Can I Transfer A Car Title To A Family Member Or Friend?


If you want to transfer your car title to a friend or family member, we’ve got good news—it is possible! The process, requirements, and cost can vary depending on where you live. So, you must jump through your state’s hoops to complete the transfer. Here’s a closer look at how the process generally works. 

Whether you are gifting your vehicle to someone you know or they are buying it from you, the title transfer process will often be similar and it’s essential to stay up to date with the latest restrictions and rules that cover title transfers.


How to transfer a car title to a friend or family member

The first thing you should know is that states generally require you to transfer the title within a specific time after the new owner acquires the vehicle. For example, in Washington, you must transfer the title within 15 days of giving physical ownership of your car to another person. In California, the DMV must be informed by the recipient/buyer within five days and the seller within ten days. Further, you must complete the transfer within 30 days. 

Be sure to check the requirements in your state as you will likely face penalties or delays in processing if you are late. Other requirements vary but may include a smog check, a vehicle inspection, a valid government ID for both parties, a passed lien check, and proof of insurance for the new owner. All these requirements are like what we see for someone who works with a legitimate car title loan company. In this case, the only difference is that you’re handing the pink slip over to someone you know, not a bank or car title loan company.


Fill out the title transfer paperwork before you get a title loan

Once you know the requirements for transferring the vehicle’s title, the next step is to fill out the paperwork. Generally, the person selling or gifting the car will complete the seller’s portion of the title. They’ll also need to provide a liability release and odometer disclosure statement. The buyer will then fill out their part of the title. Both parties will need to sign the title. If you have any liens on the title, your lienholder must also sign off on the transfer. Once again, the same standard applies here to lenders that fund online title loans. You must resolve any liens or holds on your pink slip before you transfer or hand it over.

**If you have lost the title, your state will likely have a form you can submit to get a duplicate.**

Once the title is complete, the buyer must submit it to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Some states have online submission portals, while others may require you to submit them by mail or in-person. Like what we see with car title loan regulations, other steps may be required. Such as a smog certification, a statement of facts that outlines the details of the transfer, a bill of sale, a titleholder release, and more. Be sure to check the details with your state’s DMV.


How to transfer vehicle registration and ownership documents


Title transfer fees to know when you transfer a pink slip

In most cases, you must pay a fee to transfer a car title. For example, in California, it is $15. In Texas, it’s just $10 for a gift transfer. See a complete list of title fees and registration fees by state. This resource also includes information on duplicate plate fees and associated fees for motorcycles. You can also get information on handing over the title to your lender when you take out a car title loan.

Depending on the situation, you may also have to pay other charges and taxes. For example, in California, you must pay a use tax unless the transfer is between family members or a donation. Other states like Arkansas and Florida will determine fee amounts based on the gross weight of your vehicle. Be sure to check the payment requirements for your state. Once you submit all the required paperwork and pay the required amounts, you’ll wait for your state’s department to complete the process. Usually, your friend or family member will have their new title in hand within 30 to 45 days. While delays can occur, most states will update you via your preferred communication method.


Will I get a tax deduction for gifting my car to someone?

You won’t get a tax deduction for gifting your car to a friend or family member. Tax deductions only occur when you give a gift to charitable organizations. Some enterprising individuals have gotten around this restriction by setting up a 5013 and utilizing other accounting tricks. Either way, the good news is that there is no sales tax for a gifted car if you complete the paperwork in a set amount of time.


How do I sell my car and transfer a pink slip to a friend or family member?

If you want to sell your car to a friend or family member, you must first agree on the price. We recommend a bill of sale even if it’s not required by law. Then, you will follow the steps above to transfer the car title to your family member. The buyer will then register the car and pay the sales tax. 


Too long, didn’t read.

In short, yes, you can transfer your paid off car title to a friend or family member. You must go through a formal process with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, which involves paperwork, fees, and meeting specific requirements. You can likely complete the process within about 30 to 45 days.