How to Fill Out Bill of Sale Forms

By Barry Solomon , last updated July 19, 2011

When selling any type of motor vehicle, you will have to fill out a bill of sale form. The requirements may vary from state to state, and certain states require a title document which may supplant the need for a separate bill of sale. Both the seller and the buyer should get a copy of the bill of sale for their records. Most state Departments of Motor Vehicles make these forms available online.

You will generally have to include the following information. The Vehicle Identification Number is the serial number which is exclusive to that particular vehicle and is used by the police for identification purposes. It appears on the vehicle's registration and on the car itself, usually at the base of the windshield and on the engine. Also include the year, make and model of the car being sold. Many states require you to indicate the odometer mileage reading at the time of the sale. The purpose of this is to build a database which insures that no one tampers with the odometer to reduce the actual mileage displayed. The seller often has to sign a disclosure form insuring that the reading is accurate. This will also be used by any dealer or company administering a warranty on the car. If the license plates are being transferred from the seller to the buyer, the plate numbers and letters must be included on the bill of sale. If the vehicle is a motorcycle, include the motorcycle engine number on the bill of sale.

Print the names of the buyer and the seller and the month, day and date of the sale. Indicate the selling price in dollars and cents as it will go into the sales tax calculation when the vehicle is newly registered with the appropriate Department of Motor Vehicles. If the vehicle is a gift, then you will still need to place a reasonable value on it and you will have to indicate the relationship of the buyer to the seller (spouse, son, daughter, friend, etc.). And for both the buyer and the seller you will have to indicate the name, address, the date of sale, the driver's license ID, or, if it is a dealer selling the car, the dealer's number, and a daytime telephone number.

A proper bill of sale and title documents effectively transfer ownership from the buyer to the seller. This allows the buyer to register the car at the Department of Motor Vehicles in his or her state, to get license plates for the car, and also to apply for and receive the required automobile insurance to allow for the legal operation of the vehicle. Make sure to store the bill of sale and title documents in a safe place other than in the car itself. You will need them whenever it is time for you to sell or to trade in the car for a new vehicle. In fact, it is a good idea to make copies of both documents in case the originals are lost, the copies will make them easier to replace.

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