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Donating your car is a great way to pay it forward and help someone in need. In New York, you need to follow different guidelines and steps to donate your car. This article will take you through the ins and outs of donating a car in New York. Let’s get ready to donate your car in NY!

Getting Started with the Car Donation Process in New York

There are different steps you are required to donate your car. Here’s a traditional outline of the car donation process in New York.

  • Find a charity
  • Become familiar with the IRS requirements for car donations in New York
  • Understand the NY Department of Motor Vehicles (NY DMV) requirements
  • Cancel your auto insurance policy

There are a few things that occur between these steps but don’t worry, we have you covered.

The New York Car Donation Process

Most of the transactions you make regarding donating a car will occur at a New York Department of Motor Vehicles (NY DMV) branch. We’ll go into a little more detail about the car donation process in New York.

Who Wants My Car?

You’d be surprised at how many people would love to be the new owner of your donated car. However, not all charities are eligible for car donations. When you create your list of charities (at least 4), make sure you choose an organization that is qualified to accept tax-deductible donations to ensure you’re not getting scammed.

It seems pretty obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how much someone would go through to make a charity appear legit. You can use the IRS online search tool to help you find a charity that supports a cause that matters to you.

What Documents Do I Need?

The standard must-have documents you need to donate a car include a signed car title and the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN). You may also be required to provide an accurate odometer reading.

Know the Fair Market Value of the Car

The car’s fair market value (FMV) is essential for claiming the deduction on your taxes. Kelley Blue Book is a great resource tool to use to help with these calculations.

Getting Your Vehicle to the Charity Site

Once you get through some of the paperwork, you’ll want to know how you actually donate your car. The good news is many organizations offer a pickup service free of charge. You may also be able to complete some or all of the donation forms online or by calling the organization.

Keeping the Paperwork Organized

You’ll have forms that you’ll want to keep safe, so make sure you keep all the paperwork about the car you’re donating in a folder. Any paperwork you keep from this transaction, such as the tax-deductible receipt, should be kept in the same folder for future reference. Make sure you obtain a copy of the donation information from the organization that plans to sell your car in the same or a different folder.

Determining if Your Car is Eligible for Donation in New York

Before you start researching charities that match the causes you want to support, you need to make sure your car is eligible for donation in New York. Currently, the following vehicles are accepted in New York for donation:

  • Cars: sedans, hatchbacks, coupes, hybrids, convertibles, sports cars, wagons, and luxury cars
  • Vans: camper vans, passenger vans, family minivans, and cargo vans
  • SUVs: full-size, or crossover versions, compact, midsize
  • Trucks: box trucks, panel trucks, pickup trucks, and extended cab pickups
  • Motorcycles: off-road bikes, cruisers, sports bikes, touring bikes, panel trucks, choppers, and scooters
  • Boats: speedboats, houseboats, sailboats, fishing boats, pontoon boats, catamarans, tugboats, and yachts
  • Specialty vehicles: motorized wheelchairs, riding lawnmowers, and non-commercial planes
  • Fleet vehicles: passenger vans, SUVs, cars, cargo vans, trucks, buses, and pickup trucks
  • Recreational vehicles: jet skis, snowmobiles, RVs, motorhomes, pop-up trailers, travel trailers, campers, and 5-wheelers
  • Work-related vehicles: tractors and farm equipment, large trucks, construction vehicles, buses, and landscaping vehicles

New York DMV Requirements for Donating a Car

Like the IRS, the NY DMV also has requirements you need to follow to donate your car.

Negotiating the Terms of the Donation

You may or may not need to negotiate the terms of the donation with the organization, but we thought we’d include it anyway just in case. Be advised that there is a $50 fee to transfer the car’s title plus other applicable fees, such as the cost of ownership (maintenance, insurance, and registration fees).

If you’re looking for a tax break, check with the organization and discuss how they plan on using the car you’re donating. Make sure you and the charity are on the same page to ensure there are not any unexpected fees.

Record the Donation with a Bill of Sale

Taxes are all about paperwork and numbers, so it’s great to have a record of the donation. You may be required to complete the following steps when you donate your car:

  • Accurate bill of sale
  • Statement of Transaction (Form DTF-802)
  • You and the charity representative will need to sign the bill of sale as legal proof that you both agree on the terms of the donation

Transferring the Vehicle’s Title

When you transfer the car’s title, you are also transferring ownership of the car. You will also need to confirm whether you need a vehicle inspection or are required to pass an emissions test. You need to visit your local NY DMV branch within 10 days of donating the car.

