Donating your car in Florida is a way you can give back to your community or someone in need, or support a cause that is important to you. We’ll walk you through everything you need to donate your car in the state of Florida.
The Florida car donation process isn’t the most exciting task in the world, but it’s for a great cause! Keep in mind that you need to find a legitimate charity. All charities are not the same, and some charities aren’t real! Make sure you do your homework on any charity you choose to avoid getting scammed.
Make sure you have your paperwork in order. Before you jump headfirst into the Florida car donation process, you need to make sure you have the car’s signed title, the make and model of the car, the car’s current mileage, and the vehicle identification number (VIN).
It’s also good to know the car’s fair market value. You can use the Kelley Blue Book website to find the car’s fair market value to give you an idea of the Florida tax dedication you’ll earn by donating the car.
When you’re ready and have the required paperwork in order, you must contact the non-profit organization for the charity to come and collect your car. Also, save your receipt. Without the receipt of your donation, you won’t be able to claim your tax deduction for donating your car. You will also need the sales price of the vehicle if the charity decides to sell it.
There are different steps you need to keep track of when you’re donating a car. You need to find a charity that supports a cause that matters to you and accepts donations. Next, you’ll have to accurately calculate the fair market value of your car to take the right tax deduction the following April. In addition to this, you will also need to make sure you file your taxes with the appropriate forms when applicable.
You must also follow the FL HSMV steps for selling or disposing of a car you own, so a trip to the HSMV will be difficult to avoid. Make sure you take the following steps when you’re donating a car to charity in Florida:
- Select a charity
- Understand the IRS requirements for car donations
- Follow the FL HSMV requirements
- Cancel your auto insurance policy
Each Florida charity is different with different sets of rules. However, charities often accept the same type of car donations. In the state of Florida, you can donate the following:
Any time the ownership of a vehicle changes, the title must be transferred. The car’s title is a document that provides proof of ownership, and to donate a car in Florida, the title must be transferred to charity as a part of the gifting process.
If the charity regularly receives car donations, they will have a donation process set up to help make the transfer of ownership of the car as simple and as easy as possible. When you visit your local FL HSMV branch, make sure you have the car’s title with you. You will need to sign the car’s title over to the charity by filling in all applicable fields on the title. You will also need to include an accurate odometer reading.
It is required that the representative of the charity complete the title transfer application, which is available at the FL HSMV. The signatures that are required on the car’s title application may need to be notarized.
Although the completion of the title transfer is the responsibility of the charity organization that is receiving the car donation, you are responsible for notifying the FL HSMV that you have donated the car. Notifying the HSMV of the car donation releases you from any liability that is associated with the car.
Some states will require you to cancel the car’s registration immediately after the car is no longer in your possession. This is the time when you will also surrender the car’s license plates if required.
If you cancel your registration before your next registration renewal is due, you may be eligible to receive a partial refund from the time your car isn’t going to be registered. Check with the FL HSMV about receiving a refund.
In Florida, you are required to remove the license plates from the car you’re donating. Whenever ownership of a car is transferred to an individual or organization, you must remove the license plates.
You must contact your auto insurance agent or auto insurance company once you donate your car. It’s best to initiate contact by the end of the day that you donate your car. Your auto insurance company will be able to tell you the next steps in the process after donating your car.
When the ownership of a vehicle changes for any reason, you are required to complete a car title transfer with the FL HSMV. In Florida, car title transfers are mandatory. Two legal entities must perform a car title transfer between themselves.
You must prepare certain documentation and information that is required for the Florida car title transfer process. The seller and purchaser of the car must prepare the paperwork. To transfer the title of a vehicle, you may need the following documents:
- Completed car title by the seller
- Application for Certificate of Title with/without Registration (Form 82040)
- A notarized bill of sale (if required)
- Lien release (if applicable)
- Payment for all applicable fees
In addition to the above-listed paperwork, you may be required to provide other documentation, such as proof of FL auto insurance, a Florida insurance affidavit, or a power of attorney when the vehicle is leased.
For more information regarding the Florida car title transfer procedure, you can contact the FL HSMV.
To surrender your license plates in Florida, you must complete a Notice of Sale and/or Bill of Sale for a Motor Vehicle, Mobile Home, Off-Highway Vehicle, or Vessel (Form HSMV 82050) and take it to your local tax collector’s office or local Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FL HSMV) to prevent a financial responsibility suspension.
