Want to donate a vehicle?

Wondering how to donate your vehicle and make a meaningful impact? We're here to help.

Donating a car, boat, RV or other motor vehicle to charity is a generous act that supports essential causes like Phoenix Children’s Foundation and provides valuable tax deductions. Donating a vehicle is much easier than selling one and offers the perfect way to get rid of an unused or unwanted car. This comprehensive guide will answer all your questions and help you get started with the surprisingly simple process.

Explore the chapters below to learn more about vehicle donation and how you can contribute to a cause you care about, all while enjoying the benefits of a tax deduction.

DISCLAIMER: This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. No warranty or representation, express or implied, is made by Phoenix Children’s Foundation, nor does Phoenix Children’s Foundation accept any liability with respect to the information provided on our website. You should consult with your professional advisor(s) prior to acting on the information in this guide.

Why donate a vehicle to charity?

Vehicle and car donation programs offer many benefits that extend beyond the donor and positively impact our communities. Whether it’s for convenience, to support a favorite charity, to address environmental reasons, or to manage estates, vehicle donation is a powerful way to make a difference.

Support a cause close to your heart

Vehicle donations provide essential support to charitable organizations. For individuals who might not have the cash flow for large donations, giving an old car is a meaningful way to contribute more than they normally could. It’s a chance to step up and support their chosen cause.

If a vehicle is still usable, a charity may be able to use it for its activities. For instance, it may use the vehicle to deliver meals, transport individuals to medical appointments, or support other operational needs. Otherwise, the proceeds from the sale of car donations are used to fund various programs and initiatives you believe in.

Environmental impact

Choosing to donate your vehicle can also have a positive environmental impact. Rather than letting your old car rust away or contribute to landfill waste, many car donation programs ensure eco-friendly disposal methods. They often recycle materials from donated vehicles, reducing the demand for new resources and minimizing the carbon footprint associated with manufacturing new vehicles.

Convenience: hassle-free process and free towing

One of the primary reasons people choose to donate their vehicles is the convenience it offers. Selling a car can be a time-consuming and stressful process involving advertising, handling inquiries and meeting potential buyers. By donating, you eliminate these hassles. The process is turnkey, and it all starts with filling out a form online.

Additionally, donating vehicles that need extensive repairs or incur high maintenance costs is a wise choice. Plus, you won't have to worry about storage, as most car donation programs offer free pickup by a third-party tow service. This saves you time and effort while ensuring your vehicle is put to good use.

Tax benefits

Donating a vehicle offers a financial incentive and can help meet your annual charitable distribution goals. Contributing to a qualified charitable organization makes you eligible for a significant tax deduction. This is especially true in the post-COVID market, where the value of used cars has increased, potentially leading to a larger tax write-off.

See Chapter 5: Tax Benefits for Donating a Vehicle for more information.

Estate management

Managing an estate after the passing of a loved one can be overwhelming. Donating vehicles from an estate can simplify a stressful process. It provides a turnkey service to liquidate assets without the hassle of interacting with strangers during an already difficult time.

Types of vehicles to donate to charity

Donating a vehicle to charity is not limited to just cars. Almost any kind of vehicle can be donated to a car donation program.

Many organizations accept a wide variety of vehicles, such as:

  • Cars, trucks and SUVs
  • Recreational vehicles (RVs), motor homes and campers
  • Motorcycles
  • Boats and maritime vessels
  • Heavy machinery and farm equipment
  • Commercial and fleet vehicles (buses, vans)
  • Other vehicles (snowmobiles, jet skis, golf carts, atvs, non commercial airplanes)

Note: Your vehicle doesn’t need to be in running condition. As long as it is whole and has four inflated tires, towing operators can move it. This makes it easy for donors to contribute vehicles that are no longer in working condition but still hold value.

Choosing a charity for vehicle donation

Selecting the right charity for your vehicle donation is essential; it should be a registered nonprofit and champion a cause that holds personal significance for you.

Verify the charity’s status

Not every organization that accepts vehicle donations qualifies as a charitable organization. To ensure your donation is tax deductible, confirm that the charity is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the IRS. You can verify this on the IRS website or by requesting documentation from the charity. This step ensures your vehicle donation goes to a legitimate cause and allows you to benefit from a tax deduction.

Align with your values

Deciding on a charity is a choice that should be guided by your individual values and passions. If you value pediatric healthcare, please consider donating your vehicle to Phoenix Children’s, a 501(c)(3) organization eligible for the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit as a state-certified Qualifying Charitable Organization (QCO). Donating a vehicle in this impactful way will help sick and injured children get the lifesaving care they need. You can also specify which program the funds will support, such as the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD) or behavioral health initiatives among others.

Simple steps to donate your vehicle

Donating your vehicle to a charity is a simple process with a powerful effect. Here’s how to do it step-by-step.

Step 1: Choose a charity.

Select a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that resonates with you.

By donating your motor vehicle to Phoenix Children’s, you help us advance hope, healing and the best health care for Arizona's children and their families. No matter how you choose to give, your generosity makes it possible for us to deliver exceptional pediatric care—and that makes all the difference for kids who are fighting for their lives.

Note: If your vehicle is outside Arizona, that’s not a problem! We offer convenient vehicle pickup and towing in all 50 states. Call us at 866-925-GIVE (866-925-4483) for more information.

