Donating a car to charity is a good way to get a vehicle off your property and a tax-deductible contribution onto your income tax filing. Many charities accept vehicles that don't run or are in pretty poor condition. If you don't have the title to the vehicle, many charities will guide you through the steps necessary to get a copy of the title.
Obtaining a Title
A legitimate car donation charity shouldn't accept your vehicle donation without a title -- and there are plenty of scam organizations out there. It's not illegal for a charity to take a car without a title, but taxes, registration and related fees remain the owner's responsibility until the title is transferred. You can obtain your car's title by contacting your state's Department of Motor Vehicles.
Charity Helps Obtain the Title
Well-known charitable organizations -- including the National Kidney Foundation, the American Lung Association and the American Diabetes Association -- provide toll-free numbers on the vehicle donation sections of their websites regarding donating cars without titles. These charities work with agencies that can help you obtain your car's title. It's likely the donation won't be accepted until the title is received.
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Some charities, such as the National Federation of the Blind, don't accept cars without a clear title. As the NFB notes, a clear title means that a creditor doesn't have a lien on the car. You own the car outright, and a bank, other financial entity or private lender has no interest in it. You might have a clear title because you paid off the loan, but you never received the title from the bank. If that's the case, contact your lender with proof of payment and have the lien released.