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Frequently Asked Questions About Donating A Vehicle To Wheels For Wishes

How To Donate A Car

Donate Your Car In 3 Easy Steps

  1. First, call 1-855-278-9474 or visit our online donation form.
  2. Next, we’ll arrange your free tow within 24 hours of the next business day.
  3. Finally, when the car donation process is complete, we’ll mail you your tax deductible receipt.

Still have questions? Here's some more information on how to donate a car.

What Paperwork Do I Need To Donate My Vehicle?

In most cases we will need the title to the vehicle, but each state has its own requirements. Check out our vehicle donation title FAQ for more information. Even if you do not have title papers, call us anyway; other arrangements can be worked out in most cases. You may contact us by calling us toll free at 1-855-278-9474.

We appreciate your car donation, and we want to help make that possible for you. If you have any other questions, you can look at our car donation FAQ. Our representatives are standing by on the phone, ready to help you identify any paperwork you need to donate your vehicle.

What Do I Do With My Vehicle Title?

Wheels For Wishes will tell you what is required in your state. Most states do require that you have a clear title to the vehicle to be able to donate. If you have other questions you can go to our vehicle donation title FAQ to get your vehicle title questions answered.

When Does My Liability For The Vehicle End And Who Transfers The Title?

On the day we receive your vehicle, our insurance provides coverage. We will handle all transfer documents according to your local state Department of Vehicle Services guidelines, and provide you with receipts and information for your tax deduction.

If you have any other questions concerning your car donation, visit our FAQ page. If you have more title-specific questions, we have a helpful vehicle donation title FAQ page as well.

Do You Pick Up And Tow Away The Car?

Yes, we will pick up the vehicle running or not for free, from a location that is convenient for you. If you fill out our online donation form we will call you the same or next business day to schedule your vehicle pick-up. If you make your vehicle donation by calling us at 1-855-278-9474 we will schedule your pick-up at that time.

What Type Of Vehicles Can Be Donated?

We accept most cars, trucks, vans, fleet vehicles, trailers, boats, motorcycles, and RVs, subject to approval. We have representatives standing by to answer any question you might have such as: "what you can donate?" and "what condition of cars are accepted?" Please call us toll free at 1-855-278-9474.

Can I Donate My Car If It Doesn't Run?

Yes, we are able to accept most vehicles whether they run or not. Even if your car hasn't run for years, you can donate it to charity. For more information, please call 1-855-278-9474.

Donating your car that doesn't run versus trying to sell it is typically less stressful and more beneficial. You will still receive free vehicle pick-up when you donate a car that no longer runs. In most cases, non-running cars are recycled. Regardless of whether your car runs or not, the proceeds from its sale benefit your local chapter of Make-A-Wish.

Can I Deduct The Car Donation?

Yes, vehicles donated to registered nonprofit organizations are tax deductible. Because we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, your car donation to Wheels For Wishes is completely tax deductible. After we receive your car donation, we will mail you a receipt that states your tax deduction amount.

In general, if the car you donate sells for less than $500, you can claim the fair market value of your vehicle up to $500. If your donated vehicle sells for more than $500, you will be able to claim the exact amount for which your car sold. Learn more about how the IRS allows you to claim a tax deduction for your car donation on our IRS Tax Information page.

How Do You Determine The Value Of My Donated Vehicle?

Now you don't have to because of the IRS Car Donation Tax Laws

Your car donation to an IRS approved 501(c)(3) charity is still tax deductible and will fall into one of these categories:

  1. For vehicles sold for under $500, you can claim the fair market value up to $500.00 without any additional paperwork.  The preliminary tax receipt will be mailed after vehicle has been confirmed picked up.
  2. If the gross proceeds from the sale of your donated vehicle exceed $500.00, your deduction will be limited to the actual sale price. You will also be asked by the donee organization to provide your Social Security for the purposes of completing its IRS Form 1098-C form.

We will provide you with a receipt stating the final sales price of your vehicle within 30 days of its sale.

How Do I Schedule A Pickup?

Call 1-855-278-9474 any time, day or night, and our representatives will assist you.  Our agents will send your donation order to the nearest towing partner to contact you directly to schedule the pickup.

If you would prefer to start online vs. making a phone call for your car donation, you can fill out a car donation form on our website. Your vehicle will be towed away for free at the time you discuss with one of our representatives. If you would like more information on your local chapter, you can find it here. If you have any other questions, check out our car donation FAQ page. 

