Bill of Sale Form for a Car

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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Why Do I Need a Bill of Sale for a Car Sale?

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.

What Requirements Should My Car Bill of Sale Meet?

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.

Even if its notarization is not statutory in your state, doing so safeguards the two sides of the vehicle sale.

Laws by State

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 Jersey No Immediately
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
North Dakota No N/A
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

Template Preview
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How to write a Car Bill of Sale?

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.

Step 1: Specify the bill of sale creation date

Step 1 to filling out a motor vehicle bill of sale name

Step 2: Enter the buyer and seller information:

  • Name
  • Street
  • City
  • State
  • Zip code
  • Phone number
  • Email address
    Step 2 to filling out a motor vehicle bill of sale sample particulars

Step 3: Enter the detailed information regarding the vehicle description:

  • Make (manufacturer)
  • Vehicle’s model
  • Body style
  • Year
  • Odometer reading
  • Color
  • Vehicle Identification Number (also known as VIN)
    Step 3 to filling out a motor vehicle bill of sale form description

Step 4: Indicate payment details.

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:

  1. The full sum at once. This is quite simple: the property owner is given the entire amount of money from the buyer in one payment and presents the vehicle to the buyer within the same day.
  2. Trade-in. This choice will allow the buyer to trade their used car (usually with a supplement) for the seller’s vehicle. The buyer’s vehicle details must also be within the document.
  3. Installment payments. Specify the downpayment sum plus the exact date it has to be given, including the date by which the entire amount must be handed to the seller.
  4. Gift with no consideration. This option is the seller giving a gift to the buyer without any expectation of compensation.

And after that, indicate how the buyer is going to pay the purchase price:

  • Cash
  • Cheque
  • Cashier’s cheque
  • Money order

The final thing to complete in this particular section is to choose if all applicable taxes are included in the final cost.
Step 4 to filling out a motor vehicle bill of sale template way of payment

Step 5: Look at standard provisions and ensure that both parties understand them.

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.
Step 5 to filling out a motor vehicle bill of sale form standard terms

Step 6: Sign the bill of sale form.

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.
Step 6 to filling out a motor vehicle bill of sale example signature

Step 7: Notarize the form

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.
Step 7 to filling out a motor vehicle blank bill of sale notarization

Published: Aug 15, 2022
Mara Erlach
Mara Erlach
Writer & Attorney
Mara has been practicing estate planning and trust law in California since 2003, taking pride in helping clients of all backgrounds and asset profiles form a complete and customized estate plan. Her specialties are: estate planning, wills and trusts, trust and probate administration.