Donate Your Car for Charity


Car being towed for donation. Photo by Bob Reck/Flickr

By Ayrel Clark-Proffitt, Sustainability Resource Center

So you’ve decided to get rid of your car in favor of biking and public transit, but you are not sure what to do with your old car? Donate it, of course.

Wheels For Wishes, a car donation program benefiting Make-A-Wish Utah, will pick up unwanted cars, trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, RVs, or even boats for free anywhere in the state, whether the vehicle runs or not. The vehicles are sold at public auction, and the proceeds help the organization grant wishes for local children with life-threatening medical conditions. The donation is tax-deductible.

Some are sold to individuals to use, and others may be bought by scrap or part dealers. “Typically, cars that are 15 years or older will be sold for parts or as scrap, especially if they are not in working condition,” says Robin Mondloch of Wheels For Wishes. “Older vehicles that still run and are sold at auction to new owners would still need to be legal under any laws that Utah has for vehicle emissions.”

Kars4Kids vehicle donation. Photo by Kars4Kids Car Donation, Flickr

Kars4Kids vehicle donation. Photo by Kars4Kids Car Donation/Flickr

To claim the tax deduction for this year, the vehicle must be donated by Dec. 31. Learn more about giving your auto to charity by reading the Internal Revenue Services’ publication, A Donor’s Guide to Car Donations. Wheels For Wishes is a tax-exempt charity under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. To donate your vehicle, call 855-417-9474 or fill out the online form. It’s an easy process, says Mondloch.

Wheels for Wishes will contact donors within 24 hours to schedule the vehicle pick-up. After the vehicle is retrieved, the organization will mail a receipt for use when completing taxes, says Mondloch.

In addition to Wheels for Wishes, other organizations accept vehicles for donation, including the National Kidney Foundation of Utah and Idaho and local National Public Radio stations including KUED and KUER. Before donating a vehicle to a charity, make sure it is a qualified organization, such as a 501(c)(3).

Ayrel Clark-Proffitt is the outreach & education coordinator for the Sustainability Resource Center.

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