Hypothetical: If someone had a non operational vehicle and ignored tags/registration for a few years, what is the best way to dispose of the vehicle and avoid having to back pay all the missed years and penalties?

I'm assuming if the car was sold, then the tags would have to be brought up to current thus paying all past years and penalties on top of the new tags to make the car current.

What happens if the car is junked and it's just towed away to a scrap heap? If a collector comes knocking can the person just say that they don't have the car anymore and its been junked so that's why nothing was ever paid...case closed and slate wiped clean?

Just in case it wasn't clear from the title, this hypothetical is based on California law.

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    This question is off-topic because it's about law, not maintenance and repair. – jscs Mar 3 '15 at 18:00

A non-profit radio station called KCRW in Santa Monica will accept your car for donation and give you a tax credit.

Vehicle donation page, KCRW

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