How to Donate Your Car to a Veteran
General Military Questions

How to Donate Your Car to a Veteran

There are several ways to support the troops.

Whether you provide financial contributions or emotional support, it is important that you acknowledge veterans.

Service members generously commit their own time and risk personal safety to protect the rest of the country.

If you are looking to get involved, have you ever considered donating a car to a veteran?

There are many different organizations that promise to deliver used vehicles to veterans, yet not all of them are authentic and have your best interests in mind.

Read the article to learn about three recommended car donation charities for veterans, and how to avoid getting scammed.

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Top 3 Car Donation Charities For Vets

There are countless car charities, some of which promise to donate exclusively to veterans.

It is important to exercise caution when considering a car charity, as sadly, many people try to take advantage of others.

Frankly, there are legitimate car donation charities and plenty of frauds.

During our research we found that the three most reputable car charities for veterans are:

  • Vehicles For Veterans
  • 1-800-Charity Cars
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV)

The list is not just limited to these three charities yet we found they are the most reputable and have a long-standing relationship with the military.

#1 – Vehicles For Veterans

car donation charity for veterans
Vehicles For Veterans is a nationally recognized car charity for vets. Image: Kirkland AFB

Location: St. Louis Park, MN

Who They Are: Vehicles For Veterans is a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

The organization states its mission is to “provide funding that will help to build better lives for all of our nation’s veterans and their families.”

Therefore, the Vehicles For Veterans program supports disabled vets and other causes not just through vehicle donations, but also through the support of health and wellness, employment, medical care, housing, and disability.

The charity supports veterans in all 50 states.

It also donates financial contributions to a series of reputable military-based charities like Homes For Our Troops, Operation Homefront, Fisher House Foundation, and Hope for the Warriors.

BBB Rating: None.

However, TrustPilot.com rates Vehicles For Veterans an impressive 4.7 out of 5 stars (based on over 1,200 reviews).

How To Donate Your Car To VehiclesForVeterans.org:

Vehicles For Veterans accepts cars, SUVs, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, and boats (with trailer).

The charity mentions that it will accept vehicles that are currently not operating yet also reserves the right to turn down a vehicle donation for any reason.

If you have any questions or concerns it is recommended that you contact the nonprofit at 1-855-811-4838 prior to scheduling a pick-up.

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Steps to Donate a Car

In order to donate a car to Vehicles For Veterans:

STEP ONE: Complete the application at their official website. You will need to arrange for a pick-up date and time. The pick-up is free of charge.

STEP TWO: Get a tax-deductible receipt from Vehicles for Veterans to help with your taxes next year.

STEP THREE: Make sure the vehicle is available the day of the scheduled pick-up and if possible make yourself available (though not mandatory).

The process is very straightforward and simple.

The tax receipt for the car donation is generally mailed to you within two weeks after the vehicle is picked up.

Vehicles For Veterans will contact you within 24 hours of completing the application, or the next business day.

Automobiles that are donated through the organization are sold at an auction or recycled into new materials.

Regardless, the proceeds from the sale benefit veterans charities making it a worthwhile program to consider.

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#2 – 1-800-Charity Cars

ways to donate car to vets
1-800-Charity Cars is another legitimate service for donating to veterans. Image: Health.mil

Location: Longwood, Florida

Who They Are: 1-800-Charity Cars was created in 1996, making it the longest-running veterans-based car charity in the United States.

The 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization has a standard mission “to engage in activities that will uplift humanity.”

Consequently, the main focus of 1-800-Charity Cars is to provide free, donated vehicles to assist struggling families.

1-800-Charity Cars is considered one of the pioneers of free car-ownership in the United States.

In fact, 1-800-Charity Cars operates the largest nonprofit car donation and distribution service in the nation.

1-800-Charity Cars has been profiled by Oprah, Montel, Good Morning America, and CBS Morning News.

The nonprofit is also a previous winner of the Walt Disney World Outstanding Community Service Award.

BBB Rating: None.

However, CharityNavigator.org rates 1-800-Charity Cars 94.74 out of 100.

GreatNonProfits.org also ranks the organization high based on the average overall rating.

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How To Donate Your Car To 800CharityCars.org:

1-800-Charity Cars accepts all types of vehicles, running or not.

There is no middleman dealing with 1-800-Charity Cars, and all the proceeds from the donation go to charity.

The organization offers free, nationwide towing and may pick up a donated vehicle in as little as one or two days.

1-800-Charity Cars has the option of using your donated vehicle as a “program car” or put it up in an auction,

Program vehicles are presented to veterans to get used as everyday vehicles.

However, if the automobile is not suitable for a program car the charity will notify you in advance.

It will also notify you if the vehicle is auctioned or sold to salvage for more than $500.

You can contact 1-800-Charity Cars with more questions about its car donation program at 1-800-242-7489.

Steps to Donate a Car

In order to donate a car to 1-800-Charity Cars:

STEP ONE: Complete the online application or contact the organization by phone (1-800-242-7489).

STEP TWO: Arrange a free vehicle pickup time. 1-800-Charity Cars will contact you within 24 hours to schedule a tow.

STEP THREE: 1-800-Charity Cars will send you a tax-deductible receipt for your donation. Full “Fair Market Value” deduction is possible through the organization.

According to 1-800-Charity Cars, your generous donation supports struggling families nationwide that apply for a vehicle through FreeCharityCars.org.

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#3 – Disabled American Veterans

veteran car donation charities
Disabled American Veterans is a large organization that also receives and donates vehicles. Image: Flickr

Location: Cold Spring, Kentucky

Who They Are: Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is a nonprofit charity organization that provides a lifetime of support to vets.

