Donating a Car FAQsHow does the car donation process work?
Car donation programs vary, but for the most part they all offer the opportunity to fill out an online form with your contact details and information about the vehicle you wish to donate. The organization will contact you to schedule a time to pick up your vehicle. If you would prefer, most charities offer a toll free phone number so you can call and talk to a live person.
The charity will then dispatch a professionally licensed, bonded and insured towing company to pick up the vehicle at your scheduled time. The driver of the tow truck will give you a receipt showing that they picked up the vehicle. This is not your tax receipt. In a few days, the charity you donated your vehicle to will mail you a IRS tax deductible donation receipt for the resale value of the vehicle.
How is the value of the vehicle determined?
The IRS allows you, the donor, to calculate the fair market value of the property up to $500. If the charity sells the car or truck for over $500, the IRS allows you to claim the gross proceeds of the sale as a tax deduction. If the vehicle is worth more than $5000, the IRS requires a written appraisal from a professional third party appraiser.
What can be donated?
Charitable car donation programs will differ, but in most cases, you can donate boats, cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, ATVs and snowmobiles among other things. Many charities will take anything that can be sold to raise funds. You should check with the charity directly to find out what they will accept.
Does the vehicle need to be in running conditon?
No, most charities will accept running or non-running cars, trucks, vans, RVs, or any other type of vehicle.
What documents are required when making a donation?
The title for the car or truck you are donating and a lien release if there was a lien holder shown on the title. The person listed as the owner on the title of the vehicle will need to sign the title as the seller.
Is there any type of charge for picking up the vehicle?
No, the charity will reimburse the towing company for the cost of picking up the vehicle.
Do I need to be home when the vehicle is being picked up?
In most cases no. If you won't be home at the scheduled pick-up time, you will need to leave the signed title, and keys in the vehicle, and let the towing company know exactly where to pick up the vehicle. Be sure to remove your license plate and any personal belongings from the vehicle.
When can my vehicle be picked up?
Most charities can have your vehicle picked up in 48 to 72 hours in some cases it could be within 24 hours.
Is my car donation tax deductible?
You need to verify that your selected charity is classified with the IRS as a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization. You should check with a tax professional to calculate any tax benefit you will receive donating a vehicle to charity.
How does the tax deduction work?
The Internal Revenue Service, IRS, allows you to claim a tax deduction of the fair market value of your donation up to $500 or the gross sale of the vehicle, whichever is greater. If the gross sale of your vehicle is more than $500, the charity should mail you an IRS tax form 1098-C with the gross sale amount.
To learn more read IRS Publication 4303 - A Donor's Guide to Car Donations.
If you have additional questions about donating your vehicle to charity, you can use the form on the contact us page to make any inquiries.
Car Donation Tips & Facts
Every day, the Kidney Cars program of the National Kidney Foundation receives over 100 donated vehicles.