Frequently asked questions
What are the benefits of donating my car to WGBH?
WGBH benefits by receiving a cash donation to fund our new and existing programs and increase community awareness through local events.
You benefit by being able to reduce your taxable income when taxes are itemized. Plus you avoid the costs associated with selling your car. No need to pay for advertising, no loss of privacy and possible security risk, and no need to pay for vehicle registration, insurance, and repairs to keep your car in running condition while you wait for a buyer.
Do you only accept cars for donation?
Many types of motor vehicles are accepted including boats, motorcycles, trucks, and cars.
What does WGBH do with donated vehicles?
The vehicles are sold at a private auction. The funds from vehicle donations are used by WGBH to support and produce quality educational and entertainment programs as well as to support our outreach efforts in our community.
Does my car have to be running to qualify for donation?
In some cases we can take your car, running or not. However, it must have an engine and be towable.
What paperwork do I need?
The only paperwork needed is a signed, clear title. Have your title with you when you call in your donation. (Please note: a clear title indicates the title is in the name of the donor without a lien.)
What if I lost the title?
You will need to get a duplicate title and call us when you have received it. We cannot pick up your vehicle if you do not have the title. Log onto www.mass.gov/rmv/titles/6dup.htm or call 617-351-4500 for information on how to obtain a duplicate title in Massachusetts, or contact your state registry of motor vehicles department. Unfortunately WGBH cannot help you in this process.
What if my car won't pass the state inspection?
We can accept vehicles without a state inspection sticker or current registration as long as there is a clear title.
Do I need a smog certificate in order to donate my car?
For states that require smog certificates or safety inspections, you may donate your vehicle without these documents.
How does the new law effect my tax deduction?
Donors are no longer responsible for determining the deductible value of their donation. Instead, they will receive IRS Form 1098–C, Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes if the proceeds from the sale exceed $500, stating the amount of the gross proceeds from the sale of the donated vehicle. The amount listed on IRS Form 1098-C, Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes will be the gross proceeds of the deductible donation.
Will I get a tax receipt for my donation?
Yes, our driver will issue a receipt at the time of pickup. This is not your final tax receipt unless the sale of your vehicle does not exceed $500. This initial acknowledgement will indicate your name as well as the year, make, model, and condition of the car you are donating. It will be your only receipt if your vehicle sells for less than $500.
What can I claim as a deduction?
According to the tax law effective Jan. 1, 2005, if the claimed value of the donated vehicle exceeds $500, the taxpayer is limited to the gross proceeds of the sale.
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 car, provided your vehicle sold for more than $500. This will be your tax receipt for your charitable contribution.
How is the value determined on the vehicle donated?
The value is determined by the gross proceeds raised from the sale of the donated vehicle. You no longer have the burden of determining the value yourself.
Does the new law affect WGBH?
WGBH has additional paperwork in reporting the gross proceeds raised from the sale of the vehicle to the donor and IRS. The process of obtaining the cash donation from the vehicle remains the same.
What if my car is valued at more than $5,000?
Effective January 1, 2005, you are no longer required to have vehicles appraised. The value you may claim will be the amount of gross proceeds received from your vehicle.
When is the latest time I can donate a vehicle to WGBH and qualify for a tax deduction in the current tax year?
Vehicle donations committed to WGBH by midnight of Dec. 31 are considered as donations for that tax year, even if the vehicle is picked up and sold after Jan. 1.
Do I have to be with the vehicle at the time of pickup?
No. Special arrangements can be made by calling our representative.
Do I pay for the towing?
No, there is no charge to you for the towing.
Do I become a WGBH member by donating my car? If so, what level of membership will be offered?
You will become a member after your car is sold at auction and proceeds are credited to WGBH. Your membership level will be directly in alignment with the amount for which your car sold (for instance, if it sold for $300 or more, you will become a Leadership Circle member, if for $150 you will be eligible to be a club member, $50 regular membership.) Your membership will be a one-year membership. It will take approximately six weeks to process your membership from the time you receive notice that your car has sold at auction.
I donated my car several weeks ago but have not received my WGBH membership yet. When should I expect to receive it?
You should receive your member card and benefits package approximately six weeks after you have been notified that your vehicle sold at auction.