Bill of Sale Summary:
You will likely need a bill of sale form whenever you buy a vehicle from, or sell one to, another person. This form serves as a record of necessary information, including the date of sale, price, vehicle information, and names/addresses for both the seller and the buyer. The bill of sale form is NOT an official document proving ownership, but rather a record of the transaction between parties.
What Is a Bill of Sale?
A bill of sale is a document recording a transaction between two parties. For the seller, a bill of sale shows the date the vehicle was sold and information about the buyer. For the buyer, it gives specific information about the vehicle that can be checked against a Vehicle History Report.
A bill of sale does not prove ownership—only a title transfer does that.
Most bill of sale forms include:
- Vehicle type (e.g, motor vehicle, boat, or other motorcycle, including mopeds and scooters).
- Specific vehicle information:
- Odometer reading.
- Vehicle identification number (VIN).
- Buyer’s and seller’s:
- Name and address.
- Purchase price and date.
Do You Need a Bill of Sale?
Regardless of your state’s legal requirement, the bill of sale is an important record of the transaction and benefits both the buyer and seller.
If You Are the Buyer
Sellers are usually responsible for providing the bill of sale; however, buyers are advised to bring one to the table, too―just in case.
A bill of sale not only serves as a record of the sale, but the details provided within (such as purchase price, VIN, and odometer reading) may make for a more seamless registration process for your newly purchased vehicle.
If You Are the Seller
Some states require the seller have a signed, dated, and sometimes even notarized bill of sale as part of the title transfer paperwork; other states don’t.
Whether the law requires it or not, a completed bill of sale is an essential addition to your records―especially if you’re the seller. Your bill of sale proves you sold and are therefore no longer responsible for the vehicle, should the new owner incur a traffic violation or get into an accident.
Whether you are the seller or the buyer of the vehicle, you should never walk away from the transaction without a copy of the bill of sale.
Completing the Sale with a Title Transfer
A bill of sale does not prove ownership or complete the sale. To ensure you have proof of ownership and to protect yourself from any future liability, complete a title transfer.
You can determine whether your state legally requires and/or offers a bill of sale form by clicking your state on the map above or the list below.