Car Donation In California, CA
What You Need To Know

Car donation California CA - How to donate your car in California CA

Every state has their own rules and laws regarding car donation; car donation in California is no exception to this rule.

While there are a lot of rules and paperwork involved, the steps for how to donate a car in this state are relatively simple if you have a guide to show you the way.

Below we answer the main questions and issues should be looking to make a donation to your favorite charity in Los Angeles or anywhere in the state of California.

We have also included links where appropriate to download forms you may require from the IRS or Department of Motor Vehicles in Ca.

1. What Can I Donate in California, CA?

donation car CaliforniaWhile car donation is one of the most popular types of things you can donate in California, cars are not the only things you can donate to your charity of choice.

You can donate boats and recreational vehicles too. If you have a vehicle that you’re not sure can be donated, something not covered by “how to donate a car” instructions such as heavy machinery, all terrain vehicles or a plane, contact your 501(c)(3) charity of choice and ask them if your vehicle is eligible.

It never hurts to ask, especially if you have an unusual vehicle that you want to donate.

2. Maximizing Your Charity’s Donation In CA

donate vehicle to charity in CaliforniaCharity car donations are great for groups that accept car donations, but if you want to ensure that your charity gets the most money for your donation there are several things you should keep in mind.

Deal directly with your charity, and if you can drop the vehicle off so the charity doesn’t have to come and get it.

Find a charity that has its own program, rather than one that works with a for-profit company, that way there’s no earnings cut; when your charity sells your car, all the money goes to the 501(c)(3) organization.

Lastly, take care of all the maintenance and cleaning that you can to save the charity the trouble of doing it.

All the repairs that you take care of before donation are repairs that the charity doesn’t have to get done.

3. Documents Needed To Donate Cars In CA

donate your used car to charity in CaliforniaIdeally when you donate your car you want to have the car title. Your title will come with a release of liability form, and it’s the easiest way to donate your car.

However, if you don’t have the title you need to get REG 227 or pick up REG 226 at your local CA Department of Motor Vehicles branch.

You need to sign these forms as the seller, fill them out, and present them with your vehicle donation.

For more information on California forms and to get answers to your questions visit the Department of Motor Vehicles California website, or call (800) 777-0133 in order to speak to a representative from the Department over the phone.

Both REG forms may be found and printed online.  You might like to also familiarize yourself with the DMV website section on changing vehicle ownership in California.

Consult also the section on driver vehicle licensing in California if required.

Changing Title In CA – Where To Sign

The DMV in California has provided a useful video which shows you how and where to sign the vehicle change of California title form.

Any additional documents that you may require can be found on the California vehicle registration forms page.


4. Releasing Liability of a Vehicle in California

vehicle donation in CAWhen making a vehicle donation one of the most important considerations is release of liability.

If you don’t make sure that you’re released from all liability then any accidents or injuries that happen with your car, even after you’ve donated it, could still be considered your fault.

The release of liability form is attached to your title, but additional copies of DMV Form 138 can be downloaded online.

Always make sure that your liability is released when you donate your car, and make sure that you leave the license plates with the vehicle when you’re donating in California.

5. Maximizing Your Car Donation Tax Deduction

donate car tax deduction in California CAYour tax deductible car donation can be bigger or smaller depending on how you go about it.

For instance, if you seek out a charity that’s going to use your vehicle for a significant amount of time before sale, or if you find a charity that intends to give the vehicle away for free or for a significantly lower price than market, then you can claim the fair market price of your vehicle as your deduction.

Additionally, making repairs and enhancements that improve the car’s worth, and thus the sale price, will also increase the value of your tax deduction.

Also remember that if you have an itemized tax deduction over $500 then you will need the receipt, and IRS Form 8283 has to be turned in with your taxes.

6. Where To Donate Your Car In California?

vehicle donation program in California CAWhether you want to give your car to a kids charity (see donate your car Los Angeles) or you prefer a car donation program that gives vehicles to the poor and needy who lack independent transportation, you have to be sure that the charity you’re using qualifies you for a tax deduction.

  • Anaheim
  • Bakersfield
  • Bay Area
  • Chula Vista
  • Eureka
  • Fontana
  • Fremont
  • Fresno
  • Glendale
  • Huntington Beach
  • Irvine
  • Lancaster
  • Long Beach
  • Los Angeles
  • Modesto
  • Monterey
  • Moreno Valley
  • Oakland
  • Oceanside
  • Orange County
  • Oxnard
  • Palm Springs
  • Pleasanton
  • Rancho Cucamonga
  • Redding
  • Riverside
  • Sacramento
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Santa Ana
  • Santa Barbara
  • Santa Clarita
  • Stockton

If you’re not sure which charity qualifies as deduction worthy the Better Business Bureau provides a list.  Also consult  Charity Navigator.

Each charity will have its own rules and locations for you to drop off your car, and some charities will even offer pick-up services.

However, the exact cities and locations will vary from one charity to the next depending on the 501(c)(3) organization you pick.

Donating To Charities In Nearby States

You are not limited to donating your car to a Californian charity only. If you live near the CA state border, you might like to consider looking at qualifying organizations in Arizona, Nevada or Oregon.

where to donate your car in USA

For more information about donating a car in any of these states see the following:


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