Car Donation Tips

Read these 26 Car Donation Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Car Donation tips and hundreds of other topics.

Car Donation Tips has been rated 3.1 out of 5 based on 1407 ratings and 1 user reviews.
What are the practical reasons people donate vehicles?

Personal factors may affect your decision to donate your car, rather than sell it or keep it.

Some people even donate because the car was stolen and returned but it just isn't the same any more, or perhaps they have too many automobiles and want to use this one to benefit the needy. There are as many different reasons as there are people for making a car donation. All of them are good, and result in benefits for people in need.

Where can I get a handicap card for my car?

Contact your state's DMV to get a handicap placard for your car.

The place to get handicap cards for your car is at your state DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) or RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicles). You can begin the application process there. Each state will likely have a slightly different procedure, and it can take differing amounts of time in different states. Contact your local branch of your state's DMV to find out specifics. To find the contact information, go to, click on your state, and look for a link to the state DMV near the bottom of the text.

What kind of vehicle donations can I make?

Vehicle donation programs accept most kinds of vehicles and will pick them up.

Vehicle donation programs accept donations of most cars, trucks, vans, trailers, boats, RVs, and even airplanes! When you donate a vehicle to charity, you can usually count on the charity picking up the car donation within 2-4 days. But be sure to ask the charity when you speak with them on the phone how long it will take. Pick-up times vary greatly depending on the city, how far from the closest facility your car is, etc. And, you will receive a tax receipt for car donations you make to approved charities.

Is my car donation tax deductible?

Car donations to an eligible organization are tax deductible up to the fair market value of the car at the time of the donation.

Donating cars to charity is a terrific way of helping others while also saving on your taxes. Your car donation is tax deductible, up to the full fair market value of the vehicle (if the charity keeps the vehicle) or up to the value for which the charity sells the vehicle, provided it is made to a legitimate 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Be sure to check that the organization to which you donate your car has current tax-deductible status from the IRS. When you file your tax returns for the year in which you donate your car, itemize car donations along with any other deductions. You can deduct car donations up to the full, fair-market value of the vehicle.

What are the philosophical reasons people donate vehicles?

Donating to an international charitable organization will help address some of the greatest needs.

A car donation to an international charity helps meet the greatest need. Americans are the most generous people on earth. Nevertheless, only 2% of US philanthropic giving makes its way overseas. A car donation to a charity that operates internationally can help direct resources overseas.

What are the practical reasons people donate vehicles?

Whatever your reasons, it your car donation is tax deductible and will make a difference for someone in need.

Whatever your philanthropic or personal reasons, your auto donation is fully tax deductible, and will make an amazing difference to someone in need! Arrangements will be made to pick up your car donation at no cost to you, almost anywhere in the United States, and you will be supplied with the necessary paperwork to claim your tax deduction for your car donation.

Do I have to pay to have my car towed or delivered to the charity?

The car donation charity should pay all towing costs.

A car donor should never have to pay any towing or other costs associated with his or her donation. The car donation charity and/or their agents should always cover any such costs out of the proceeds of the sale. I would suggest that you contact the charity to which you donated your car and enlist its help in dealing with the details associated with car transport.

What information will help me decide whether and to whom to donate my car?

Get as much information about the car donation as you can before deciding whether to donate, and to which charity.

Ads from vehicle donation programs are appearing with greater frequency on the Internet, TV, radio, and in print. Car donation tips abound, telling taxpayers how to make car donations for charity, how to choose car donation organizations, and more. As donors become more aware of this option, controversy is also growing. As in all things, it is important for a consumer (or, in this case, a donor) to become educated and informed so that he or she may make a wise choice as to whether or not, and to which charity, to donate a car.

What steps do I take to donate a car to charity?

Step 2: Determine the value of your car donation.

The charity to which you donate your car cannot be the party to determine the value of your gift, as the IRS considers that a conflict of interest. It is the donor's responsibility to determine the fair market value of cars donated prior to making the donation. See the section on valuing your car donation for more information on how to determine its value when you have a vehicle to donate.

What are the philosophical reasons people donate vehicles?

Donating a car is a smart and philanthropic move, regardless of your motivation.

People opt to donate a car for many reasons. Whether you want to donate a car as a way to reach out and improve the lives of those less fortunate, or because of the personal convenience or tax savings to yourself, your car donation is a smart move. There are many benefits to donating a car. It is a simple, hassle-free way to make the world a better place and save your own time and money. Donate your car today, and “do well by doing good”!

What steps do I take to donate a car to charity?

Step 3: Complete an online donation form, or call the charity with your car donation.

When donating vehicles for charity, complete an online donation form or call the car donation charity. Once the charity has received your form and reviewed your information, you will be contacted to arrange a time to have the charity pick up your car and give you your tax receipt for car donations made. Donating cars to charity is an easy process.

What car donation charity should I choose?

If possible, choose a vehicle donation program with nationwide service.

When you decide to donate a car, choose a charity that provides nationwide service and can pick up car donations in all 50 states. You'll get better, quicker, and more professional service. The larger car donation charities are also more efficient and experienced, and you can be sure that your donation will be well used. Also, make sure they clearly explain to you the steps to donating cars, including how to obtain the fair market value of cars. A good car donation charity should provide all of this information on their website, along with other valuable car donation tips.

Is my car donation tax deductible?

Itemize on Schedule A for a tax deduction for your car donation.

Donating cars is an effective way to give to charity. However, many taxpayers can't take a deduction for car donations because they don't itemize deductions on their personal tax return. Of course, many other donors are not interested in the tax deduction and just want their old car moved out and used for a good purpose. But if you ARE interested in the tax deduction when you donate a car, you should understand that in order to obtain it, you must itemize your deductions and not just go with the standard deduction. The decision to itemize on Schedule A of Form 1040 is determined by whether their total itemized deductions are greater than the standard deduction.

