• Bill Of Sale

Bill of Sale

There are so many forms required and offered for drivers of California, and any other state for that matter, that it can become quite confusing when you are trying to determine which forms you need for the services you are seeking. A Bill of Sale is one of these forms that many vehicle and vessel purchasers and sellers aren’t sure whether or not it is required for future services from the DMV or if there is a great need for the document. The truth is, there is a great purpose for a legal Bill of Sale for a vehicle or vessel, and there are some services that just may require the use of a Bill of Sale in some form. 4dmv.com can help you understand better why you may prefer a Bill of Sale be completed at the time of sale and just what you may need it for, as well as where to get one.

What is the Bill of Sale?

When you purchase or sell a vehicle or vessel, it is definitely in your best interest, as well as your right to obtain and complete a Bill of Sale. Whether you are utilizing a California state DMV issued Bill of Sale or a “generic Bill of Sale” from a 3rd party provider, these documents can come in very handy down the road.

A Bill of Sale for vehicle purchase is complete at the time of transaction of a vehicle, and will be completed by both the buyer and seller. For example, if you purchase a vehicle, you can, by yourself, retrieve a California Bill of Sale and bring with you to the transaction for the vehicle. The seller is mandated by law to complete the Bill of Sale for vehicle purchase if requested. At the same time, if you are selling a vehicle and want to ensure you are relieved of responsibility for the vehicle, you too can obtain and request the buyer to complete a Bill of Sale. The purchaser as well has to comply and provide signature confirming the sale.

All in all, a Bill of Sale is a form of an informal receipt, proving that a transaction took place, who was involved, the cost or value, and the vehicle or vessel involved. This allows a buyer to have the proof needed that the vehicle is now theirs until the appropriate documents have been completed and submitted within 10 days of purchase. The California Bill of Sale also proves that the seller is no longer responsible for costs or taxes imposed on the vehicle, but does not replace the need for an NRL.

In order to completely relinquish yourself as the owner of a vehicle or vessel after you have sold the vehicle, the California Bill of Sale is not enough. You must complete the NRL, Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability form which can be printed or completed online at DMV Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability System Frequently Asked Questions FAQs. This is the only form that is going to fully relieve you of the criminal and civil liability of the vehicle until registration and title transfer has been completed by the new owner.

Where to Get a California Bill of Sale

You can visit the DMV in person and obtain a Bill of Sale form, but that is often a trip across town in the middle of the day as most work hours run longer than the DMV stays open for most people. In that case, you can also call the DMV to speak to a representative and request the appropriate form at 1-800-777-0133, at which time it will be mailed to you. However, if you are connected to the internet and have a printer, you can download from the California DMV official website at Bill of Sale

There are also third party companies that offer California documents, including the Bill of Sale form online, which can include several various sources including:

  • California Bill of Sale Package: $9.99 online. Provides a complete package with a comprehensive guide for buying or selling a vehicle, receipt-style Bill of Sale form that is legally accepted by the California DMV agencies, which is comprehensive for protection of both buyer and seller, simple type odometer statement, and the option for PDF or MS Word documents.
  • Official Bill of Sale Form offers purchase of forms for $4.95, available for download and print.
  • US Legal Forms.Com offering Bill of Sale forms and many others required and needed in the state of California.

Who Completes the Bill of Sale?

The California Bill of Sale is completed by the seller of the vehicle and includes all identifiable information for the vehicle including the make, model, year, and engine in some cases, as well as the name, address, and phone number of the seller, the price sold or value of the gift including any price paid in addition, and the signature of both the buyer and seller. The buyer will keep one copy, while the seller keeps another copy for records.

Is a Legal Bill of Sale Required for Titling and Registration?

Once you have purchased a vehicle, you will not be required to bring a Bill of Sale in order to register or transfer the title of the vehicle or vessel. Instead you will be asked for other documents, which includes the original title, a duplicate title, and an Application for Titling or Registration found.

As a seller, you will not be required to submit a Bill of Sale in order to complete the title transfer process or to complete an NRL form. Instead, you will maintain the legal Bill of Sale in order to maintain personal protection of liability of the vehicle.

What if Bill of Sale is Lost?

Luckily, since you aren’t required in California to bring a Bill of Sale to title or register your vehicle, you aren’t really going to be penalized for losing the Bill of Sale form. However, you will be losing an essential document for your personal records, which could come up in an issue later on in the future. Hopefully this never happens, whether you have the Bill of Sale or not, but if you want to be sure that you have it, you can try to contact the seller again and repeat the process of completing the form.


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