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Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Bureau of Motor Vehicles

myBMV > Titles > Selling or Purchasing a Vehicle Selling or Purchasing a Vehicle

VEHICLES REQUIRED TO HAVE A CERTIFICATE OF TITLE

A resident of Indiana is required to obtain an Indiana certificate of title for all vehicles, except for the following vehicles that are specifically exempt under Indiana law from being titled:

 

  • A vehicle that is not required to be registered;
  • Special machinery;
  • A motor vehicle that was designed to have a maximum design speed of not more than 25 miles per hour and that was built, constructed, modified, or assembled by a person other than the manufacturer;
  • Motor driven cycles;
  • An off-road vehicle that was purchased or otherwise acquired before January 1, 2010;
  • Snowmobiles; and
  • A watercraft that is not required to be registered.

Vehicles that are specifically exempt under Indiana law from being titled may be voluntarily titled by the vehicle owner. The application for title, when voluntary, must meet all titling requirements, including but not limited to sales/use tax, but is exempt from an administrative penalty. However, once a title has been issued, the vehicle is subject to all title requirements under Indiana law, including an administrative penalty for future transfers of ownership, until the title is surrendered.

If a vehicle is voluntarily titled, and the certificate of title was issued on or after July 1, 2016, the purchaser/new owner must either:

  • Apply for a new certificate of title prior to applying for a registration; or
  • Surrender the former certificate of title prior to applying for a registration.

GENERAL TITLE INFORMATION

The certificate of title must be applied for within 45 days after the vehicle is purchased or otherwise acquired. If the certificate of title is applied for after the 45 days have passed, an administrative penalty will be charged.

If you are buying a vehicle, ensure that the seller has completed in their entirety both the seller and purchaser sections on the certificate of title before visiting a license branch to apply for a new certificate of title. The seller should remove the license plate from the vehicle at the time of the transaction. The purchaser is responsible for obtaining a new certificate of title, registration, and license plate.

 

  • The Indiana BMV does not require the license plates of sold vehicles to be returned to the BMV. The license plates of sold vehicles may be transferred to a different vehicle owned by that same person.

DOCUMENT REQUIREMENTS:

VEHICLE PURCHASED IN A DIFFERENT STATE

If there is a lien on the vehicle and the title is being held by the lien holder, you must visit a license branch to complete a Request for Title - State Form 1014. The license branch will mail the request to the lien holder. Once the title has been received from your lienholder, the license branch will contact you and request that you return to the license branch to complete your application for the Indiana certificate of title.

Vehicle Inspection Requirement:  Any vehicle from another state that is being titled in Indiana, including vehicles owned by new Indiana residents and vehicles assigned to an Indiana resident on a manufacturer's certificate of origin, must have a vehicle inspection. The inspection will confirm the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the vehicle. The inspection may be performed at any Indiana license branch or BMV certified full or partial service provider at no charge or may be performed by a law enforcement officer who may charge up to five dollars ($5.00). If the inspection is performed by a law enforcement officer, the officer must provide to you a completed Physical Inspection of a Vehicle or Watercraft - State Form 39530.

Mail-In Applicants:Indiana residents who purchased a vehicle from a dealer located in a different state may mail their application for certificate of title to the BMV Central Office.

The Transfer of Out-of-State Title to Indiana Vehicle and Watercraft Title Application Packet provides a detailed list of the documents required to be submitted with the application. Prior to submitting each application, verify all required information is included.

Download the Transfer of Out-of-State Title to Indiana Vehicle and Watercraft Title Application Packet

SALES/USE TAX

When you purchase a vehicle in Indiana, you must pay a seven percent (7%) sales tax on the purchase price of the vehicle. If a vehicle is purchased from an Indiana dealership, the dealer will collect the sales tax and provide proof of the sales tax paid on an ST108 – Certificate of Gross Retail or Use Tax Paid – State Form 48842. If a vehicle is purchased privately, the sales tax must be paid at a license branch when you apply for the Indiana certificate of title.

Indiana residents who purchased a vehicle from a state other than Indiana, including non-Indiana dealers, will receive credit for the sales tax paid in that state. If you paid less than seven percent (7%) sales tax, you must pay the difference to Indiana at the time of the application for the Indiana certificate of title.

New Indiana residents are not charged sales tax when transferring their vehicle’s certificate of title from their prior state of residence to Indiana.

RELEASING A LIEN

Prior to selling a vehicle, all lienholders must have released their interest in the vehicle.

Lienholder is Financial Institution or Dealer: To remove the lien from your vehicle’s certificate of title, the lienholder must sign off in the proper lien release section on the certificate of title or provide a letter of lien release. If the financial institution or dealer is no longer in business, contact the BMV at (888) 692-6841 for assistance.

Lienholder is Individual: To remove the lien from your vehicle’s certificate of title, the lienholder must release the lien in one of the ways:

  • The individual lienholder must sign off in the proper lien release section on the certificate of title;
  • The vehicle owner must obtain a notarized lien release letter; or
  • The vehicle owner must obtain a general Affidavit – State Form 37964 that is signed by the individual lienholder.