A car bill of sale records and displays details as proof that a given seller sold a motor vehicle. It also records a vehicle transaction’s critical information, such as pricing and VIN.
This legal document acts as a receipt that confirms and records transactions involving motor vehicles. However, it’s not legal proof of ownership after a motor vehicle’s transfer. Therefore, new owners still need a title to prove they own the vehicle. Your state’s DMV may require the seller to submit a completed bill of sale template before completing the title transfer paperwork.
Different states regulate how people use a bill of sale in deals. Some of them require a car bill of sale to contain a motor vehicle’s odometer reading. Others stipulate that two parties sign the document to complete the deal. However, some transactions need only sellers to sign it to transfer ownership and acquire a sale proof.
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A car bill of sale acts as a receipt proving that you sold the vehicle to the buyer. It is not mandatory in most states, but it is prudent for the vehicle buyer and seller to fill out this form in personal motor vehicle contracts because it protects them should problems arise.
For example, if the vehicle is caught in a road accident, you won’t bear any liability. If you purchased a secondhand vehicle, a duly drafted document proves that title transfer took place and that you’re the current legal owner of the car enjoying full ownership rights. Moreover, suppose a vehicle breaks traffic laws. In that case, the seller can use the bill of sale in any legal action to prove that they had sold the vehicle, hence avoiding criminal liability.
If you fill out the bill of sale form accurately, you can also utilize it as a loan instrument, like the promissory note. For instance, if you’re purchasing motor vehicles in installments, you can frame the document as a bill of sale. However, the transfer of title and possession only happens after making every pending payment under the loan after a complete transaction process.Therefore, the state regulates the car bill of sale combinations to avoid seller or buyer abuse.
Moreover, either party in the deal can use it for tax reasons.
The following states require notarizing a car bill of sale: Louisiana, Maryland, and Montana. So, the vehicle buyer and seller must undergo identity verification and sign the bill of sale before a notary public.
|STATE||Is It Required?||Registering Period|
|Alabama||Yes||Within 20 days|
|Alaska||No||Within 10 days of purchase or taking residency|
|Arizona||No||Within 15 days|
|Arkansas||Yes||Within 30 days|
|California||No||Within 30 days|
|Colorado||No||Within 30 days|
|Connecticut||Yes||If a new resident – within 60 days|
|Delaware||No||Within 30 days of purchase or change of residence|
|Florida||No||Within 10 days of purchase or taking residency|
|Georgia||Yes||Within 30 days of purchase or taking residency|
|Hawaii||Yes||Before taking vehicle on the road|
|Idaho||No||Within 30 days|
|Illinois||Yes||Within 20 days|
|Indiana||No||If a current resident – within 31 days; if new to the state – within 60 days|
|Iowa||Yes||Within 30 days|
|Kansas||Yes||Within 60 days|
|Kentucky||No||Within 15 days|
|Louisiana||No||Within 40 days|
|Maine||Yes||If a new resident – within 30 days|
|Maryland||Yes||Within 60 days|
|Massachusetts||Yes||Within 10 days|
|Michigan||Yes||Within 15 days|
|Minnesota||No||Within 15 days|
|Mississippi||Yes||If a new resident – within 30 days; if a resident purchasing from a private party – within 7 days|
|Missouri||Yes||Within 30 days|
|Montana||Yes||If a new resident – within 60 days; if a current resident – immediately|
|Nebraska||Yes||If a new resident – within 30 days|
|Nevada||Yes||Within 30 days|
|New Hampshire||Yes||Within 20 days (if a new resident – possible to use current state registration for up to 60 days)|
|New Mexico||Yes||As soon as possible|
|New York||Yes||Within 180 days of effective date on insurance ID card|
|North Carolina||No||If a new resident – within 30 days; if a current resident – prior to operation on NC roadways|
|Ohio||Yes||Within 30 days|
|Oklahoma||Yes||If a new resident – within 30 days|
|Oregon||No||If a new resident – within 30 days|
|Pennsylvania||No||If a new resident – within 20 days|
|Rhode Island||Yes||If a new resident – within 30 days|
|South Carolina||No||Within 45 days|
|South Dakota||Yes||Within 30 days|
|Tennessee||No||Before using vehicle on TN roadways|
|Texas||Yes||Within 30 days|
|Utah||Yes||If a new resident – within 60 days|
|Vermont||Yes||If a new resident – within 60 days|
|Virginia||No||If a new resident – within 30 days|
|Washington||Yes||Within 15 days; if a new resident – within 90 days|
|West Virginia||Yes||If a new resident – within 30 days|
|Wisconsin||No||If a new resident – after establishing residency|
|Wyoming||Yes||If a new resident – after establishing residency|
These suggestions were written for the template provided on our site that allows you to create your own bill of sale. Nevertheless, should a document be available from your local authorities, it’s advised to use it for the transaction.
This stage also requires specifying the exact date of the purchase and the complete amount decided upon by both sides of the transaction. You will have to indicate furthermore the sale method the buyer will go for:
And after that, indicate how the buyer is going to pay the purchase price:
The final thing to complete in this particular section is to choose if all applicable taxes are included in the final cost.
The seller confirms that they are indeed the owner of the car described in the document and they have the right to sell it based on the purchase price in the form. The seller also confirms that there are no liens on the vehicle and that the vehicle information provided in the Bill of Sale is true, accurate, and complete to the best of their knowledge.
The “as-is” part states that the property owner gives no warranties and is not responsible for maintenance after the transfer.
The purchaser is generally not requested to sign the document. Nonetheless, you will be more protected against legal troubles if all parties sign the form. To be sure, the parties can choose someone who will attest to the deal and sign the bill of sale too.
Notarization is typically unnecessary, but it can be an excellent approach to create an additional level of legal safety to the deal. So if you decide to notarize it, find a local notary public first. After it’s done, a bill of sale protects the previous and new owner better, similar to purchase agreements.
In lots of states, a bill of sale document could be needed for the title change, so the buyer needs to have the original. As a seller, you could either get a copy and store it or have a pair of identical forms signed and filled out by all parties.