Can You Donate a Car With an Expired Registration in Hawaii? What You Need to Know is an independent publisher. You will find affiliate links which means we may earn a commission if you purchase through these links. It doesn't cost you anything & it helps us keep the site running.

Do you want to donate your car in Hawaii? That’s great! The good news is that you can donate your vehicle in Hawaii. If the car has an expired registration card, you can renew the registration and complete the donation steps. We’ll help simplify the Hawaii vehicle donation process so that you can donate your vehicle with ease.

Donating a Car with an Expired Registration in Hawaii: The Basics

Donating a car with an expired registration doesn’t have to be a mission impossible. Here are the basics of donating a vehicle with an expired registration you need to know.

To donate a vehicle with an expired registration in Hawaii, you must have the proper documentation, such as a signed bill of sale and a release of liability form. If you donate your vehicle to charity, make sure you let them know that the vehicle you’re donating has an expired registration. You may have a specific process you are required to follow.

Potential Challenges and Solutions

Donating a vehicle that has an expired registration can be a tricky situation. However, it’s not impossible. Here are different challenging scenarios and solutions to these challenges.

Challenge: The charity (if you’re donating your vehicle to a charity) may not accept vehicles that have expired registrations.

Solution: Find charities that accept vehicles that accept vehicles with an expired registration. You may have to find charities that are not local that accept these types of vehicles. Call the charity and ask about their policy before heading out of your city to donate the vehicle.

Challenge: The Hawaii Department of Motor Vehicles (HI DMV) may require you to renew your vehicle registration before you can donate your vehicle.

Solution: Check with your local DMV/DOT branch to determine if you are required to register your vehicle. If so, you must renew your vehicle’s registration before you donate the vehicle.

Challenge: You may be held liable for all tickets and fines associated with the car’s expired registration.

Solution: You must cancel your vehicle’s registration as soon as possible once you donate your vehicle, which will release you of all liability associated with the vehicle.

Challenge: You may not be eligible to claim a tax deduction for donating your vehicle.

Solution: Consult a tax professional to help you determine if you are eligible to claim a tax deduction.

Understanding Hawaii’s License Plate and Registration Rules

The more you understand Hawaii’s license plate and registration rules, the better you can prepare to donate your vehicle or take the steps that are required to be able to donate your vehicle.

License Plate Transfer and Retention

To transfer your vehicle tags to a new vehicle, you are required to visit your county’s DMV/DOT branch and complete the transfer and vehicle registration process in person. You will need to bring the following documents with you:

  • Certificate of Title (the title must be correctly endorsed by the lienholder (if there is a lien on the vehicle), and the vehicle owner(s)
  • Last-issued Certificate of Registration
  • Current State of Hawaii Safety Inspection Certificate

You will also be required to pay the title transfer fee of $10. If you are moving out of Hawaii, you are not required to surrender your HI license plates once you relocate to a new state.

Out-of-State Plates and Registration

If you have out-of-state license plates, you must have a permit to operate your vehicle in Hawaii, specifically in Honolulu. Individuals who bring an out-of-state vehicle to Hawaii have 30 days from the date they establish residency to register their vehicle in the city and county of Honolulu or obtain a permit that allows the out-of-state registration and license plate to remain valid until they expire.

Finding the Right Charity for Your Car Donation

Finding the right charity can be overwhelming because there are so many charities to choose from. Use these tips to help you find a charity that accepts car donations.


Do a little research on the charities that accept car donations using websites such as Charity Navigator and Guide Star. You can also check out the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for local trustworthy car donation centers.

Ask for Recommendations

Ask your friends, relatives, and colleagues for recommendations on local car donation centers. You can also ask about charities they may have donated to in the past.

Check the Charity’s Reputation

Before you donate your vehicle, check the charity’s reputation. You may be surprised at how much information you can find out about a charity based on its reputation. Websites such as Give Will or Charity Watch give you the tools you need to research a charity’s financial health and transparency, to help you decide on the right charity.

Check if the Charity is Tax-Exempt

If you want to claim a tax deduction for donating your vehicle, ensure the charity is a registered 501 organization.

Make Sure the Charity Accepts Your Type of Vehicle

While a charity may accept vehicle donations, you need to make sure the charity accepts the type of vehicle you plan on donating. Some charities may not accept specific types of vehicles, such as older model cars and cars that require extensive repairs, such as a car that has a salvage title.

Find a Charity That Supports Something That Matters to You

Now is a great time to support something that means something to you. Research charities that support a cause that you also support, such as wildlife, the elderly in the community, children and families, law enforcement, and more.

