How To Donate a Car in California - Donate Car to Charity for Tax Credit

Are you ready to donate a car in California? If so, good for you! Donating a car to charity is a wonderful decision on many levels. First of all, your donation goes to help a great cause. Plus, you get your old vehicle or junk car moved off of your property free of charge. And you also get to claim the car donation as a tax deduction.

How to donate a car in CA for tax deduction?

Just 3 easy steps you could donate your car right away.

1.Find a charity

CalRecycle (California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery) has listed many charities which could take the car donation.

Program Cost Phone Number
Breast Cancer Car Donations Free866-540-5069
California Automobile Donation ProgramFree 888-676-1089
California Car DonationFree866-392-4483
Cars for U.S. TroopsFree888-693-8032
Charity DispatchFree866-829-2918
Donate a Car 2 CharityFree866-779-1361
Habitat for HumanityFree877-277-4344
Sacramento Children’s Home Vehicle Donation Free800-240-0160
Sacramento GoodwillFree916-295-2225
San Francisco GoodwillFree866-701-CARS
SoCal GoodwillFree800-898-8285
Veteran Car Donations Free877-594-5822
Vetmade - Vehicle Donation ProgramFree800-613-3123
Wheels For WishesFree877-431-9474


CalRecycle declared that it does not officially endorse the organizations listed, but offers this information for consumers who wish to recycle their unwanted vehicles. Althougth CalRecycle did not endorse the listed charities, but these are probably more reliable than those showed in advertisement, anyone who wants to donate a car could just choose one charity from the above list that he or she thinks trustworthy.

This article does not make any recommendation either and all the information about tax credit could change according to related policies, so the above list is just a reference and for more reliable information please visit:

2.Arrange a pickup

Call the charity or visit the official website of the charity you have chosen, and tell them about your car. Normally, within 24 hours the charity will call you to arrange a convenient pickup time.

3.Receive a tax deduction

After the pickup, in around 2-4 weeks you will receive a tax receipt and some other bonus that those charities prepared for you such as vacation voucher. And you are done!

Other things you might want to know:

1.In the State of California, the license plates remain with the vehicle, so these should not be removed prior to the pickup.

2.Filing a Release of Liability with the California Department of Motor Vehicles is an important step you do not want to miss when you donate a car. This document releases you from future liability which may arise for any reason after the vehicle is donated. In California the procedure for filing a Release of Liability is that you must return the pink portion of the title or DMV form REG 138 to your local Department of Motor Vehicles. Alternatively, you can file your release of liability online at

3.Different charities will get different percentages of money based on your donation, so if you really want to make your donation work, you probably should do some research to find out which one get a higher percentage. According to Mercury News, the following one is doing a lot better than others: Advanced Remarketing Services of Warren RI processed $1.1 million of vehicle donations for the Independent Charities of America in Larkspur, CA. The charity got $888,104, or 78.4 percent.

For more information about how much will the middle-man(such as car towing company) cost in car donations, please visit:

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