Everything is bigger in Texas! We don’t know how that applies to donating a car, but it’s a rule! Donating a car is beyond thoughtful and a way to give back to your community or a charity of your choosing. Let’s talk about donating a car in the Lone Star state.
Getting Started with the Car Donation Process in Texas
We’ll take things one step at a time and tell you how to initiate the car donation process in Texas. There are different rules and guidelines you need to follow to donate your car. You will also need specific paperwork to donate your car. Did you know that if you donate your car, you could be eligible for a tax deduction? It’s true! The car donation process in Texas is straightforward in most instances. To donate your car in Texas, you need to do the following:
- Select a charity
- Understand the IRS requirements for car donations in Texas
- Becoming familiar with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicle (TX DMV) requirements
- Cancel your auto insurance
What Types of Vehicles Are Accepted for Donation in Texas?
Different vehicles are accepted for donation in the state of Texas. These vehicles can include the following:
Some charities accept more vehicles than the ones that are listed above, so make sure you check with the charity you’re donating to regarding the types of vehicles they accept.
The Texas Donation Process
Each charity has its specific guidelines and rules, but we’ve compiled a list of steps that can still help. There’s nothing better than being prepared!
Transfer the Car’s Title
You must provide a clean title vehicle to the charity of your choice. Providing a clean title helps minimize the number of mishaps that can occur due to missing paperwork. As the donor (the person who is donating the vehicle), it’s important to provide the charity with the car’s title and file any required forms that are required to transfer ownership of the car you’re donating.
Provide Written Acknowledgement
If you plan on receiving a tax deduction from donating a car, you need to have written acknowledgment for the charity if the car is worth more than $250. The acknowledgment form should include the following information:
- The charity’s name
- Your name
- Donation date (the date you donated the car)
- Vehicle description (include the car’s model, color, year, and any other required information)
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Taxpayer identification numbers (required from you and the charity representative)
- A statement that says no goods or services were provided by either party (you or the charity you’re donating to) in return for the contribution
For donations that are valued at, at least $500, you may be required to file a Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes, IRS form (Form 1098-C). This form can also be used as a donor acknowledgment form.
In most instances, a charity will provide you with a written acknowledgment within 30 days of the donation (if the charity decides to accept your vehicle) or within 30 days of its sale. Be advised that the state of Texas may require additional documentation.
Estimate the Car’s Value
It’s a good idea to obtain the vehicle’s value for tax purposes. You can do this in different ways. Here are 3 ways to help you out:
- Have the vehicle appraised
- Estimate its Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds value, given the vehicle’s current condition
- Ask about the amount the charity will receive from the vehicle’s eventual sale
Be advised that the IRS requires you to claim ONLY the amount the charity receives from the sale of the donated vehicle.
File the Appropriate Tax Forms
As the car’s donor, you are required to file specific tax forms depending on the car’s tax value. The following are the most common forms you may be required to complete:
- Form 8283 (Noncash Charitable Contributions, Section A): As the car’s donor, you are required to complete this form if you are claiming a deduction that is worth more than $500.
- Form 8283: Noncash Charitable Contributions, Section B: As the person who is donating a car, you need to complete this form and obtain an appraisal if you are claiming a deduction that is worth more than $5,000. An authorized charity representative must sign your form. Charities that sell or dispose of a vehicle that requires Section B documentation within 2 years are also required to complete IRS Form 8282.
- Form 1098-C: Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes: This form is required for vehicle donations that are valued at or exceed $500.
Determining if Your Car is Eligible for Donation in Texas
In Texas, you can donate a variety of vehicles, including the following:
- Jet Skis
There are other vehicles you may be able to donate. Check with the charity to learn more about the vehicles they accept.
Texas DMV Requirements for Donating a Car
Transferring the Car’s Title
When you donate your car, you will need to transfer the car’s title. The car’s title is proof of ownership to ensure the car is not stolen. If the charity you chose regularly receives donations, they will have a donation process that makes it easy for you to donate your car.
Make sure you take the car’s title with you when you visit the charity to donate your car because you will need to sign it over to the charity. There are different sections of the car’s title you are responsible for completing, which can include providing an accurate odometer reading.
You and the charity’s representative may also be required to complete a title transfer application, which is available through the TX DMV offices. Be advised that some of the forms you are required to sign must be notarized before they are submitted and accepted by the TX DMV.
Notifying the Texas DMV of the Title Transfer
The completion of the title transfer of the donated car is the responsibility of the charity’s representative. However, you are responsible for notifying the TX DMV that you have donated the car. Notifying the TX DMV about the car donation releases you from any liability that is associated with the donated car since you are no longer the legal owner. You can notify the TX DMV of the car’s donation by visiting your local TX DMV branch.
Surrendering Your License Plates
In Texas, if you choose not to transfer the license plates of the donated car to a car you currently own, you must surrender the plates. Be advised that you must surrender your license plates in person at your local Texas tax accessor or collector’s office.
