When you sell a car in Minnesota, as in other states, you must sign over the title and submit a record of the sale to the state Driver & Vehicle Services department. It is best to complete the paperwork at a DVS office so that any problems can be cleared up right away.
Signing the Title
Signing over the title is perhaps the most important part of the selling process. The vehicle cannot legally change hands unless the title is signed over. A Minnesota title has a blank section on it that is designed to be filled out when the vehicle is sold. Both the buyer and seller will need to sign and date this section for the sale to be valid.
What To Do If You Lose the Title
If you lose the title, you must obtain a duplicate title. You cannot sell the vehicle without having the title, as signing the title over is a vital part of the selling process. You can obtain a duplicate title at a Deputy Registrar office or by mail. If you are applying for a duplicate title by mail, you must send the application form to this address:
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 187
Saint Paul, MN 55101-5187
The fee for a duplicate title is $23.50.
The Information Included On the Report of Sale
Minnesota does not require that every vehicle sold be reported on a bill of sale. However, sellers may be required to file a Report of Sale form online if the vehicle was sold to an individual (not a dealership) or given to a non-profit. The information required on a Report of Sale form includes the names of the buyer and seller, the date of sale, the vehicle’s make, model, year, and odometer reading, and any liens on the vehicle.
The Odometer Reading
The vehicle’s current odometer reading is required when filing a Report of Sale and signing the title over. This is to establish that the vehicle’s odometer has not been rolled back, which is illegal. This practice was common among shady used car dealerships in the mid-20th century, though it is much less prevalent now.
Why A Report of Sale May Be Necessary
Minnesota requires that most vehicle sales be reported via a Report of Sale. This is necessary for two main reasons. Firstly, the state wants to ensure that it collects sales tax on all vehicle sales. Secondly, it is important to establish who currently owns a vehicle in case the vehicle is involved in an accident or a crime.
Transferring Plates in Minnesota
License plates stay with the car in Minnesota (except personalized plates) and must go with the car when it is sold.
Giving The Car Away Rather Than Selling It
If you give a car away, you will still have to do the same paperwork as you are still transferring ownership of the vehicle. However, you may be eligible for a tax deduction if you give the vehicle to a non-profit. You cannot get a tax deduction if you give the vehicle to a private party.
How Executors Transfer the Car to An Heir
In Minnesota, an executor can transfer a car to an heir after the deceased person’s will has been approved by the courts, a process known as probate. Executors can sign over the title to an heir and submit the completed title and the court documents showing that they are the legally appointed executor and that the will has been through probate. This will allow the vehicle’s ownership to legally pass to the heir.
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