How long does it take to sell a donated car?


“So I donated my car. When is it going to be sold?”

First of all, thanks for donating!

Every car that we get is in a different condition- it might be new, beat up, really beat up, scrap, new that went through an accident, in decent shape, etc., etc. The list goes on. 

We assess your car based on the information you provide us, such as year, make, model and condition. We then arrange for your car to be towed away and you get a temporary receipt. 

If we decide to sell it to a junker, we’ll know the price right away and we let you know.  If we sell it to an auction house, it gets bidded for and sold within 4-6 weeks. The tax deduction in both cases is based on how much the car sells for, not its value. 

If your car sells for under $500, you can claim the fair market value for up to a maximum of $500. If it’s over $500, the deduction is the full sale price. Either way, you can claim the deduction for the year the car was picked up in, not the year it was sold. 

However, if there is an issue with the title, it can take months to sell, no matter what the value is. It depends on how quickly the donor can fill out the paperwork and how long the DMV takes to issue a new title (some states can take two weeks, others a few months). 

Does my car need to be sold before I get a tax deduction?

In order for us to know how big a tax deduction you earned, we have to get a price for the car first. If we send the car to a junker, we’ll know right away. If it goes to an auction house, where it’s bidded on, we don’t know the price until it sells. Even though we won’t have the amount yet, the deduction will still go toward the year the car was picked up.

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