In the state of Florida, an individual must transfer their vehicle title whenever they want the car to have a different owner. The owner should transfer title through the tax collector’s office in the county where they live. The car's owner must provide a set of completed documents to that county. These include: the Florida certificate of title with the “transfer of title by seller” section completed; an 82040 Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) application for certificate of title with or without registration; proof of Florida property damage and personal injury protection (PIP) insurance; a copy of a government form of identification like a driver license; and the bill of sale.
The applicant needs proof of insurance to purchase a license plate. They must provide the name of the insurer, the insurance identification code and the policy number. If the applicant is transferring a license plate or decal, they should submit the previous registration or license plate and decal number.
Application for Certificate of Title
Key sections of the application form must be completed for the application to be processed. If these sections are left blank, the transfer of ownership will not go through. The vehicle owner must provide their date of birth and Florida driver license number. If the vehicle is to be titled in the name of a business, the owner should provide the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of the business.
The vehicle description section must be filled out. The declaration with the odometer reading and the date read must be completed, too. The application attestment and signatures section must contain all the necessary information, including the buyer and seller’s signatures and printed names, purchase date and price. If there is a lien on the vehicle, the lien holder’s name, address and date of lien are required.
Specifics on Bill of Sale
The seller must show that they have paid the sales tax on the vehicle. The sales tax in Florida is 6 percent of the balance of the purchase price, less the trade-in value if there is one. Certain transactions, such as a gift, trade down, an even trade, court order in divorce proceedings, inheritance, transfer to or from a spouse, or change of name only may be exempt from sales tax.
If the vehicle or mobile home was purchased and used for less than six months in another state, U.S. territory or the District of Columbia, the seller must pay the 6 percent sales or use tax and any local discretionary sales surtax before the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will issue the Florida title and registration. The FLHSMV will allow a credit for a tax paid in another state, U.S. territory or the District of Columbia against the amount of Florida sales or use tax and local discretionary sales surtax. The registrant’s county of residence determines whether it will collect an additional local discretionary sales surtax.
No Sale With Lien
Florida does not allow an owner to sell a vehicle privately if there is an existing lien against it. The owner must satisfy the lien in order to sell the vehicle. The lien holder should then report to the FLHSMV that the lien has been satisfied.
A customer can trade a vehicle with a lien at a dealership. The dealer has 10 days to satisfy the lien before selling it to another party. An owner is not required to request a paper title before trading a vehicle with a Florida dealer.
Title Transferred in Person
A car owner must bring the required documents in person to their local tax collector’s office. Transfer of title is not done entirely online because each applicant or their appointed power of attorney must be present to sign a new application for title. An applicant should bring personal identification in the form of a Florida driver license or identification card issued by FLHSMV, a passport, or a Canadian license or identification card. If a person is the appointed power of attorney, they must present the original or certified copy of the original signed appointment at the time of the application.
Cost of Florida Title Transfer
The cost of the registration fees for transferring title to the new owner depends on the county in which the title is transferred. In Hillsborough County, which encompasses the Tampa Bay metropolitan area, transferring a Florida car title costs $75.75. Transferring an out-of-state or out-of-country title costs $85.75.
Cost of Registering a Vehicle
The cost of vehicle registration depends on the county of residence and the size of the vehicle. Generally, vehicles are sorted into three classes: less than 2,500 lbs., 2,500 to 3,499 lbs., and over 3,500 lbs. In Hillsborough County, the fees are $28.10, $36.10 and $46.10, respectively. The fee for a motorcycle is $24.60, and the fee for a moped is $19.60.
Transfer Title From Out of State
There are different procedures when a new resident has a vehicle with a lien, as opposed to without a lien. For a vehicle with a lien, if the out-of-state title is currently in the possession of an out-of-state lien holder, the owner must contact the lien holder to request that the title be transferred to Florida. Even if the lien holder refuses to transfer title to Florida, the owner must register the vehicle.
If the lien holder refuses to transfer title from the previous state, the owner should request a statement of the refusal in writing on letterhead. Once the owner has that letter, they can bring it to a motor vehicle service center to apply for a registration. If the lien holder agrees to have the title transferred to Florida, they can visit a local motor vehicle service center to complete a FLHSMV 82040 form.
For vehicles without a lien, the owner must prepare a packet containing the original out-of-state title; proof of identity for the owner; proof of Florida insurance; the 82040 form; and verification of physical inspection of the motor vehicle’s vehicle identification number (VIN) on a FLHSMV 82040 form or FLHSMV 82042 form. The VIN must be physically inspected and verified by one of the following: a law enforcement officer, a military police officer, a licensed Florida dealer, or a county tax collector employee or Division of Motorist Services Compliance Examiner. The latter is employed at any local service center offering motor vehicle services.
- Seminole County Tax Collector: Florida Vehicle Title Transfer
- Hillsborough County Tax Collector's Office: Title & Tag Services
- Hillsborough County Tax Collector's Office: Vehicle Registration Payment Options
- Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles: Selling a Vehicle
- Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles: New Resident - Welcome to Florida!
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.