In the state of Louisiana, a person who plans to gift someone a car submits an Act of Donation of a Movable document, which states that they agree to donate the vehicle and that the person they give it to agrees to accept it. To release their liability, the donor must file additional documents, including a Notice of Transfer of Vehicle, within 15 days of the date the donee picks up the car.
Transferring Ownership of a Car in Louisiana
When gifting a car in Louisiana, the current owner needs to locate their title; if they still make loan payments, it will be with the lien holder. A loan company does not relinquish the title to the owner until they pay off the loan. Owners who can't find their title and have paid the loan can contact the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV), also called the DMV in other states, for a replacement copy for a small fee.
The car's donor must fill out their portion of the form, also known as the seller's portion, of the transfer area on the back of the title. The donee, or the person receiving the car, needs to fill out the buyer's section. In the area on the title that asks for the car's price, the current owner will write "gift." They must also:
- Acquire a lien release (if applicable).
- Have their signature as it appears on the title notarized by a notary public.
- Fill out a Vehicle Application form.
- Fill out and notarize a Louisiana Act of Donation of a Movable form.
- If the car is less than 10 years old, fill out an Odometer Disclosure Statement.
- Fill out a Notice of Transfer of Vehicle on the OMV's website.
- Pay the title transfer and handling fees.
- Register the vehicle in the donee's name.
Car Insurance and Taxes
The donor should make sure that the entity who will receive the car has auto insurance, as Louisiana law requires proof of it for all drivers. If the donee doesn't have insurance and a driver's license, they cannot legally drive or register the vehicle in their name.
In most cases, gifting a car does not affect the owner's tax returns negatively or positively. Unless they donate their vehicle to a religious or charitable organization, they cannot get a tax deduction for gifting the car. They may, however, receive a tax charge for a large gift, but this only applies if the car's value is more than $15,000. Conversely, the donee may also have to pay tax on their gift if it is over a certain amount.
Destroying License Plates When Donating a Car
When giving away a car, the donor must remove the license plates of the donated vehicle before the donee picks it up. After the donor completes the Notice of Vehicle Transfer, they should destroy the plates.
There are exceptions to this rule – the donor can transfer truck and trailer plates to the new owner, and they also may keep their prestige plates. Donors have the option of surrendering the plates to their local OMV office or mailing them to the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles, P.O. Box 64886, Baton Rouge, LA, 70896.
- Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles: Notice of Vehicle Transfer
- Dudley DeBosier: How to Gift a Car
- Care Easy: Louisiana Transfer Notification Support Page
- Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles: Vehicle Application
- Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles: Act of Donation of a Movable
- Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles: Odomoter Disclosure Statement
Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. She holds a B.A. in Communications and English from Niagara University.