With so many different car donation programs out there it is getting increasingly harder to find a car donation program that you can trust. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking to donate your vehicle.
Make sure that the organization is legitimate.
1) Visit the organization. What better way to understand the operation than to check it out for yourself. This way any questions you have can be answered straight away. (If you can’t visit the organization, then call your local affiliate or even the national organization to verify that they have a vehicle donation program.)
2) If you are donating directly to the charity make sure that they are a registered 501(c)(3). This will ensure you are donating your car to a legitimate charity.
3) Research the organization. See what the organization does with its donations. You want to make sure that if you donate to a children organization that the money is going to go back to helping kids. We would recommend using Charity Navigator, this is a free online tool that rates most non-profit organizations in the United States. If you are unsure about what the organization does with its fundraising dollars then it is vital that you research the organization before you donate your vehicle.
4) Most charities will enlist a third party organization to handle all of their vehicle donations. Make sure to ask how much of the gross proceeds goes back to your chosen charity. Car Donation Wizard works with the top national charity brands because we give back over 82% of the gross proceeds to our charity partners.
Make sure to sign your title over.
This is extremely important.
1) If you do not sign the title, you are opening up yourself, and the buyer, to liability.
2) If the title is not signed over to the charity there is a chance that your donation will not be received by that charity. As mentioned before most charities will use a third party to process the car donation. Always check to see who charity wants you to sign the title over to. In most cases the title will be transferred over to the third party so as to remove the charity from any liability.
3) If the organization tells you that you are not authorized to sign the title, this is not true. Never send your title to any organization without signing it first. If an organization accepts your title without a signature or tells you not to sign your title, it could be a scam.
When donating your vehicle, every state has a different requirement when it comes to the title. On the Car Donation Wizard website we have a list of the requirements for every state, and the instructions on how to properly sign your title over.
Beware of vacation packages or gift cards.
When an organization offers a free vacation or gift cards along with the donation of a vehicle, sometimes they are not truthful about how the tax deduction for that vehicle works. If you are offered a free vacation or any other incentive with your donation, the cost of that incentive will come off your tax deduction.
For example, if you donated a vehicle and it sold for $5,000 and your vacation was worth $1,000, then you can only claim $4,000 on your tax deduction for that donation. The $1,000 is noted as goods and services received for the donation, so be aware of that.
Be aware of getting a receipt before your car is picked up. Receipts should only be issued once the vehicle is sold. The receipts must include these three things:
1) The gross selling price of the vehicle.
2) A statement that the vehicle was sold between to unrelated parties.
3) A statement that no goods or services were received for your contribution.
There is no way of telling the gross price of the vehicle or the related parties until the the vehicle is sold.
At Car Donation Wizard we work with top charities. We do the work to make sure we provide our donors peace of mind. We work hard to provide the charities with 82% of all gross proceeds for the vehicles donated. No other car donation organization can even come close to that number.