Revenue-Sharing License Plates: Possible Charitable Tax Deduction
Frequently Asked Questions
1. I heard my license plate may qualify me for a charitable tax deduction. Who can tell me if I qualify?
You are encouraged to consult a professional tax advisor, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or the Virginia Department of Taxation to determine your eligibility. DMV cannot make that determination.
2. What documentation is necessary to claim my charitable tax deduction, if I am eligible?
You are encouraged to consult or seek advice from a professional tax advisor to determine the actual documentation necessary to claim the charitable tax deduction since particular tax matters affect individuals differently. Generally, you may request a receipt upon completion of your purchase of a revenue-sharing license plate as documentation. For subsequent years for maintaining a valid revenue-sharing plate, you may be able to use the vehicle registration renewal notice along with proof of payment such as a credit card statement, cancelled check, or other bank record for documentation.
In addition to your proof of payment, you may also print the individual web page for your plate from this site to show the organization associated with the plate and the maximum amount of money that organization would receive from your registration fees. Your plate's web page includes DMV codes for the plate type, which may be matched to a corresponding code on your vehicle registration to serve as proof that you purchased that particular license plate.
3. My revenue-sharing license plate is no longer listed on your website. How can I provide documentation of my charitable contribution?
In some cases, revenue-sharing license plates are redesigned or discontinued. To see if your plate has been redesigned, check the list of revenue-sharing license plates to see if there is a plate with the same or a similar name. The web page for a redesigned plate will have a listing of the former DMV plate type codes for you to compare against your registration. While the plate image will be different, you may print and use this page to identify the organization and maximum revenue-sharing amount.
If you cannot find a similar plate name, your plate may be listed on the Discontinued Revenue-Sharing License Plate section on page 3 of the revenue-sharing license plates. The DMV plate type code for each is provided in parentheses beside the plate name. You are encouraged to consult or seek advice from a professional tax advisor to determine whether you may claim a charitable tax deduction for a discontinued license plate.
4. I have had a revenue-sharing plate for several years. Can I claim a charitable tax deduction for the previous years?
You may be eligible to claim the possible charitable tax deduction for previous years, but you may be required to amend your filed federal tax returns with the IRS. You are encouraged to consult or seek advice from a professional tax advisor to determine the appropriateness of amending your filed federal tax returns.
5. If I qualify for a charitable tax deduction, how much can I claim?
Generally, you may only claim a charitable tax deduction up to the amount of the license plate fee that would be shared with the charity or qualifying public program in Virginia. The web page for the plate you own provides the maximum portion of the fee that the organization would receive. In order to maximize your potential tax benefit for purchasing or maintaining a valid revenue-sharing license plate, you are encouraged to consult or seek advice from a professional tax advisor to determine the actual dollar amount of your charitable tax deduction.
6. I purchased a souvenir (sample) plate, am I eligible for a charitable tax deduction?
No. Souvenir plates are not revenue-sharing.
7. What is the name of the organization receiving money from this plate?
The name of the organization that sponsors your plate is provided on the plate's web page and on the alphabetical listing of all available revenue-sharing license plates.
8. How does the plate's sponsor organization spend the money it receives?
The organization that sponsors your plate is limited in how it can use the funds from plate sales by the legislative authorization of the plate. Most authorizations direct the funds to support the operation and programs of the organization in Virginia. Your plate's web page provides a brief summary of how the plate's authorization directs the funds. See the alphabetical listing of all available revenue-sharing plates.
If you are interested in general use of funds, charities are required to spend all charitable donations in support of their mission and as such, the IRS is responsible for ensuring donations are spent accordingly. You may obtain a charity’s financial documents, if available, through www.guidestar.org or by contacting Virginia’s Office of Consumer Affairs at (804) 786-2042 (in the Richmond area) or 1-800-552-9963 (outside of the Richmond area).
9. What is the contact information for the organization that sponsors my revenue-sharing license plate?
From time to time, charities will change their contact information, so, in order to obtain the latest information, you are encouraged to check www.guidestar.org or contact Virginia’s Office of Consumer Affairs at (804) 786-2042 (in the Richmond area) or 1-800-552-9963 (outside of the Richmond area).
10. How much money has been given to the organization that sponsors my plate?
You will need to contact the organization to obtain that information. Please refer to the question above pertaining to contacting the organization.