Arrange for Pickup or Drop-Off

After you find a charity that meets your needs, you can arrange the pickup or drop-off of your vehicle.

Local Charities and Nonprofit Organizations

When you’re looking at local charities or nonprofit organizations, you’ll use the same methods above to find a charity. These charities and organizations will likely focus on the community, and specific causes, such as illnesses and diseases, local law enforcement, and more. You may see multiple charities under the same name that support members of the community, such as the Salvation Army.

National Car Donation Programs

National car donation programs are likely to have donation centers in each major town or city where you can donate your vehicle. You’ll be advised of the rules and regulations, and donation criteria. It’s a good idea to call the donation center to ensure your vehicle meets the donation criteria.

Tax Deductions and Benefits of Car Donations

You can receive significant tax savings when you donate your vehicle, but you must include it in your charitable contribution deduction. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires all individuals to calculate their tax deductions. You can do so in one of two ways, depending on how the charity of your choice uses your donation.

Deduction Options

Deductions for vehicles the charity sells are limited to the sales price. You will be asked to provide the price of the vehicle. In this section, use the amount the charity sells your vehicle for as the amount of the deduction.

Suppose the charity sells the vehicle at a tremendous discount to an individual in need or keeps the vehicle for private use. In that case, you are eligible to claim a deduction for its fair market value. If the sales price of the donated vehicle does not exceed $500, you can deduct $500 from your vehicle’s fair market value, whichever is less.

In most similar situations, you can use the vehicle’s fair market value. To determine your vehicle’s fair market value and calculate your deduction. The IRS suggests that you use a car price guide. You may want to consider using the Kelley Blue Book My Car’s Value online tool.

Be advised that to be eligible to claim charitable contributions, including the vehicle you donated, you are required to itemize deductions. You can donate your vehicle without itemizing, however, you won’t be able to claim a deduction for your vehicle and take the standard deduction.

How to Claim a Tax Deduction for Your Car Donation

To claim a tax deduction on your vehicle donation, you must take the following steps:

  • Donate your vehicle to a qualified 501 (c) (3) charity of your choice
  • Obtain a receipt from the charity (the receipt must include your name, the VIN, the date of your donation, and a statement of any goods and services you received in return)
  • Complete Form 8283 from the IRS if your vehicle donation exceeds $500. You may be required to get an appraisal if your vehicle is worth more than $5,000.
  • Itemize the deductions on your 1040 Form. Make sure you include the donated vehicle under the “gifts and charity” section. Use the standard deduction to determine which deduction saves the most money.

Additional Benefits of Donating a Car

Donating your vehicle to a local charity or organization is a great way to give back to your community, get rid of your vehicle, and simultaneously save on your taxes. Here are some benefits of donating your car to charity.

Helping a Charitable Cause

Donating your vehicle can help fund different programs and services that benefit the environment, people, and animals.

Tax Benefits

Vehicle donors may be eligible to receive a tax deduction for the vehicle’s value. Check with your city’s and state’s rules and regulations regarding vehicle donation tax benefits.

Environmental Benefits

If you want to get rid of an old or unwanted vehicle or free up space in your garage, donating your vehicle is a convenient and easy way to do so.

Supporting Affordable Housing

If you donate your vehicle to Habitat for Humanity, you can help repair or build affordable homes while also helping the environment.

Preparing Your Car for Donation

Once you’ve decided on a charity, you’ll need to prepare your vehicle for donation. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Gather Necessary Documents

To donate your vehicle in Hawaii, you must transfer the car’s title to the charity, organization, or representative of the nonprofit. You will also be required to sign and date the car tile as the seller, and the organization’s representative will complete the buyer’s section.

Under the sales price, write “gift” or “donation”. You must also have a bill of sale or a similar receipt document for tax purposes. Next, you’ll hand over a valid and current vehicle registration card and safety inspection certificate.

Be advised that a notice of transfer is required by law for you (the car’s donor) to complete within 10 calendar days after the pick-up date of the vehicle donation to release liability. The license plates must stay with the vehicle when you donate it. The car’s registration must also be current to be eligible to transfer ownership in Hawaii.

Arranging for Vehicle Pickup or Drop Off

You’ll need to speak with the charity’s representative to schedule a pickup or drop-off time. This process shouldn’t take long, but make sure the date and time you choose don’t interfere with other tasks or errands you need to complete.

You can donate your car with an expired registration card in Hawaii, especially if you follow the steps above. There are different organizations that accept car donations. Whether you choose to donate your vehicle to a local charity or a national charity, it can be done. Happy donating!