Editor’s Note: We earn a commission through affiliate links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not influence the opinions or evaluations of our editors.
Ready to donate an unwanted car, but don’t know where to start? Many charities accept vehicle donations. The tricky part is finding a legitimate charity that qualifies for charitable contributions, has a mission you believe in, and uses its donations efficiently.
Here’s a look at some of the best reputable charities that readily accept car donations.
Recommended Tax Software Partners
Federal filing fee
5 Best Car Donation Charities
1. Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity accepts donated cars, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, farm equipment and construction equipment. Vehicles are resold or recycled to raise money to support the charity’s mission to build safe and affordable homes for families in need.
Watchdog CharityWatch gives Habitat for Humanity International a B (on a scale from A+ to F) for its financial practices. CharityWatch says the organization spends 73% of its budget on programs, relative to overhead, and spends an average of $27 to raise $100 in contributions.
Guidestar, which researches nonprofit organizations, awarded Habitat the Gold Seal of Transparency in 2020.
To donate a car to Habitat for Humanity, you can use the website Wizard car donation or call 877-277-4344 to provide your vehicle information and schedule your pickup.
2. Charity Ronald McDonald House
Your local chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) may accept donations of cars, trucks, boats, RVs, and other vehicles. The organization will sell the cars and use the proceeds to provide families with a home away from home during the hospitalization of a seriously ill or injured child.
CharityWatch gives RMHC’s National Office an A. The watchdog says the organization uses 88% of its budget for programs, rather than overhead, and spends $9 to raise every $100 in contributions.
To donate a vehicle to RMHC, call 855-227-7435 or visit the group car donation website† Charitable Adult Rides & Services (CARS), a non-profit organization that partners with RMHC for vehicle donations, will collect your vehicle for free and send you the documentation needed to claim a charitable contribution on your taxes.
3. The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army accepts vehicle donations in certain locations. The organization sells donated vehicles to fund various programs including disaster relief, homeless shelters, food pantries, veteran services, job training, and more.
The Salvation Army organization consists of four territories: Central, East, South and West. They are all rated B+ or better by CharityWatch.
A Salvation Army webpage can help you find its vehicle donation services near you.
You cannot return a car to a Goodwill donation center, but the charity does accept donations from cars, RVs, boats, motorcycles, and many other special vehicles. Goodwill sells all donated cars and uses the proceeds to support its professional services.
Goodwill Industries International has received an A rating from CharityWatch, saying the organization spends 87% of its budget on programs, relative to overhead, and spends just $2 to raise $100 in contributions.
To get started, complete the vehicle donation form at: GoodwillCarDonation.org or call 855-980-0171. The organization will schedule a pick-up of the vehicle and send you a receipt.
5. Dog Companions for Independence
Canine Companions for Independence provides assistance dogs to adults, children and veterans with disabilities, and facility dogs for healthcare, criminal justice, and education professionals.
CharityWatch gives Canine Companions a B grade and says it uses 68% of its budget for programs and spends $20 on fundraising for every $100 in contributions.
The organization accepts donations of cars, trucks, boats, planes, motorcycles and other vehicles, whether walking or not. You can also start your donation online or by calling 866-398-4483.
Claiming tax deductions for car donations
Before donating your car, it’s a good idea to read the IRS guidelines for charitable donations to make sure you qualify for the deduction you expect to claim. The following tips may help:
- Plan on itemizing deductions. To get a tax break when donating your vehicle, you must itemize deductions. And in general, your total itemized deductions — including out-of-pocket medical expenses, mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and charitable deductions — must be greater than the standard deduction available for your filing status. For many taxpayers, that’s a tough hurdle, so you may want to work with your tax advisor to crunch some numbers before donating to see if it’s worth listing.
- Get the right papers together. The IRS has strict rules for documenting vehicle donations, so you must have the appropriate paperwork to claim your debit. Most charities sell donated vehicles and your deduction is limited to the proceeds of the sale. Once the charity has sold the car, it must send you Form 1098-C confirming the sale date and price. For more details, check out IRS Publication 4303, A Vehicle Donor’s Guide†
Compare the best tax software of 2022
You may not get a tax break by donating your unwanted vehicle, but the charity that takes delivery of the car will certainly appreciate it. After all, even a clunker that doesn’t run can be sold for scrap.
Just do your research on the charity you want to donate your car to and have your paperwork in order if you plan on claiming tax deductions. Then donating your car is a win-win for you and the charity.