So you have made the decision to donate your old car to charity. Once donated, your car can have several things happen to it. The charity that you donate it to will decide how to process the donation based on the general condition of the car and operating order. Each charity will have different procedures they use to get the most value from your donated vehicle. You can check with the charity you are considering to determine what they plan to do with your donation.
Despite the condition of your donation you will have a bit of planning to do before donating your car. First, you are responsible for determining the fair market value of your donation. In 2005, in the USA, the law changed so now it is up to the vehicle owner to determine what it is worth. The owner must also have written documentation for the appraisal to justify the value when asking for a tax receipt from the charity.
If you are interested in claiming the car donation on your taxes you will need to know if the donation is valued at more than $500 or less. You will need to obtain additional information from the charity if the value of the car is more than $500. You must determine if the vehicle qualifies as a tax deductible donation. Most vehicles legal for public roads qualify to be tax exempt when donated. Also determine if the charity you are donating to has tax exempt status. Most educational and religious organizations will be tax exempt. Calling the charity and asking is often the best way to determine this.
Now that you have all the pre pick up paper work complete you are able to arrange for your donation to be picked up. Depending where you live this can be handled in a few ways. If the charity is near your home and your car operates you can drive it to the local charity and save them the cost of having it removed by a towing company.
Again, if the car you donated runs the charity may send a driver to the vehicle location and drive it away. This also saves them the cost of having it towed.
Of course if your car doesn’t operate the charity will send a tow truck to the location and remove the vehicle. Most of the time the charity will send a registered tow truck company over to the location to haul the car away. In other instances the charity itself will have their own towing service. In either case you may need to provide the driver with the car title before they haul it away. This will also limit you from any liability since you are no longer the registered owner. Discuss this with the charity when you arrange for the pick up.
After your car is hauled away a number of things can happen depending on the condition of the vehicle. If the vehicle is in good shape the charity will have a mechanic inspect the donation and give it a pass if it meets safety standards. Any vehicle that passes inspection will either be sold at auction with the proceeds being used to support their organization. It may also be donated to a family in need that the charity supports. If it fails the inspection the mechanic will provide details of what need fixing. The charity will decide if is worth fixing the vehicle.
Those vehicles that are not road worthy or cost too much to repair will be striped for any valuable parts and the remainder will be send to the scrape yard. The parts of the vehicle will be separated and recycled. The steel from the frame and body panels will be sold off as scrap iron. The charity receives the proceeds from the recycling facility less the fee for processing the donation.
If you are donating a car that has sentimental value and you don’t want it to end up as scrap you can talk with the charity in advance. The vehicle will either need to be in good working order before the charity gets the donation or be cost effective for them to fix it.
Donating a car is simple and goes a long way to helping charities in need. Knowing the steps involved to get rid of your old junker can help make the process go smoothly.Posted on December 1, 2012