if you are not a homeowner, you might not want the deduction.

You cannot get both the deduction on donations and the "standard deduction". You can get only one or the other. If you are not a homeowner, then the standard deduction might be bigger, so you might prefer it to the deduction for donations.

For a homeowner, the total of the deductions for donations, mortgage interest, and real estate taxes usually add up to more than the standard deduction, so taking the deductions for donations, mortgage interest, and real estate taxes, usually does make sense.

Someone who isn't a homeowner also has the option to take the deduction for donations, but not the deductions for mortgage interest (because they don't have a mortgage) or real estate taxes (because they don't pay real estate taxes), so it usually makes more sense to just take the standard deduction.

David and Stephanie:
You don't have to be a homeowner, but you have to itemize your deductions. Most people do not have enough deductions to itemize unless they are paying mortgage interest and property taxes on a house.

If you don't itemize deductions then donating a car to charity won't matter on your taxes.

Re Vera:
No. If you donate a car you can deduct the fair market value of the vehicle, assuming you itemize your deductions. That's the kicker, though. Most people don't have enough deductions to make itemizing worthwhile.
Max Hoopla:
As a practical matter you have to be a home owner to get any benefit from itemizing deductions. There are exceptions but it's not the norm.
Judy:
No, but you have to be able to itemize, and few people who don't own homes have enough. And tax saving anyway from donating a car are usually very small.- a donated car with retail value 3500 will likely save you a few hundred dollars of tax.
Bostonian In MO:
Legally, no, but as a practical matter if you are not a homeowner paying on a mortgage you probably don't have enough itemized deductions to exceed your standard deduction. If your itemized deductions are less than your standard deduction it makes more sense to claim the standard deduction unless you are forced to itemize when filing MFS and your spouse is itemizing.
Pascal the Gambler:
No, but unless you have other itemizable deductions, your car donated would need to be worth north of $7000
tro:
if you can use Sch A and itemize more than your standard deduction, you don't have to be a homeowner, no
generally if you don't pay mortgage interest you likely can't use Sch A
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