Frequently Asked Questions | Vehicle Donations

If you have additional questions, please contact our Donor Support Line at: 855-2PRADIO (855-277-2346).

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7:00am - 9:00pm (CST), Mon - Fri
8:00am - 7:00pm (CST), Saturday
10:00am - 6:30pm (CST), Sunday

The Donation Process | Tax Benefits | State Notification

The Vehicle Donation Process

What do I need to donate my vehicle?

In most states, you will need the clear title to the vehicle— but if you do not have it, please call us anyway. It is possible that other arrangements may be made. Any lien holder listed on the title must be cleared and/or have an accompanying release by the bank. We are also available seven days a week, toll-free, at 855-2PRADIO (855-277-2346) during regular hours of operation (see above).

Do I need a smog certificate or safety inspection to donate my vehicle?

No. For states with this requirement, you may donate your vehicle without a smog certificate or safety inspection.

What types of vehicles do you accept?

All vehicles are considered! We strive to accept all types of donated vehicles, running or not, including cars, trucks, trailers, boats, RVs, motorcycles, campers, off-road vehicles, planes, heavy equipment, farm machinery, and most other motorized vehicles. To find out if we can accept your vehicle, please complete our secure online vehicle donation form or call us toll-free at 855-2PRADIO (855-277-2346) seven days a week during regular hours of operation (see above).

My car doesn’t run or hasn’t been used in years. Can I still donate it?

Yes! We can accept most vehicles, running or not. However, it must be in one piece and towable, have an engine, and be tow truck accessible. To find out if we can accept your vehicle, please complete our secure online vehicle donation form or call us toll-free at 855-2PRADIO (855-277-2346) seven days a week during regular hours of operation (see above).

Can you pick up vehicles in all 50 states?

Yes! We can provide quick and convenient vehicle pick-up and towing just about anywhere in all 50 of the United States. If you are outside of Wisconsin and have questions about donating to Wisconsin Public Radio, please contact us via our secure online vehicle donation form or call us toll-free at 855-2PRADIO (855-277-2346) seven days a week during regular hours of operation (see above).

How will my vehicle be picked up?

Once you have provided us with all necessary information via the online vehicle donation form or over the phone with one of our Donor Support Representatives, we will arrange to have a licensed tow company pick up your vehicle at a time convenient for you. The vehicle will be picked up and taken to one of our many sale locations where it will be sold—all at no cost to you.

How quickly can I have my vehicle picked up?

In most cases, once the donation record has been created, we can schedule the vehicle to be picked up on the initial call. In other cases, we will contact you within two to three business days to schedule a convenient appointment time with one of our preferred vendors. If you need your car picked up sooner, please let one of our Donor Support Representatives 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 855-2PRADIO (855-277-2346) during regular hours of operation (see above).

What do you do with donated vehicles?

We work with a large network of nationwide and independent suppliers to sell the vehicle and maximize donation proceeds. We analyze vendor pricing and performance on a regular basis to improve the process and ensure the best possible return for Wisconsin Public Radio and to maximize your tax benefit. Most vehicles are sold through local auctions. For unique or specialty vehicles, we may use other kinds of sales or markets to help ensure the maximum funds are received for each donation.

Why do you need my social security number?

If your vehicle sells for more than $500, we have to report the sale to the IRS in order for you to get your full tax deduction. To streamline the donation process, we ask all donors for their social security number during the initial intake process, so that we don’t have to get in touch again later, should that be necessary. Your information is kept confidential and safe and is only used for IRS tax purposes as required by law.

Vehicle Donation Tax Benefits

Is my vehicle donation tax-deductible?

Yes! Vehicle donations are tax-deductible. Individual tax situations vary. For specific tax-related questions, please consult your tax advisor or refer to IRS Publication 4303.

How is the value of my tax deduction determined?

We (the CARS vehicle donation service) work to get the highest return per vehicle, for you and Wisconsin Public Radio.

According to IRS Guidelines, if your vehicle is sold for more than $500, the maximum amount of your deduction will be the sales price of the vehicle, which will be listed on your IRS Form 1098-C that we will provide to you.

If your vehicle sells for $500 or less, you may claim up to $500, provided you have written acknowledgment (i.e. the initial donation receipt or the thank-you letter you receive once the donation process is complete).

Note, The “fair market value” of a vehicle is the price that you could sell it for in its current condition to another individual, willing seller and willing buyer, and it represents the cash that you give up to make the donation. A convenient source of this information is the private party sale value as shown in online valuation guides such as Kelley Blue Book.

Your tax deduction, described above, will likely be less than the fair market value of your vehicle, due to the way in which donated vehicles are sold.

What tax forms will I receive and how do I receive them?

In most cases, you will receive an initial donation receipt from the tow truck driver at the time of your vehicle pick-up. This initial acknowledgement will indicate your name as well as the year, make, model and condition of the vehicle you are donating. Within 30 days of the sale of the vehicle, you will be e-mailed a thank-you letter on behalf of the Wisconsin Public Radio Association. This letter serves as a tax receipt. This will be your final tax document if your vehicle sold for less than $500.

If your vehicle sells for more than $500 and your social security number has been provided, 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 donation.

How do I request a donation or tax receipt?

Please call us at 855-2PRADIO (855-277-2346) during regular hours of operation (see above), or email, and we will be happy to help you.

What if my vehicle is valued over $5,000?

Effective January 1, 2005, you are no longer required to have your vehicle appraised. The value you may claim will be the amount of gross proceeds received from your vehicle. If your vehicle sells for more than $5,000, you will need to complete Section B of Form 8283 and obtain an acknowledgment signature from Wisconsin Public Radio on the form prior to claiming the deduction, and the completed form will need to be included with your income tax return.

Where can I find additional IRS tax deduction requirements for a charitable car donation?

There are many resources available to guide you through the vehicle donation process. Please click the links below to access IRS publications and resources.

If you still have questions, please contact us toll-free at 855-2PRADIO (855-277-2346) seven days a week during regular hours of operation (see above).

State Notification

Do I need to notify my local Motor Vehicle Division when I donate my vehicle?

State Notification proves that you are no longer the registered owner of your donated vehicle. The steps needed for you to release your liability of your vehicle vary by state. Some states require that you remove and submit the license plates to a local Motor Vehicle Division and other states require a Release of Liability. For more information, please review our vehicle transfer support page here

Please contact us at 855-2PRADIO (855-277-2346) during regular hours of operation (see above) or email if you have any questions on how to notify your state about your donated vehicle. Our Donor Service Representatives can provide you with the steps necessary for each state.