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Maine Buying a Vehicle

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Obtaining a Title and Registration For a Vehicle Bought from a Car Dealership

If you’ve bought the car from a dealer, the dealer generally will file the paperwork for you. The title will arrive in about 10 to 13 business days. If you have taken out a loan to buy the car, the title will go to the lienholder.

Obtaining a Title and Registration For a Vehicle Bought from a Private Party

As previously stated, purchasing a vehicle from a private party means that you have to complete all the paperwork yourself. You obtain an application for a Maine certificate of title from the Title Unit in Augusta or by visiting any motor vehicle branch office location. You complete the application and mail it with the appropriate fee to the Title Unit in Augusta or take it to a branch office. The previous title or certificate of origin must accompany the application.

If you’ve taken out a loan to buy the vehicle, you complete the lienholder part of the application. The state then will send the title to the lienholder. Otherwise, you’ll receive a title within 10 to 13 business days.

If you live in a municipality that cooperates with the state registration system, you can obtain your registration and title simultaneously at your municipal office.

Registering the Purchased Vehicle

The first step in the registration process is to pay your excise tax at your town office. This is a municipal tax.

You can also register and title your vehicle there if your municipality participates in the state registration program. You’ll need to bring:

  • Signed bill of sale (bill of sale template)
  • Title, if the vehicle is the model year 1995 or newer, signed over the title to the new owner from the previous owner(s)
  • Evidence of insurance (ID card, policy, or binder)
  • White & yellow copy of registration application and excise tax receipt (from town office)

If your municipality does not participate in the state registration program, you’ll need to bring the documents to a BMV branch office after paying the excise tax. You’ll also have to pay the 5.5 percent Maine sales tax on the vehicle’s purchase price and appropriate registration fees, which vary based upon the type of plate you choose.

Submitting Payment

The title application fee is $33. Your registration fee varies from 0 to about $35, depending upon the type of license plate. The excise tax is paid when you register your vehicle for the first time and when you renew it. It is calculated by multiplying the manufacturer’s retail selling price by a mill rate that decreases as the car ages. You can pay the fees and the excise tax with cash, check, debit, or credit card. You may pay a fee if you use a credit card.
Last Verified:
Jul 5, 2023