Even though we make donating to the Sierra Club Foundation easy, we understand that you may have additional questions regarding the car donation process, tax deductions, DMV regulations. We've compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help provide answers to questions you may have about donating your unused car, truck, RV, boat, camper or other vehicle.
If you are unable to locate the answer to a question you have, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our live operators at: 855-33-SIERRA (855-337-4377).
What do I need to donate my vehicle?
You will need the title to the vehicle, but if you do not have it, please call us anyway. It is possible that other arrangements may be made. Any lien holder listed on the title must be cleared and or released by the bank. This law varies by state. Please refer to the DMV in your state for clear instructions. Please call us toll-free at 855-33-SIERRA (855-337-4377) seven days a week during regular hours of operation.
Do I need a smog certificate to donate my car?
No. You may donate your vehicle without a smog certificate or safety inspection.
What can I donate?
All vehicles are considered! We accept cars, trucks, trailers, boats, RVs, motorcycles, campers, off-road vehicles, heavy equipment and most other motorized vehicles. If you have any additional questions about what you can donate or specific questions about your potential vehicle donation, please call us toll-free at 855-33-SIERRA (855-337-4377) seven days a week during regular hours of operation.
My car hasn't run in years. Can I still donate it?
Yes! We can accept most vehicles running or not. However, it must have an engine and be towable. To find out if we can accept your vehicle, please complete our secure online donation form or call us toll-free at 855-33-SIERRA (855-337-4377) seven days a week during regular hours of operation.
Can you pick up vehicles in all 50 states?
Yes! We can provide quick and convenient vehicle pick-up and towing just about anywhere in all 50 of the continental United States. For more information, please contact us via our secure online donation form or call us toll-free at 855-33-SIERRA (855-337-4377) seven days a week during regular hours of operation.
How will my car be picked up?
Once you have provided us with all necessary information via the online donation form or over the phone with one of our operators, we will arrange to have your vehicle picked up at a scheduled time convenient for you. The vehicle will be picked up by a licensed tow company at no cost to you. The vehicle will be taken to one of our many sale locations where it will be sold.
How long will it take to pick up my car?
We will contact you within two to three business days to schedule an appointment time that is convenient for you. If you need your car picked up sooner, please let our operators know during your initial call. We will do our best to accommodate your time frame. For more specific information pertaining to your vehicle donation, please call us at 855-33-SIERRA (855-337-4377) during regular hours of operation.
How is the value of my car determined?
The value is determined by the gross proceeds raised from the sale of the donated vehicle. You no longer have the burden of determining the value yourself.
Based on a variety of factors including: year, make, model, mileage, overall condition, geographical location and historic values in that location as compared to quoted direct-buy prices, CARS will recycle SCF vehicles that are 1994 and older. There may be some exceptions to this, such as in the case of classic or collectible vehicles that are rarely driven.
Is my donation tax-deductible and when will I get a tax receipt?
Yes! Your vehicle donation is tax-deductible. The amount that is tax-deductible is the sale price of the vehicle. You will receive an initial donation receipt from the tow driver at the time of your vehicle pick-up. This initial acknowledgement will indicate your name as well as the year, make, model and condition of the vehicle you are donating. You will then be mailed a tax receipt within 30 days of the sale of the vehicle. This will be your only receipt if your vehicle sells for less than $500.
If your vehicle sells for more than $500 and your tax identification number has been provided, an IRS Form 1098-C, ‘Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes’, will be mailed to you within 30 days of the sale stating the amount of gross proceeds received from your donation. Individual tax situations vary. For specific tax-related questions, please consult your tax advisor or refer to IRS Publication 4303.
What can I claim as a deduction?
According to the tax law effective January 1, 2005, if the claimed value of the donated vehicle exceeds $500, the taxpayer is limited to the gross proceeds of the sale.
What if my car is valued over $5000?
Effective January 1, 2005, you will no longer be required to have vehicles appraised. The value you may claim will be the amount of gross proceeds received from your vehicle.
What are the IRS tax deduction requirements for a charitable donation?
While we are always open to answering any questions you may have, we realize that some donors will wish to have a more thorough and in depth knowledge of IRS requirements for charitable donations. If you would like to do some of your own reading up on the requirements the IRS has for car donors, here are some links:
IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions
IRS Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property
IRS Publication 4303, A Donor's Guide to Vehicle Donations
IRS Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions
IRS Instructions for Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions
If you still have questions please feel free to reach out to us toll-free at 855-33-SIERRA (855-337-4377) seven days a week regular hours of operation.
Do I need to notify the DMV when I donate my vehicle?
Each state has different criteria on how notification is made. Some states require the license plates to be returned to the DMV and other states may require a Release of Liability to be submitted to their local Department of Motor Vehicles. Please contact your State DMV for directions on how to notify the state that you are no longer the owner of the vehicle.