Step 2: Organize title paperwork.

Ensure you have a current and clear title for your vehicle, free of any liens. The requirements for notarization depend on the state where your vehicle is registered.

Note: Please do not mark the title yet; the towing vendor will guide you through the signing process.

Step 3: Initiate donation and schedule pickup.

Visit the charity’s vehicle donation page or call their donation line. Provide your contact information and details about your vehicle. For Phoenix Children's Foundation, visit phoenixchildrens.careasy.org or call 866-925-GIVE (866-925-4483). A representative will contact you to arrange a convenient time for pickup, often during the initial phone call.

Step 4: Prepare vehicle.

Before you donate a car, remove all personal belongings from it and have the title ready for pickup. You may need to surrender or return the license plates in some states. There’s no need to wash your vehicle or have a smog certificate or safety inspection.

Note: Please ensure the vehicle is accessible for safe towing.

Step 5: Prepare for tow operator pickup.

A licensed tow company will pick up your vehicle at the scheduled time. The tow operator will collect the title, keys and vehicle. They’ll also assist you in signing the title and provide a donation receipt. (Please wait to sign the title in the presence of the tow operator.)

Note: Depending on your state’s requirements, you may need to notify the state about your vehicle donation and that you no longer possess the vehicle.

Step 6: Receive tax receipts.

Within 30 days of the sale of your vehicle, you will receive a thank-you letter from the receiving nonprofit, which serves as a tax receipt. This letter will be your final tax document if your vehicle sells for $500 or less. If the vehicle sells for more than $500 and you have provided your tax identification number, you will also receive IRS Form 1098-C detailing the gross proceeds from the sale.

Donating your vehicle is a simple way to support a cause you care about while also benefiting from potential tax deductions. The entire process is free for the donor, and it typically takes 4 to 12 weeks, depending on your location. Whether you choose to donate your car to Phoenix Children's Foundation or another charity, your donation can make a meaningful impact.

Tax Benefits for Donating a Vehicle

Is donating a car or motor vehicle tax-deductible? Yes, the IRS absolutely allows a deduction, provided you follow their guidelines on charitable donations for vehicles. It’s always best to speak to a tax professional to ensure you meet all requirements and optimize the benefits of your donation.

DISCLAIMER: This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. No warranty or representation, express or implied, is made by Phoenix Children’s Foundation, nor does Phoenix Children’s Foundation accept any liability with respect to the information provided on our website. You should consult with your professional advisor(s) prior to acting on the information in this guide

Deduction Amount Based on Sale Price

The amount you can deduct depends on the sale price or fair market value, with specific thresholds and documentation required for higher values. If the charity plans to use your donated vehicle, this involves additional paperwork to qualify for tax benefits.

IRS Requirements and Forms

To qualify for a tax deduction, you must donate your vehicle to a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The deduction is claimed in the tax year when the donation is made.

For vehicles sold, you will receive a tax receipt and may need to complete IRS Form 8283. The value of your donation will determine which sections of IRS forms need to be filled out, and higher-value donations may also require signatures from authorized charity officials.

For more detailed information, refer to IRS Publication 4303, A Donor’s Guide to Vehicle Donations, which provides comprehensive guidelines and documentation requirements (or speak with a donation professional).

Keeping Thorough Records

Maintaining detailed records of your car donation is crucial. Proper documentation is necessary to support your deduction and to comply with IRS requirements. Always consult with a tax professional to ensure you have all the necessary paperwork.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some common questions and answers to help you through the vehicle donation process. For detailed Arizona car donation information, visit Phoenix Children's Vehicle Donation FAQs.

Does my car or vehicle have to be registered to donate it?

This requirement varies by state. Speak with a vehicle donor support representative who can guide you through the necessary steps during the donation process.

My car doesn’t run or hasn’t been used in years. Can I still donate it?

Yes! A vehicle donation program usually accepts a car as is, running or not. It must be in one piece, have an engine, and be accessible by a tow truck. Complete the online form or call the donor support team to confirm if your vehicle can be accepted.

I don’t have the title. Can I still donate my vehicle?

If you do not have the title for the vehicle you wish to donate, please call 866-925-GIVE (866-925-4483). A team member would be happy to assist and discuss your situation.

Can you pick up vehicles in all 50 states?

Yes! Most car donation programs can pick up vehicles throughout the continental U.S., Hawaii and Alaska.

My vehicle is in another state, and I can’t be there at the pickup. Can I still donate it?

Yes! In most cases, you can designate a point of contact who will be present at pickup. To set up your designated contact, speak with a vehicle donor support representative during the donation process.

What do I do with the license plates if I decide to donate?

It is often best to remove the license plates before the vehicle is towed. Please contact your local motor vehicle administration for specific requirements or ask a donation specialist at 866-925-GIVE (866-925-4483) for more information.

When should I cancel my insurance?

Cancel your vehicle's insurance after you have notified the state that you’ve donated your vehicle, especially if your state requires notification or license plate return.

Where can I find additional IRS tax deduction requirements for a charitable donation?
Don’t wait—drive change today!

If you have an old car or other motor vehicle taking up space, consider donating it to Phoenix Children's. Visit GiveToPCH.org/vehicle or call 866-925-GIVE (866-925-4483) to start your vehicle donation process and make a difference in a child’s life. Your generosity paves the way for a brighter future.