How to Donate a Car in New Jersey

Car donation in New Jersey could get you $500 or more in tax deductions.
Written by Rebecca Wardell
Reviewed by Georgina Grant
background
If you have an extra vehicle that you've
paid off
that’s taking up space, why not consider donating it—and earning a tax deduction at the same time? In
New Jersey
, you can write off $500 or more for donating a vehicle to a reputable nonprofit’s car donation program.
Sometimes saying goodbye to your old car is more difficult than you’d expect. So what should you do when your truck has hauled its last load or your Jeep has taken its last off-road trip? You only have three choices: sell it, trade it in, or junk it, right? Wrong! 
It might not immediately occur to you, but vehicle donation is also a great option. You’ll help out an organization in need and relieve yourself of a burden that’s taking up space on your property. Beyond cars, most organizations’ car donation programs will also accept trucks, motorcycles, motorhomes, jet skis, other personal watercraft, and more.
If you’re not sure where to begin, we’ve compiled a guide to New Jersey car donation—including where you should donate it and how to avoid scams.
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How to donate a car in New Jersey

The car donation process in New Jersey is pretty straightforward, and that’s one of the major perks: convenience. This is how it will go down:
  • Find a qualified organization that has a vehicle donation program. This can be challenging because not all charities are eligible. But some would have you believe otherwise—donating cars has become popular, so the industry is rife with scammers. Make sure you pick a verified organization that has a mission with which you align.
  • Use the IRS’s
    online search tool
    to check Pub. 78 data. This will let you know if the organization of your choice can receive tax-deductible donations.
  • Organize your documents. Chances are you’ll need a signed title, but sometimes you’ll also need information about the car like the make and model, VIN, and current mileage. You can obtain a duplicate of the vehicle title from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
  • Determine the car’s fair market value. The most popular resource for this is
    Kelley Blue Book
    .
  • Arrange a pickup. Your chosen organization might have online donation forms for you to fill out, or it could be as simple as making a phone call. Some nonprofits that take car donations also offer free pickup. It’s quick too—most organizations will schedule your pickup within one business day of reaching out.
  • Hang on to your tax-deductible receipt. You’ll need this to claim your tax deduction. If the charity of your choice ends up selling your donated vehicle, you’ll need to know the sale price—this affects how much you can claim.
Key Takeaway Some advertisements welcoming car donations are placed by scammers. Research an organization’s tax records before making a vehicle donation.

How do taxes work when donating a car?

One of the biggest perks of donating a car is the tax deduction you can claim. A lot of organizations that accept car donations sell the vehicles to raise funds. The sales price of your vehicle affects how much you can claim on your taxes.
  • If the sale is greater than $500, you will claim the sales price on your taxes, regardless of whether or not the market value was higher. That means, if the fair market value of your donated vehicle was $4,300 but it sold for $3,500, you can only claim the $3,500.
  • If the sale is less than $500, you have to claim whichever amount is less: $500 or the market value. 
  • If no sale occurs, you are able to claim the fair market value.
Don’t forget that these rules only apply to organizations that are qualified by the IRS to accept tax-deductible donations. You can’t donate a car to your neighbor who volunteers to help the needy, for example. (Well, you can—but you won’t be able to claim it on your taxes.)

Where to donate a car in New Jersey

You’re convinced donating your car is the way to go, but where should you start? Here’s a list of organizations to look into when donating your car in the Garden State.

Cars for Prostate Cancer

Cars for Prostate Cancer
is a nationwide charity that funds research on prostate cancer. This organization sells donated cars to help raise funds and provides you with an IRS tax receipt for your vehicle. It’s easy to donate to this charity, and they have processing centers in Trenton, Glassboro East, and Somerville.

Wheels for Wishes

Wheels for Wishes
is a national charity that sells donated cars to raise funds for critically ill children through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The New Jersey chapter of Wheels for Wishes offers free pickups and tows if you live in Newark, Elizabeth, Clifton, Camden, Jersey City, Paterson, Passaic, Princeton, Somerset, or almost anywhere else in New Jersey.

Goodwill

Goodwill
is a well-known place to donate used clothing and household items, but they also accept car donations. Your car will benefit job training for disadvantaged people in New Jersey.

Kars4Kids

Kars4Kids
is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is dedicated to funding educational, developmental, and recreational programming for low-income youths in New Jersey. They process all of their car donations in-house so more of your donation goes toward the cause.

Vehicles for Veterans

Vehicles for Veterans
is dedicated to supporting disabled veterans all across the U.S. They offer free towing and/or pickup regardless of the vehicle's condition, running or not, and promise the maximum refund amount possible.

Cars2Charities

Many organizations are incapable of processing vehicle donations themselves, so they use a third-party service like
Cars2Charities
. When you donate directly to Cars2Charities, you can choose which organization will benefit from a list of partner charities.
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