Should I give directly to a charity, or through a third-party fundraiser?

It is always best to deal directly with a charity.

The rapid growth of car donation programs has taken place without donors always understanding what they must do to take full advantage of the deduction. This confusion has been heightened by claims of some of the private fundraisers who operate car donation programs on behalf of qualified charities. It is always best to deal directly with the charity itself, rather than a third-party, private middle-man. The charity will receive more money, and you can have increased confidence that the car donation will be properly used.

What car donation charity should I choose?

Make sure the car donation charity is on the "up & up"!

After determining that the charitable organization will indeed serve your own tax purposes, you want to make sure that it's on the up and up. Ask for copies of its annual report and IRS Form 990, and contact your local Better Business Bureau to investigate it further.

What steps do I take to donate a car to charity?

Step 4: Acquire the title, preparer the vehicle and arrange for pick up.

Once the charity has reviewed your information, they will arrange to pick up your donated vehicle. Make sure you have the title in hand, or they cannot accept the donation. Before they arrive, remove all personal possessions from the vehicle. Since most pick-ups are done through a local towing company, make sure that you pass any special instructions on to the charity ahead of time.

What are the philosophical reasons people donate vehicles?

Non-cash donations can help ease poverty in the US and internationally.

Donating a car will help rectify what some regard as official failures by governments. Between 1992 and 1997, official assistance from leading industrialized countries dropped 30 per cent, while their GNPs (Gross National Products) jumped almost 30 per cent. Income disparity and inequity among peoples and nations exists today as never before and, despite globalization, 3 billion people subsist on 2 dollars (U.S.) a day. Individual giving can help funnel resources to the needy.

To which charities can I donate a vehicle?

Research the charity to which you donate a car.

If you have valuable vehicles to donate, it's important to go beyond the car donation overview and get detailed information on the charities to which are consider donating.

The Guidestar database ( is a very good resource for information on charitable organizations. You can find a lot of detailed information about a charity, including its annual tax returns, on this site. You can also see what type of programs it runs, how it spends its money, etc.

Why do people donate a car?

Non-cash donations are high-impact charitable gifts.

An automobile donation to an international charity is a high impact gift. International giving is intelligent, efficient, and cost effective. Small gifts made right at the grassroots level, have a large, lasting impact. A vehicle donation to a US-based international charity operating overseas is a smart, cost effective way of getting the most bang for your charitable buck! You can also avail yourself of the many tax benefits of donating cars to a car donation charity.

How should I handle the title and insurance?

Look into requirements for transferring the title.

Generally, state officials ask the donor to transfer the car title to the charity's name and make a copy of the title transfer, when possible. In some states, however, there are exceptions to this titling process, and an agent can hold an open title or insert a dealer's name. The donor should remove the license plates, unless state law requires otherwise. This will help avoid any liability problems after the car is transferred.

What are the philosophical reasons people donate vehicles?

Car donation offers both practical and philosophical benefits for the donor and the end-recipients.

The appeal of a car donation is easy to understand. If you dispose of an old car, you can both help a worthy cause AND take advantage of tax rules designed to reward the generosity of Americans. IRS-approved car donation charities make a great way to give AND receive in return. Taxpayers who itemize deductions on their tax return can deduct, within limits, the fair market value of their contributions to qualified charities.

What steps do I take to donate a car to charity?

Step 5: Get your tax benefit.

You will be given an official receipt showing the particulars of the car you donated. It should include the date you donated the vehicle, your name, address, and the name and contact information of the charity. Keep this receipt on file for as long as you keep your tax returns for that year. Be sure you ask the charity how to value cars and/or where on the Internet you can estimate the car donation value.

Should I give directly to a charity, or through a third-party fundraiser?

Ask how your car donation will be used.

It's one of the car donation basics, and many people want to make sure that their car donation is being solicited or accepted by representatives of the charity itself, rather than by a private fundraiser acting on the charity's behalf. It's important to know what will happen to the vehicle when you pass it on to one of the car donation centers: will it be fixed up and given to a needy family, or will it be resold and the proceeds used to help a cause? If it is resold, what share of the proceeds will go to the charity? A donor can ensure the donation furthers the intended charitable purpose by obtaining acceptable responses to these questions. Donating cars to charity is a rewarding way to give, and good car donation charities will have answers to these questions.

What are the philosophical reasons people donate vehicles?

Some car donation charities operate internationally, providing donors to help out beyond America's borders.

Many People choose charities that operate internationally, such as Family Care Foundation. A Car Donation in support of Family Care Foundation's international humanitarian programs is an investment in the future of the world's most valuable resource, our children. Their international focus ensures that your gift will go where it is most needed.

What are the practical reasons people donate vehicles?

Donating a car can save you money in terms of cash flow, and in terms of taxes.

Other reasons to donate your car could be that perhaps your car broke down and the repair bill is more than you wish to spend, and you are looking for a way to dispose of it at no trouble or cost. Or, you may be looking to reduce the amount of money you pay in taxes. It could be that the car is not running and you are paying registration or parking fees, or the car is being ticketed on the street, and you want to dispose of the vehicle. Even non-operational cars have parts value and can be used or re-sold by car donation charities.

What are the practical reasons people donate vehicles?

A car donation can save you the time and effort involved in selling a car.

In addition to your desire to make the world a better place, there are many practical, personal reasons why donating cars makes sense. You may be considering buying a new car, or have recently bought one, and were offered a low trade-in value on your old car. Or, perhaps you don't have the time or desire to find a buyer. For any of these reasons, an automobile donation is a great way to give!

Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Car Donation Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.