How Much Of The Selling Price Of My Donated Vehicle Goes To The Local Chapter Of Make-A-Wish?

Car Donation Foundation (CDF), d/b/a (Wheels for Wishes), is a federally registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. You receive a tax deduction for the total amount that your car sells for. See here for tax information.

Wheels For Wishes thanks you for your generosity and truly appreciates your donations. While the costs of turning donated vehicles into cash are high compared to other forms of charity fundraising, through your donations, CDF d/b/a Wheels for Wishes has donated over $113,000,000 to local Make-A-Wish Chapters since 2010.

Proceeds from donated vehicles go to CDF, which in turn provides direct cash donations to other charities such as individual Make-A-Wish Chapters. The amount that your vehicle ultimately sells for is based upon its make, year, mileage and condition. These are the sales proceeds from your vehicle. CDF also has normal expenses involved in directly promoting the car donation program (advertising) and costs involved in turning your donated vehicle into cash (towing fees, auction fees, administrative costs). CDF's cash donations to Make-A-Wish Chapters are based upon the sale proceeds of all donated vehicles during a given month, less deductions for normal monthly costs such as towing, advertising, auction fees and administrative fees. Because of the difference in sales proceeds from one vehicle to the next and because of the costs involved in turning your donated vehicle into cash, the donation that CDF makes to Make-A-Wish Chapters from the sale of your individual vehicle can be a larger percentage for a higher value vehicle, or much lower for an older low valued non-running vehicle that is recycled. The lower percentage is a result of there being minimum fixed costs incurred to obtain, tow and sell each car. These fixed costs can sometimes be a high percentage of the selling price of a low valued scrap vehicle. CDF does receive a large number of donated scrap vehicles, which can bring the estimated average donation per vehicle percentage down. For 2020, the average percentage donated to benefiting charities by Car Donation Foundation was approximately 39% based on Total Revenue compared to Grants and Similar Amounts Paid as reported on the annual IRS Form 990.

Car donation programs do have higher costs to promote and operate, compared to other forms of charity fundraising. If you are concerned about giving 100% of the value of your vehicle to a charity, the best way to do so is to sell your vehicle yourself and directly donate your sale proceeds to your favorite charity. We invite you to read more about the Overhead Myth published by the three leading guides in nonprofit information.

Who Benefits From My Car Donation?

While making your donation, you can choose to benefit your local chapter of Make-A-Wish to help grant the wishes of children in your community. If you'd like to benefit a different chapter of Make-A-Wish, you can! Wheels For Wishes is partnered with Make-A-Wish chapters around the country. Find the chapter you would like to benefit here.

Who Else Does Car Donation Foundation Benefit?

Wheels For Wishes is a car donation program that benefits local chapters of Make-A-Wish. Proceeds from car donations help make dreams come true around the country. You can find what local chapters of Make-A-Wish we benefit here.

Car Donation Foundation also runs Wheels for Wishes & Wellness, and Vehicles for Veterans.

Wheels for Wishes & Wellness benefits local children’s hospitals and charities.

Vehicles for Veterans benefits disabled American veterans by raising money to provide funding for various programs to help support their needs.

Vehicle For Veterans is a car donation program that benefits Operation Homefront and in Minnesota benefits Airlift Command.

CDF’s mission is to help these benefiting charities fulfill their missions with proceeds from CDF’s car donation programs. CDF and all benefiting charities are separate and unaffiliated 501c organizations.

Can You Donate A Car To A Person?

No. Wheels For Wishes accepts vehicle donations. We get the maximum value from your donation through our processing partners, donating the proceeds to your local Make-A-Wish chapter.

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Here are some of the questions we get asked at Wheels for Wishes all the time about car donation. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, call 1-855-278-9474 for more information.

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CDF also runs the following programs:
Wheels for Wishes benefiting Make-A-Wish®, Wheels for Wishes & Wellness benefiting local children's hospitals and charities, Vehicles for Veterans benefiting disabled veterans, and Animal Car Donation benefiting animal rescue organizations.

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CDF's mission is to help these benefitting charities fulfill their missions with proceeds from CDF's car donation programs. CDF and all benefitting charities are separate and unaffiliated 501c organizations.
© 2009 - 2024 Wheels For Wishes (Car Donation Foundation)
A federally registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization