Even though we make donating to East Bay SPCA easy, we understand that you may have additional questions regarding the car donation process, tax deductions, or DMV regulations. We've compiled a list of frequently asked questions that will help provide answers to questions you may have regarding donating your unused car, truck, RV, boat, camper or other vehicle.
If you are unable to locate the answer to a question, please do not hesitate to reach out to our live operators at: 855-500-RIDE (855-500-7433)
What does it mean to be 501 (c)(3)?
Section 501(c)(3) is the portion of the US Internal Revenue Code that allows for federal tax exemption of nonprofit organizations, specifically those that are considered public charities, private foundations or private operating foundations. It is regulated and administered by the US Department of Treasury through the Internal Revenue Service. More information can be found here.
What can I donate?
We accept most cars, trucks, trailers, boats, RV's, motorcycles, campers, off road vehicles, heavy equipment and most other motorized vehicles. All vehicles are considered! 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 855-500-RIDE (855-500-7433) seven days a week during regular hours of operation.
Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes! Individual tax situations vary so please consult a tax professional to determine how you may benefit. You can also view IRS information on Charitable contribution deductions here for additional information.
How much will my tax write-off be?
The amount that is tax deductible is the sale price of the vehicle. For more information on tax write-offs, we suggest you review IRS Publication 4303 which sets forth the manner in which the IRS allows you to write-off the value of your donated vehicle.
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. Please call us toll-free at 855-500-RIDE (855-500-7433) seven days a week regular hours of operation.
My car hasn't run in years. Can I still donate it?
Yes. We are able to accept most vehicles running or not. Exceptions include older vehicles whose value would not offset the cost of towing. Most vehicles need to be intact and in towable condition. To find out if we can accept your vehicle, please complete our secure online donation form or call us toll-free at 855-500-RIDE (855-500-7433) seven days a week during regular hours of operation.
Can you pick up vehicles in all 50 states?
We are able to pick up most vehicles in the continental United States. If you are outside California and wish to donate to East Bay SPCA please contact us via our secure online donation form or call us toll-free at 855-500-RIDE (855-500-7433) seven days a week during regular hours of operation.
Do I have any liability issues to worry about?
Once your vehicle is picked up by our certified towing company, you will be given a receipt that releases you from future liability for your donated vehicle.
How is the value of my car determined?
Before filing your taxes, we suggest you review IRS Publication 526 which sets forth the manner in which the IRS allows you to write-off the value of your donated vehicle.
How will the car be picked up?
Once we have the necessary information from you, provided via the Online Donation Form or over the phone via 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 to schedule an appointment within two to three business days at a 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 855-500-RIDE (855-500-7433) during regular hours of operation.
How does the new law effect my tax deduction?
Donors will no longer be responsible for determining the deductible value of their donation. Instead, they will receive IRS Form 1098-C, Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes if the proceeds from the sale exceed $500, stating the amount of the gross proceeds from the sale of the donated vehicle. The amount listed on IRS Form 1098-C will be the gross proceeds of the deductible donation.
Will I get a tax receipt for my donation?
Yes, the driver will issue a receipt at the time of pick-up. This is not your final tax receipt unless the sale of your vehicle does not exceed $500. This initial acknowledgement will indicate your name as well as the year, make, model and condition of the car you are donating.
It will be your only receipt if your vehicle sells for less than $500. 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 car, provided your vehicle sold for more than $500. This will be your tax receipt for your charitable contribution.
How is the value determined on the vehicle donated?
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.
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 understand 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 reading on the requirements the IRS has for car donors, here are some resources:
IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions
IRS Publication 561, Determining The Value of Donated Property
IRS Publication 4303, A Donor's Guide to Car 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 us toll-free at 855-500-RIDE (855-500-7433) seven days a week regular hours of operation.
Does my car have to be running to donate it?
In some cases we can take your car, running or not. However, it must have an engine and be towable. Contact a representative at 855-500-RIDE or 855-500-7433 to find out if your vehicle qualifies for pick-up.
Do I need a smog certificate in order to donate my car?
No. For states that require smog certificates or safety inspections, you may still donate your vehicle without these documents.
What type of paperwork will I need to donate my car?
You will need a clear title. 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.
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 the DMV. Please contact your State DMV for directions on how to notify the state that you are no longer the owner of the vehicle.