If you have an old junker sitting around that needs to be moved, why not donate a car to the charity? Most charities are more than happy to tow your vehicle donation, whether it’s a car, truck, boat or RV for free. The proceeds from the sale of your donated vehicle help nonprofits further their missions and, if you itemize your deductions, you get to claim a tax deduction for your charitable donation. If you live in Chicago, Aurora, Naperville or anywhere in the State of Illinois, here is a step by step guide, including some state specific requirements that apply to anyone who plans to donate a car in Illinois. Locate a charity. Not all charities accept vehicle donations, so to find a charity that accepts car donations in Illinois, start off with a google search. This can be a general term such as “donate a car” or it can be more specific, such as “donate a car in Chicago.” The benefit to being more specific in your search term is that you are less likely to find out, after the fact, that the charity you picked to donate to does not pick up in your area. You may also want to look up car donation reviews as well to find out what other donors experiences have been with that charity. Some charities go out of their way to have excellent customer service and do their best to ensure hassle free donation process, while others do not. So do your research. Verify Nonprofit Status. Before you initiate the car donation process, be sure you verify that the nonprofit you are donating to is registered with the IRS. Most charities which accept charitable donations will list this information on their website, however, you can follow up by checking to see if they are listed on Guide Star. Making the Donation. Once you have done your due diligence, go ahead and complete the donation process with the charity of your choice. Most nonprofits will have the tow driver provide you with a tax receipt which should include the charity’s name and contact information, and confirm that you are making a donation for no cash value. If you do not receive this receipt at the time of pickup, you should follow up with the charity immediately. How Do You Handle the Title in Illinois? If you have the title, but sure to sign it, fill out the odometer info and give it to the tow driver at the time of donation, unless instructed otherwise by the charity. If you are in the process of getting a new title, but want the vehicle moved right away, check with the receiving charity if they are able to pick it up and store it on their lot while you obtain the new title. Ideally, if you found a charity that picks up locally, it should be simple to work out getting them the paperwork they need. License Plates. When you donate a car in Illinois, you, the donor, keep the old plates. These should not be left on the car. You then have the option to destroy or store the old license plates. Release of Liability. Be sure you file a Release of Liability with the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles. Click here to download Form VSD 657 -- the Certificate of Final Disposition. Fill out this document and mail or deliver it to your local Illinois DMV. Tax Paperwork. The basic donation receipt you receive at the time of pickup entitles anyone who itemizes their deductions to claim a tax deduction on their vehicle donation for up to $500. If the vehicle sells for more, the charity will forward additional tax paperwork and forms with the actual amount you are able to claim. In some cases, depending on how the charity uses your donation, you may even qualify for a fair market value tax deduction on your car. Tax Deadline. You must have made your Illinois car donation prior to midnight on December 31 of the current year in order to claim a tax deduction. However, don’t wait till 11:59 p.m. on December 31st to start the process or you may be out of luck if for some reason the charity is unable to pick it up. Start early and be sure it’s off of your driveway before you ring in the New Year. Leave a Review. Since you may have utilized someone else’s car donation review, when you have completed the donation process, go ahead and leave your own feedback on your experience with car donations in Illinois by writing up a review on Yelp, Angie’s list or on the charity’s own Google + page. You can also provide the charity with feedback on your experience so they can continue to improve the car donation experience for their donors. So, don’t delay. If you plan to donate a car in Chicago, Naperville, Aurora or anywhere else in Illinois, follow these simple steps. You’ll have covered your bases and have your vehicle donation tax deduction receipt in hand when the New Year rolls around. For further information, please contact us at 1877-505-5775 or visit www.donateacar2charity.com.