The organization reportedly assists more than one million veterans in “positive, life-changing ways each year”.

DAV provides more than 600,000 rides to veterans needed to attend medical appointments as well as assists with benefit claims.

Additionally, DAV assists by donating reliable donated cars to veterans or using the proceeds from an auction to support in other ways.

The services through DAV are offered at no cost to veterans and their families.

Disabled American Veterans currently has close to 1,300 chapters and more than one million members across the United States.

BBB Rating: Disabled American Veterans (DAV) meets the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability according to the Better Business Bureau.

How To Donate Your Car To DAV.org:

Disabled American Veterans (DAV) nonprofit accepts cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, campers, off-road vehicles, boats, and heavy equipment.

All vehicles are considered regardless of the condition or if they are operable.

Like the other two organizations, DAV offers free and convenient pick-up.

Additionally, the organization will help you qualify for a tax deduction thanks to your generous donation.

You can contact Disabled American Veterans for more information about the veteran’s car donation program at 833-227-4328.

Steps to Donate a Car

In order to donate a car to Disabled American Veterans:

STEP ONE: Complete the online application or schedule one over the phone by dialing 833-CAR-4DAV.

 

STEP TWO: Schedule a day and time that works best for the pick-up. A licensed tow company will pick up your vehicle anywhere in the United States within three days of completing the application.

STEP THREE: Most vehicle donations through DAV qualify for a tax deduction. The driver that picks up your vehicle will provide you with an initial donation receipt.

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Frequently Asked Questions

donate car to veteran
You can put the smile on a veteran’s face and make their day by donating a car or truck. Image: Army.com

There are several frequently asked questions when it comes to finding out how to donate a car to a veteran:

What do I need to watch out for to verify a charity is legitimate?

It is important to exercise caution when considering a charity you wish to donate a car or money toward.

Unfortunately, there are many online scams that attempt to take advantage of veterans in need.

When considering different car donation charities for vets consider if there is any middleman.

Avoid for-profit services that act as intermediary organizations.

Instead, a charity should handle the transaction internally to ensure 100% of the profits remain at the charity.

Secondly, verify the organization is a confirmed 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

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Next, make sure the transfer to the vehicle is done correctly.

Some charities will request that you leave the assignment of ownership space on the application blank so the organization does not have to retitle the automobile.

If you don’t formally sign over the title to another designated nonprofit you could be responsible for parking tickets or other issues after the vehicle leaves your possession.

Finally, check the ratings of the charity through legitimate sources like the Better Business Bureau, Trust Pilot, and Charity Navigator.

How Much Tax Credit Do You Get For Donating A Car?

Most vehicle donations qualify for a tax deduction even under the new Trump tax changes.

The organization has the responsibility to provide you with an initial receipt of the donation.

You may claim a tax deduction the fair market value of the vehicle up to $500, even if the automobile sells for less in an auction.

If the vehicle sells for more than $500 the organization should notify you and will provide IRS Form 1098-C to correctly report the donation.

What other benefits are there for donating my car to a charity organization?

There are a number of incentives to donating a car to a veteran aside from the tax break.

First, it can get an unwanted vehicle, underused automobile, or something that is simply taking up space on your property towed away for free.

Free towing is especially beneficial for owners that have a vehicle that is no longer operating.

Secondly, it saves time because trying to sell an unwanted vehicle or trade it in requires a fair amount of effort.

Car donations to veterans are streamlined and convenient.

Lastly, you will feel great about your generous donation and help out a veteran that needs assistance.

Car donations to vets have a profound effect on their outlook of life.

It presents them with a renewed sense of self-worth and fosters independence with the ability to have their own ride.

Even if the automobile is auctioned off the financial contribution can go a long way toward housing, food, medical, or other primary expenses.

How do I deduct my car donation?

The charity will send you a receipt of the car donation at the time of pick-up or shortly thereafter.

It is important to keep thorough documentation of a car donation because the IRS tends to targets non-cash donations the most in audits.

If the car is valued over $250 you need to obtain and keep a written acknowledgment from the organization.

Furthermore, IRS Form 8283 (section A) is required to complete your annual taxes if the donation is worth more than $500.

If the vehicle is valued over $5,000 you will need to have an independent appraisal completed and fill out section B of IRS Form 8283.

Can I donate a car that doesn’t work?

Yes, all three car donation charities for military veterans listed in this article will consider vehicles that are not operable.

However, that doesn’t guarantee the charity will take the vehicle yet it will still consider based on its condition.

For more information contact the charity directly to inquire about older motor vehicles.

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Can I donate a boat, RV, or any other motorized vehicle?

Yes, most legitimate organizations (including the three mentioned in this article) welcome other types of vehicles.

In fact, Disabled American Veterans will also consider heavy equipment making the options nearly endless. 

I’m a veteran. How can I get a donated car?

Great question, let’s see how we can help you out!

1-800-Charity Cars works with FreeCharityCars.org to find qualified veterans that need a personal vehicle.

However, the website recently suspended receiving new applications because of the high volume of requests.

VehiclesForChange.org is another example of a car donation service yet it is restricted to the east coast.

Cars4Heroes.org also offers an application process for requesting a personal vehicle.

You should also reach out to nationally recognized military charities as many of them have solutions for getting transportation assistance based on your location.

Local services directed toward veterans or those struggling to get by may also have ideas.

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Conclusion

Donating a car to a veteran is straightforward and simple through one of the top three recognized car charities.

Your vehicle may be used as a personal automobile for a struggling family or auctioned off for parts.

Regardless, the proceeds from these reputable military-based charities 

Rob V.
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