Goodwill Car Donations – Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I donate a vehicle to Goodwill?

There are several reasons to donate your car to Goodwill, including convenience, a significant tax deduction and knowing that you are helping to provide job training and employment programs for community members who are disadvantaged or disabled. To learn more about Goodwill of Greater Washington, please click here.

In addition to helping out your community, the car donation process is fast and easy for you! You don’t have to haggle with car salesman over trade-in values or worry about posting ads online and having strangers at your home to show your car. We pickup and tow your vehicle donation (for free) within 2 business days of contacting us and provide you with the documentation you will need to take a tax deduction.

What happens to my vehicle after I donate?

All vehicles donated to Goodwill will be sent to a public auto auction and resold. The proceeds from these sales are used to support Goodwill’s workforce development programs.

Does my car have to be running to donate?

WE ACCEPT ALL VEHICLES IN ALL CONDITIONS – RUNNING OR NONRUNNING.

If you have any questions about the condition of your vehicle for donation, please call us at (866) 492-2770 or email us at vehicles@gwcars.org!

What type of vehicles do you accept?

We accept all types of vehicles – running or nonrunning. Just some of the vehicles we accept include cars, trucks, vans, buses, SUVs, motorcycles, RVs, campers, airplanes, boats on trailers, mobility scooters and riding lawn mowers.

If you have any questions about vehicle you would like to donate, please call us at (866) 492-2770 or email us at vehicles@gwcars.org!

Do you provide a free home pickup service?

Yes. We pick up car donations Monday through Saturday within the greater Washington DC Metropolitan Area.

What do I need to do after I donate?

You will receive a donation receipt once you sign the title over to Goodwill. Please make a copy of your donation receipt and take it to the DMV along with your license plates and registration to the DMV as soon as possible to un-register your donated car. Once the car is unregistered, call your insurance company to cancel coverage (they might want a copy of the donation receipt, too).

It is important to keep the donation receipt along with all documentation of the car donation to ensure that you will not be held responsible for the vehicle in the future.

How much is my vehicle worth as an itemized tax deduction?

For a detailed explanation of the tax deduction regulations, please visit our Tax Advantages page here or refer to IRS Publication 561 regarding non-monetary donations here.

At the time of pickup, Goodwill will provide you with a donation receipt which will serve as documentation for a minimum tax deduction of the fair market value of the vehicle up to $500. If the vehicle is sold for more than $500, we will provide you with documentation to take a deduction for the full selling price of the vehicle.

We will provide you with a letter indicating the amount your vehicle sold for at auction and as well as the donation date. This letter may be used for tax purposes with a value in excess of $500 — which must be attached to your tax return. Keep a copy of that tax return with your other documentation. Make sure to keep your Goodwill donation receipt and your vehicle’s maintenance records for several years following the donation.

More IRS guidelines for charitable contributions can be found at their web site at http://www.irs.gov/ or by calling toll-free 1-800-829-1040.

Once the car is donated and resold, what happens if the new owner doesn’t legally register it and I start receiving tickets or impoundment notices from the police or DMV?

Although this is a very rare occurrence, this situation does come up occasionally. That’s why it’s so important for you to ensure that your tags are removed from your vehicle and returned to the DMV as soon as possible after you donate the vehicle. You can turn in a copy of your receipt along with your tags to the DMV to cancel your registration and document that you donated the vehicle and the exact date it was donated.

That being said, if this situation should occur, we will be happy to send a letter to the DMV confirming your donation to Goodwill, along with the Bill of Sale which lists the new owner’s name and address. These documents will prove that you are no longer the legal owner and absolve you from any further action.

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