You must have the following items and documents to transfer the title of the car you’re donating:

  • The car’s original NY title or other acceptable proof of ownership (such as the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO) if you’re donating a new vehicle)
  • The back of the NY car title needs to be signed and an odometer disclosure statement and damage disclosure statement must be provided.
  • A valid, unexpired driver’s license for you and the charity representative
  • Proof of a valid NY auto insurance policy
  • A completed Vehicle Registration/Title Application (Form MV-82)
  • A completed Statement of Transaction (Form DTF-802)
  • Payment for the $50 title transfer fee
  • Payment for NY taxes (if applicable)

If you’ve been driving the car, keep the license plates. The new owner of the vehicle will be required to complete the vehicle registration process, and they will obtain new license plates and registration stickers for the car.

Finding a Reputable Charity in New York

It’s time to find a charity! Finding a charity can be somewhat frustrating if you don’t know what type of charity you want to support, so here are a few ideas. There are tons of different causes that charities support, including the following:

  • Animals (rescued animals, wildlife)
  • Military veterans
  • Children and Families
  • Seniors
  • Healthcare and medicine
  • Environment (recycling and “going green”)

Regardless of the charity you choose and how legit the charity may appear, make sure you check that the charity is legit. You can check a charity’s legitimacy by researching the organization. You can use the following tools to help you determine if a charity is legit:

Tax Deductions and Benefits

There are a lot of benefits other than tax deductions, that accompany donating a car, such as the following:

  • Help a charity with a cause you support
  • Be eligible for a tax write-off
  • Avoid the hassles of selling a car
  • Free car pickup

IRS Requirements for Car Donations in New York

It’s awesome to be able to donate to a good cause, especially one you believe in! The other exciting thing about donating a car is the tax deductions. If the organization chooses to sell the car your donated car, the sale price will affect what you can claim when you file your taxes.

If the car sells for at least $501, you will claim the sale price regardless of the market value of the car. For example, if the donated car is worth $1,345, but the sale price was $900, you will be limited to claiming $900 on your taxes.

If the car sells for $500 or less, you can claim $500 or the car’s fair market value, whichever is less. If the organization chooses not to sell the car, you will claim the car’s fair market value on your taxes.

Be advised that the deduction amounts only apply to organizations that are eligible to receive tax-deductible donations, so keep this factor in mind when you are choosing a charity.

Where Can I Donate My Car in New York?

There are different car donation centers in New York. We won’t list every car donation center, but we’ll list a handful of different centers to help you get started with your car donation journey.

Cars for Kids
(888) 605-1992 (call 24 hours)

  • Fast free pickup
  • The car can be running or not operational
  • No emissions test required

United Breast Cancer Foundation
(844) 486-1689 (call 24 hours)

  • Accepts donated cars to help support breast cancer survivors, patients, and families

Rawhide Ranch
(855) 672-0836

  • Helps change the lives of at-risk youth and families
  • Accepts a variety of vehicles (cars, trucks, boats, bikes, and jet skis)
  • Fast, free pickup

WXXI Reachout Radio
(585) 258-0333
P.O. Box 30021
Rochester, NY 14603

Car Donation in New York FAQ

Q. How is the Value of Donated Cars Determined?

The value of a donated car is determined using different factors, such as the car’s current condition, age, mileage, driveability, and resale value.

Q. What Types of Vehicles Are Accepted for Donation in New York?

Although each organization is different, many charities accept a variety of vehicles, including vans, cars, boats, jet skis, motorcycles, tractors, and trucks. Check with the organization about the types of vehicles they currently accept.

Q. How is My Donated Car Collected?

In most scenarios, donated cars are collected by the organization. If this is the case for the charity you’re donating to, you and the organization’s representative will work together to schedule a time and date that works for you.

Q. Can I Donate My Car If It Doesn’t Run?

Most organizations will allow you to donate your car even if it doesn’t run. Check with the organization to learn about their donation guidelines.

Q. What Happens Once My Vehicle is Picked Up?

In general, the car is picked up and sold on behalf of the organization. Once the vehicle is sold, you’ll receive a letter of acknowledgment providing you with the details of the sale.

Q. If I Paid Off My Car but There Is Still a Lienholder Listed, Can I Still Donate My Car?

No. Before you can donate your car, only your name should be on the title unless there is another individual (not a lender) listed on the title. In this scenario, all owners of the vehicle will need to sign the car’s title and endure the donation process.

If the car’s title still shows a lienholder, but you’ve paid the car off, you must obtain a lien release from the lender.

Q. Can I Still Donate My Car If I Lost the Title?

If you don’t have the car’s title, you can apply for a New York Duplicate title by completing an Application for Duplicate Title (Form MV-902). You can apply for this form in person at your local NY DMV or online.