Finding a Reputable Charity in Texas
Finding a reputable charity can be more of a challenge than you anticipated, but no worries! We’ve got you covered. To choose a reputable charity in the state of Texas, use the following tips:
Decide on a Category
There is more than one charity in Texas, and finding the perfect charity can be frustrating. Deciding on a category will help you narrow down the charity that’s right for you. You can choose from charities that support different causes, such as the following:
- Veteran support
- Rescuing animals
The key to finding a charity is to find one that supports something you’re passionate about.
Narrow Your Search
Next, you need to narrow your search. Now that you’ve identified charities that support causes that are important to you, you need to choose THE ONE. You can also use a charity search engine, such as charitynavigator.com or charitywatch.org.
Confirm the Legitimacy of the Charity
Confirming the legitimacy of the charity can also help you determine which charity you will donate your car to, and a great way to make sure you aren’t scammed. Be aware that some charities look like actual charities, but are NOT. So, confirming the legitimacy of a charity is essential.
Consider How the Charity Will Use Your Donation
Find out how the charity plans on using the car you’re donating. Some charities use the cars that are donated to help families in need, while other charities use the donated cars to support members of the community or to help teenagers with their first set of wheels.
Tax Deductions and Benefits of Donating Your Car
There are many benefits of donating your car to a charity that you may not have known, such as tax deductions. Let’s explore other benefits of donating your car to a charity.
Benefits of Donating Your Car to Charity
Maybe you’re on the fence about donating your car to charity. Check out these benefits of donating your car:
- You can support causes that are important to you
- Avoid expensive repairs for an older model car
- Free some garage or driveway space
- Better than an alternative to a low trade-in offer
- Giving back to your community or others
- Automobile deductions are deductible
Texas IRS Requirements for Car Donations
There are four conditions under which the IRS allows donors (people who donate their cars to charity) to claim a donated vehicle’s fair market value. The four conditions are as follows:
- A vehicle that sells for less than $500: if the charity sells a car at auction for $250, but its fair market value was $400, as the car’s donor, you can claim a $400 deduction.
- The charity uses the donated vehicle for charity: if the charity uses a donated vehicle to do work or perform different tasks, such as delivering meals, you can deduct the car’s fair market value from your taxes.
- The charity you choose does overhauls: if the charity you choose makes significant improvements that prolong the vehicle’s life and increase its value before selling it, you can deduct the vehicle’s fair market value. Minor repairs or cleaning do not qualify as increasing the car’s value.
- The vehicle is donated or sold to a person in need: if a charity gives donated vehicles to people who need transportation, or sells them at low prices for the same purpose, you may be eligible to deduct the vehicle’s fair market value.
Where Can I Donate a Car in Texas?
Great question! There are tons of different charities and other places that accept car donations in Texas. Although we’re not listing all the car donation centers in Texas, we’ve created a list to help you get started.
List of Car Donation Centers in Texas
Helps change the lives of children and at-risk families. They accept a variety of cars.
United Breast Cancer Foundation
(844) 486-1689 (available 24 hours a day)
Accepts donated cars to support breast cancer patients, survivors, and families.
Cars for Kids
(888) 605-1992 (available 24 hours)
Donations help find missing children. Donated cars can be running or not in operational order.
Other Car Donation Centers
Texas State Unit on Aging
701 West 51st Street
Austin, TX 78714
Texas Education Agency
1701 North Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701
Lighthouse of Houston
3602 West Dallas Avenue
Houston, TX 77019
Car Donation in Texas FAQ
Is my social security number required to donate my car?
You will NOT need your social security number to donate your car UNLESS it is sold or has a fair market value that exceeds $500. Your social security number will be required on form 1098-C. However, check with the charity for their specific on donating a car.
Is there a fee to donate my vehicle?
There is no cost if you are the individual donating the car. All expenses for the donation process are deducted from the car’s gross sales price. In a scenario where the cost exceeds the price, these costs are covered by Charitable Adult Rides and Services (CARS).
How do I schedule a pick-up date for my car?
You will e contacted y the towing or vendor company. At this time, you will be given a time frame to schedule your vehicle pick-up.
My car hasn’t been used in years. Can I still donate my car?
In most car donation situations, cars that have not been used in a few years are still accepted. However, the car must be in one piece and able to be towed. The car must also have an engine and be tow accessible. Check with the charity to ensure your car is eligible for donation.
How do I make my car accessible for towing?
You must park the car in your driveway, in front of your apartment building, or on the street away from other vehicles and items that block a tow truck from accessing the car.
Can I still donate my car if the is in a different state?
If the car you’re donating is in a state other than Texas, you may still be able to donate your car. However, you may be required to complete the necessary forms for donation for the state where the car is located. The charity may have multiple locations in different states, so check with them to see if your car can still be picked up.
What is the fair market value of my car?
The fair market value of a car will not be the same for every car. A car’s fair market value is the price the car can be sold in its current condition.