Vehicle Donation FAQ

Even though donating your vehicle is easy, you may have questions regarding the process.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions that may help answer some questions you may have when donating your vehicle. 

If at any time you are unable to locate answers to a question, please call 855.500.SIFF (7433).  

What do I need to donate my vehicle?
You will need the title to the vehicle, but if you do not have it, please call us anyway. It is possible that other arrangements may be made. Any lien holder listed on the title must be cleared and or released by the bank. (Please note: a clear title indicates the title is in the name of the donor without a lien.) This law varies by state. Please refer to the DOL in your state for clear instructions.

Do I need a smog certificate to donate my car?
No. You may donate your vehicle without a smog certificate or safety inspection.

What can I donate?
CARS considers all vehicles for donation. Cars, trucks, trailers, boats, RV's, motorcycles, off road vehicles, heavy equipment and most other motorized vehicles are all acceptable donations.

My car hasn't run in years. Can I still donate it?
Yes! CARS accepts most vehicles running or not. However, it must have an engine and be towable. To find out if your vehicle will be accepted, please complete the online donation form or call 855.500.SIFF (7433). 

How will my car be picked up? 
Once you have provided all the necessary information via the online donation form or over the phone, CARS will arrange to have your vehicle picked up at a scheduled, convenient time for you. The vehicle will be picked up by a licensed tow company at no cost to you. The vehicle will be taken to one of CARS many sale locations where it will be sold with SIFF receiving a portion of the proceeds. 

How long will it take to pick up my car?
CARS will contact you within two to three business days to schedule an appointment time that is convenient for you. If you need your car picked up sooner, please inform CARS during your initial call.

How is the value of my car determined?
Donors are not responsible for determining the deductible value of their donation. SIFF will report the gross proceeds raised from the sale of the vehicle to the donor and IRS. Before filing your taxes, we suggest you review IRS Publication 4303 which sets forth the manner in which the IRS requires you to determine the value of your donated property. 

Will I be asked to provide a social security number?
Your social security number is required for the tax receipt if the car is valued over $500. If a donor does not wish to give their social security number they can only deduct a maximum of $500.

Is my donation tax-deductible and when will I get a tax receipt?
Yes! Your vehicle donation is tax-deductible. The amount that is tax-deductible is the sale price of the vehicle. You will receive an initial donation receipt from the tow driver at the time of your vehicle pick-up. This initial acknowledgement will indicate your name as well as the year, make, model, and condition of the vehicle you are donating. You will then be mailed a tax receipt within 30 days of the sale of the vehicle. This will be your only receipt if your vehicle sells for less than $500.

If your vehicle sells for more than $500 and your tax identification number has been provided, an IRS Form 1098-C, "Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes," will be mailed to you within 30 days of the sale stating the amount of gross proceeds received from your donation. Individual tax situations vary. For specific tax-related questions, please consult your tax advisor or refer to IRS Publication 4303.

Why haven't I received an acknowledgment letter and/or my donor benefits yet?
Your car may not have sold yet. It often takes six weeks for a vehicle donation to be completed. Please feel free to contact the SIFF representative at CARS to check on your donation: 855.500.SIFF (7433) 

Can I get a replacement tax receipt?
Please call 855.500.SIFF (7433) during regular hours of operation to request a replacement tax receipt. 

What can I claim as a deduction?
According to the tax law effective January 1, 2005, if the claimed value of the donated vehicle exceeds $500, the taxpayer is limited to the gross proceeds of the sale.

What if my car is valued over $5,000?
Effective January 1, 2005, you will no longer be required to have vehicles appraised. The value you may claim will be the amount of gross proceeds received from your vehicle.

What type of paperwork will I need to donate my car?
You will need a clear title. Any lien holder listed on the title must be cleared and/or released by the bank. This law varies by state. Please refer to your state's DOL (Department of Licensing) for instructions.

Do I need to notify the DOL when I donate my vehicle?
Each state has different criteria on how notification is made. Some states required the license plates be returned to the DOL and other stats may require a Release of Liability to be submitted to the the DOL. Please contact your DOL in your state for directions on how to notify the state that you are no longer the owner of the vehicle.