How to Donate a Car in Utah

Donating a car in Utah can help your local charity and save you money with tax deductions. Here’s how to do it.
Written by Shannon Fitzgerald
Reviewed by Hillary Kobayashi
If you have an old car you’re willing to part with, arranging for a vehicle donation comes with a tax benefit for you and a financial gain for a local charity. In Utah, the donation process usually involves a free pick-up from the nonprofit organization of your choice and a receipt for a tax deduction. 
When you find yourself with a spare vehicle you don’t plan on using, the next step is often to
sell your car
or simply
trade it in
for a better model. However, if your vehicle doesn’t have a high value anyway, it may actually be easier (and more heart-warming) to donate it to a nonprofit instead. 
New to car donations? Don’t worry, we’re here to walk you through it. 
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How to donate a car in Utah 

To donate a car in
, you’ll first want to decide on the car donation program you want to go with. Depending on the nonprofit, you’ll usually fill out an online donation form and then they’ll help schedule free pick-up or free towing (if they accept vehicles that no longer run). 
Here’s a general rundown of how the donation process will go: 
  • Compile your vehicle’s documents—this includes the signed title, donation forms, and possibly an
    odometer disclosure form
  • Calculate your car’s value—in order to earn your tax deduction, it helps to know the actual cash value of the vehicle you’re donating 
  • Select your nonprofit—there are hundreds of both state and nationwide car donation organizations for you to choose from (we’ve listed a few big ones down below to help you decide!) 
  • Schedule your vehicle pick-up or towing—almost every car donation program arranges a pick-up for you, which eliminates much of the hassle on your end
  • Hold onto the tax receipt—after selling your donated vehicle, the nonprofit organization will typically give you some sort of official receipt for you to use during tax season
As with any vehicle exchange, the Utah DMV requires that you remove your license plate, notify the DMV of the transfer in writing or by phone, and complete a
Utah title transfer
when donating a car. Note that you’ll want to wait until your vehicle is in the charity’s possession before you cancel your
Utah car insurance coverage
If you’re donating to a Utah vehicle donation program and your vehicle is in another state, many nonprofits still offer towing and pick-up services as well. Just note that you will need to look into your state’s specific
title transfer requirements
. For example, title transfers in
North Carolina
, and
all need to be notarized

How do taxes work when donating a car? 

Once you donate a vehicle, you are eligible for a tax deduction both from the state of Utah and from the federal government. As most charities end up selling donated vehicles to raise funds, the amount you receive in your deduction will typically be based on how much your car sells for.
Here’s how each tax benefit breaks down: 
  • Federal tax deduction—you can claim a tax break for up to $500 if the nonprofit sells your car for $500 or less (even if its fair market value is higher). If the nonprofit chooses to keep the car, then you will claim its fair market value. Should your car sell for more than $500, your deduction limit will be the total selling price (again, even if its fair market value is higher). 
  • State tax deduction—Utah’s tax deductions for a donated vehicle are a little trickier. In most cases, you can apply up to 6% of your deducted federal return or itemized deduction toward a taxpayer tax credit. However, this credit
    depends on income brackets
    and may phase out if you make over a certain amount. 
To claim your tax deduction for your vehicle donation, you must itemize your deductions on Schedule A. Most nonprofit organizations will report to you how much your vehicle sold for through
IRS Form 1098-C
—if it’s over $500, you will need to complete
IRS Form 8283
In the event that a charity keeps the vehicle for its own uses, you can determine its fair market value through sources, like
Kelley Blue Book
, and claim this value on Form 1098-C.
Pro tip: The IRS gathered the answers to many FAQs about vehicle donation and tax deductions in its
donor’s guide to vehicle donations

Where to donate a car in Utah 

With an abundance of car donation programs out there, perhaps one of the most difficult steps is simply choosing a nonprofit to donate to. Here are a few Utah vehicle donation charities to get you started: 

Wheels for Wishes 

This nonprofit collects and sells car donations, then delivers the profits to local
branches. Make-A-Wish is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to realizing dreams for kids facing terminal or critical illnesses. 
If you’re interested in helping out with your donated vehicle,
Wheels for Wishes
accepts almost any type of vehicle, running or not running—this includes ATVs, motorhomes, watercraft, and even jet skis. They offer free pick-up in
Salt Lake City
West Valley City
, and
West Jordan
, along with several other locations across the state!

Vehicles for Veterans 

A nationwide charity,
Vehicles for Veterans
uses the money from vehicle donations to benefit veteran programs all across the country. They accept cars, trucks, boats, or motorcycles in working or non-working condition, and will pick up or tow away your donated vehicle for free, whether you’re down in
St. George
or up north in


Dedicated to improving educational opportunities across the United States, Kars4Kids partners with
to implement after-school programs, one-on-one tutoring, and enrichment and development for Jewish communities
If you want to donate your “kar” to this nonprofit, just fill out an
online donation form
and a free pick-up will be scheduled within 48 hours. Pick-up services are available almost anywhere in Utah, including smaller suburbs and cities, like
, and

Goodwill Car Donations

Goodwill accepts donations of most motor vehicles, regardless of working condition, and distributes the profits toward programs that offer local job training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged individuals. 
To donate, you can either fill out a
donation form online
or call their phone number: (866) 233-8586. 

TowKars of Utah & Idaho 

Associated with the National Kidney Foundation, TowKars sells donated vehicles and uses the funds to help kidney disease patients in Utah and Idaho pay for their treatments. Proceeds also go toward local medical research and community programs geared toward organ donation and kidney disease prevention. 
To donate, simply call 1-800-TOW-KARS or
fill out an online form
. Almost every type of vehicle is accepted and free towing is available throughout Utah and Idaho! 

Utah Food Bank 

While it may seem like you can only donate food (and money) to a food bank, that’s not actually the case. Utah Food Bank accepts limited vehicle donations in Salt Lake City and Washington County. The vehicle must have a
clean title
, working tires, and all of its parts to be eligible, however. 
Donated vehicles are either transitioned into the fleet or sold to benefit local food distribution in disadvantaged communities. To donate, just fill out an
online donation form
, and a representative will reach out within three business days to schedule a pick-up time. 
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