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Illinois Buying a Vehicle

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A driver’s license or state-issued ID is an accepted form of identification and is intended to show your official state of residence. Your state of residence is where you pay state and local taxes, including the Illinois income tax on annual earnings when you are an Illinois resident. You also might have local taxes to pay based on your official residence in Illinois. When moving within, to or from the state of Illinois, you need to do an official change of address.

Getting a Title & Registration for a Vehicle Purchased from a Dealer

If you bought a new or used vehicle from a licensed auto dealer in Illinois, odds are the vehicle’s title and registration already are transferred to you as the legal owner. Virtually all car dealerships recognize the value in taking care of title and registration paperwork as quickly and easily as possible so that buyers can pick the vehicles they like and drive them home on that same day. When you buy from a private party, though, you have to do the legwork to make the vehicle legally yours and lawful to drive.

Getting a Title & Registration for a Vehicle Purchased from a Private Party

When you buy a vehicle from a private seller in Illinois, you will need to take care of the title and registration yourself. Fortunately, the Illinois Secretary of State (ISOS) provides electronic registration and title services online. The process is simple and allows you to pay accompanying fees via a credit card, debit card or electronic banking transaction.

You must complete and submit an Illinois Tax Form RUT-50, Private Party Vehicle Tax Transaction, and accompanying payment.. If you buy a vehicle from an out-of-state private seller and want to title and register it in Illinois, you need to submit an Illinois Tax Form RUT-25, Vehicle Use Tax Transaction Return and accompanying payment. The ISOS only accepts a separate check or money order made payable to the Illinois Department of Revenue for Form RUT-50 and Form RUT-25 payments.

Filling Out the Title

You will have to complete and submit a form to transfer a vehicle’s existing title from its former owner to you. The ISOS only use your current legal residence as shown on your driver’s license as the residence of record on the title. ISOS will not mail the title to any other address, so you need to update your current address if you moved recently and it does not match the address on your driver’s license or state-issued ID.

Registering the Vehicle

The same form that enables you to transfer the title to your name also enables you to register the vehicle in the state of Illinois. You can obtain and submit the form online or in person at a local SOS services office. You will need to provide your last name, driver’s license number and the last four numbers of your Social Security number or federal tax ID number to proceed with the online registration.

Submitting Payment

You can submit online payments by using a credit card or a debit card to pay for requisite title and registration fees. If you choose to mail in a payment, you can use a personal check or a money order to pay the fees. You cannot send cash or use a credit or debit card when using the postal service. If you complete your transactions at an ISOS office, you can pay using a credit card, debit card, money order or personal check. The ISOS never accepts cash.

Last Verified:
Dec 29, 2022