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Paperwork Needed to Donate a Vehicle in Texas

Charities that accept car donations try to make the process as easy as possible. In the state of Texas, you need the title of the vehicle, without any liens attached to it, to donate your car, truck or motor home.

Ask for a receipt from the charity for your tax return, and you should submit a Vehicle Transfer Notification form to the Department of Motor Vehicles.



The most important paperwork you need to donate your vehicle is the title. The vehicle’s title documentation shows that you are the legal owner and have the right to dispose of the vehicle. Sign and date the appropriate portion in the title, which is identified as “seller’s information.”

Although a donation is not a sale, the information you must provide on the title document is the same as you would if you were selling the vehicle. Enter your name, address and date of the transaction.


Lien Release

If the vehicle’s title does not show a lien, signing the title document in the presence of the charitable organization’s representative is sufficient. If, however, the title shows the name of a lien holder, you cannot sell or donate the vehicle until the lien is removed.

A lien means that another party, usually a lender who provided some of the funds for the purchase of the car, has legal claims to the vehicle. Before the vehicle can be sold or donated, all loans must be paid and a “lien release” obtained from the lien holder.

This documentation will show that the lien holder no longer has any claims on the vehicle and that the person whose name is printed on the title can sell or donate the car freely.


Paperwork Needed to Donate a Vehicle in Texas


Vehicle Transfer Notification

Fill out a Vehicle Transfer Notification form to notify the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles that the car no longer belongs to you. This notification will absolve you of any legal penalties associated with the misuse of the vehicle.

If the car is parked illegally after you donate it, for instance, and the owner is tracked through the vehicle identification number, you may be liable unless you have filled out a Vehicle Transfer Notification.

The Vehicle Transfer Notification should be mailed to the address shown on the form, together with a $5 processing fee.



Vehicle donations are tax deductible, if you have a receipt proving that ownership was transferred to an IRS-recognized charitable organization. Obtain a receipt at the time of the donation, clearly identifying the make, model, year and vehicle identification number of the car.

The charity’s name and address should clearly be indicated on the receipt, along with the date of the donation. The receipt should be signed by a representative of the charity. In addition to providing the necessary proof for your tax deduction later on, the receipt will provide further security in case of illegal operation of the vehicle following the donation.

By presenting a copy of the receipt, you can more easily prove that the car was no longer yours following the date and time of the donation and you are not responsible for any damage arising from its improper use.


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