What Happens to the vehicle After I Donate It?
Typically one of three things:
Give the vehicle to a family or person of need through our “Wheels to Work” Program.
Use the vehicle in our ongoing operations.
We sell the vehicle and use the proceeds to fund our charitable programs.
Does the Car Need to Be Running?
How is the Vehicle Picked up?
Mercy Airlift will pick up the vehicle at no cost to you.
Can I Use the Donation as a Deduction on My Taxes?
How do I Calculate my Tax Deduction?
Tax Law changes, effective January 1st, 2005, limit the allowable deduction to; 1) $500 or the amount Mercy Airlift receives from the sale of the vehicle if sold or 2) the "fair market value" if the vehicle is used by the Mercy Airlift or gifted as part of its mission.
If Sold by Mercy Airlift:
You may immediately claim up to $500 for your vehicle. If the claimed value is greater than $500, you can claim the gross proceeds (excluding towing and other fees) Mercy Airlift received from the sale of your vehicle.
Several factors influence the sale price including; wholesale prices (typically 20% less than retail), vehicle age, condition and where the vehicle is sold. Mercy Airlift is then required to send you a statement of sale price within 30 days of the sale (the sale could take several months).
If used or Gifted by Mercy Airlift (ex. given to a needy family in the Wheels to Work Program):
You can still deduct "fair market value" (the price which the property would have sold in the open market). Mercy Airlift is required to send you notice that you have donated your car for "fair market value" within 30 days of donation.
If you are able to deduct the fair market value (FMV), you will need an appraisal for any vehicle valued at over $5000. To determine the value of vehicles less than $5000, an appraisal can still be used to determine the value. FMV can be estimated using resources such as region Kelley Blue Book values.
If your vehicle deduction totals more than $500, you will need to file IRS Form 8283 (Non-cash Charitable Deductions). This form will be provided to you by Mercy Airlift. More information can be found on IRS Publications 561 and 526. You can also find these forms and more information at
What are the Benefits of Car Donation?
Benefits of donating your vehicle or equipment to Mercy Airlift include;
Supporting Mercy Airlift and our programs, tax deduction, and ease of disposing of the vehicle.
The vehicle may be used in our Wheels to Work Program benefiting people who need transportation to secure employment.
Reducing Air Pollution. Car donation programs have removed thousands of vehicles from the highways, some of which are ten years old or older and have a high level of emissions - polluting the air and damaging the ozone layer.
Increasing Reuse. Donated vehicles sold to wholesale dealers or recyclers. Many vehicles are repaired, sold and reused by the public.
Increasing Recycling. Salvaged cars are parted and the parts are reused. Car parts not suitable for reuse are recycled. The availability of these parts means a cost savings passed on to the consumer and less waste to landfills. Every ton of steel we recycle saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone.
What papers do I need when donating my vehicle?
Mercy Airlift requires the title and the release of any liens and a set of keys. The vehicle will in most cases will need a set of functional tires.
Several items will be useful when calling to donate your car:
Your title and lien release
The year, make and model of your car
The general condition of your car
The vehicle identification number (VIN) (which is on the insurance card or at base of windshield on the driver’s side)
Your social security number (required by the IRS)
Does it Cost anything to donate my Car, Truck, Boat, Trailer, RV or Airplane?