Different factors determine the Florida car title transfer fee you are required to pay in Florida, such as the following:
- Vehicle title transfer within FL:
- Electronic title issued: $72.25
- Paper title issued additional fee: $2.50 (add a $2 lien fee for each lien)
- Title transfer from out of state:
- Electronic title new vehicle: $77.25
- Electronic title used vehicle: $85.25
- New to Florida vehicle fee: $225 (add a $2 lien fee for each lien on the vehicle and add $2.50 for a paper title)
- Same-day service (available at certain locations): $10 plus the applicable title transfer fee
You will also pay vehicle registration fees if you’re registering your vehicle at the same time.
Finding a reputable charity can be a challenging task that you may not have expected, so use these tips to help you find a charity that you’re proud of. When you’re looking for a charity, consider the following:
- Consider the causes (charities) that matter the most to you (health, pets, medicine, community, environment, etc.)
- Use your resources to find charities (internet, co-workers, relatives, etc.)
- Make sure the charity is legit (evaluate facts about the charity)
- Avoid telemarketers
- Be cautious of new organizations (a lot of new charities are legit, but make sure you don’t get scammed.)
When you donate your car in Florida, you may be eligible for tax deductions and other benefits if the following applies when you sell or donate the car:
- Sold for more than $500 – you are eligible for a tax deduction that is equal to the sales price of the vehicle
- Sold for less than $500 – you are eligible for a tax dedication of up to $500
Be advised that tax-deductible donations are NOT accepted by all charities. If you donate to a charity that does not accept tax-deductible donations, you will not be eligible for a tax deduction when you file your annual taxes.
The IRS keeps track of all organizations that are eligible to accept tax-deductible donations and makes the list available to the general public via an online research tool found here.
The IRS requires you to retain the following information for your records if you plan to claim a tax deduction:
- Name and address of the charity
- Date of donation
- The location where you donated your vehicle
- Description of the vehicle (include the year, make, and model)
- Written acknowledgment of legal receipt from the charity (when sold for more than $500)
In most cases, you can cancel your auto insurance in minutes by making a phone call or providing written notice of your auto policy cancellation. Take these steps to ensure you cancel your Florida auto insurance policy correctly:
- Contact your insurance agency – you need to let your current auto insurance provider know you want to cancel the policy. Your new auto insurer, if you’re switching providers, can help you make the switch. Make sure you know the date you want your auto coverage to end, and the reason you’re canceling the policy.
- Ask about fees and refunds – some auto insurance companies offer a prorated refund on auto insurance premiums if you paid in full or canceled the policy shortly after making your payment. Keep in mind that some auto insurance companies charge a fee for canceling your policy.
- Submit cancellation forms – you may be required to mail or email the written notice of your auto policy cancellation or a cancellation form. You should be able to download the cancellation form from your insurance company’s website. If not, ask that the form be emailed to you.
- Cancel automatic payments – although your auto insurance provider should stop any automatic payment premium withdrawals from your bank account after the policy cancellation is final, you should also cancel any automatic payments from your bank account, so you won’t have to worry about possible overdraft fees.
- Make sure you have confirmation – auto insurance policies that are made by phone are often effective immediately. However, you need to ask for confirmation and a written notice of this cancellation to prevent any fees or complications with your auto insurance policy.
Here’s a recap of everything we’ve discussed in the article. Take a look!
Yes. Notifying the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is in your favor because doing so removes you from any liability associated with the car.
To donate your car, you need to find a charity that supports a cause that matters to you. You can find the steps for donating your car to charity in the section of this article titled “Finding a Reputable Charity”.
There are not too many rules here. The choice is yours. Find a charity that supports a cause that matters to you, such as health, pets, the environment, medicine, and others.
You’ll notify the FL HSMV of the car donation when you transfer ownership of the car you’re donating. You can find the specifics in the section of this article titled “Steps for Performing a Transfer of Title in Florida.
No. Since there are no smog check requirements in Florida, you are NOT required to have a smog check to donate your car.
Yes. You need the title of the car you’re donating because you and the charity’s representative need to sign the title to transfer ownership of the car.
You’re awesome! You just learned how to donate your car in the state of Florida.