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How to Sell a Car in Missouri


Whether you live in the Ozarks, near the Gateway Arch, Branson, Springfield or Jefferson City, if you are thinking about privately selling your used car or truck, you’ve come to the right place. With an estimated 2 million registered trucks and cars in the state of Missouri, it is no wonder that thousands of private car owners from the Show-Me State have used Autotrader to sell their car. Below, we’ve outlined the 6 steps required to sell a car in the state of Missouri. Remember, most U.S. states consider the vehicle title a legal document which is why it is advised to use the legal names (no nicknames) of both parties involved along with legible handwriting using a black or blue ink. Mistakes, errors and using correction fluid may void the document so be careful and take your time filling it out.


Step 1: Allow the buyer to have the car inspected by a third party
Step 2: Organize and gather all related vehicle documentation
Step 3: Bill of Sale / Notice of Sale
Step 4: Transfer the title
Step 5: Remove your license plates
Step 6: File a Notice of Sale



Step 1: Allow the buyer to have the car inspected by a third party

Most vehicle shoppers who buy a car privately should get an inspection conducted by a qualified and licensed auto mechanic of their choosing. Although the buyer pays for this inspection, the seller and buyer must agree on when and where the inspection is to be held. If the inspection does find any issues with the car, it is a good idea for you as the seller to keep the report for your records.

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Step 2: Organize and gather all related vehicle documentation

Find all maintenance records (either paper or electronic), the owner’s manual and other paperwork related to the vehicle. If you can provide the buyer with extensive and detailed maintenance records, this will help provide the buyer with confidence that you’ve maintained the car properly.

If the vehicle has had their biennial safety inspection within the last 60 days, the seller must provide the inspection certificate to the buyer of the vehicle. For county residents of Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles or St. Louis city, if the vehicle has had their emission inspection within the last 60 days, the seller must provide the emission certificate to the buyer. Sellers must also provide a notarized lien release (form 4809), if applicable. Here is a list of vehicles exempt from emission testing.

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Step 3: Bill of Sale / Notice of Sale

Missouri law states that all sellers must submit either a Notice of Sale (form 5049) or Bill of Sale (DOR-1957) to the state’s Department of Revenue within 30 days from the date of sale. The Bill of Sale needs to include the following information and should be notarized:

  • Year and Make of the Vehicle
  • Title number
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Date of Sale
  • Sale Price
  • Printed legal name and address of the seller and buyer
  • Signature of seller and buyer

If the vehicle is being gifted, the seller should include a purchase price of “GIFT” on the Bill of Sale, fill out a General Affidavit (Form 768). Vehicles which are gifted are exempt from paying sales tax. The form does not need to be notarized although the form states otherwise. Gifted vehicles need to be reported to the Missouri Department of Revenue within 30 days.

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Step 4: Transfer the title

If the vehicle’s title has been lost or stolen or badly damaged, you’ll need to apply for an Application for Missouri Title and License (form 108) and pay any related fees prior to selling the car. This form will need to be notarized and if you’re applying for a duplicate title because the original was mutilated, you must return the mutilated title along with your application to any Missouri license office. This handy duplicate title checklist may answer other questions sellers may have. Gifted vehicles should have the word “GIFT” placed in the sale price area of the title.

If there is more than one seller and buyer, all must be recorded. Missouri private vehicle sellers must complete the following on the title:

  • Print the legal name and address of at least one purchaser
  • Date of sale
  • Sale price
  • Model of the vehicle
  • Odometer (vehicles 10 years or older are exempt)
  • Signature of at least one purchaser
  • All sellers listed on the title must print and sign
  • Lienholder should be recorded in the designated area, if applicable

In the case of where one of the co-owners of the vehicle has passed away, a new title may be applied for by the surviving owner using Form 108. Additionally, the surviving owner will need to sign and notarize an Affidavit to Establish Title to Exempt Property (Form 2305). Missouri law states that if the “Transfer on Death (TOD)” section is checked on Form 108, the ownership of the vehicle will pass to the named beneficiaries listed to the right of the decedent’s name in the Owner section.

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Step 5: Remove your license plates

Before the buyer takes possession of the vehicle, remove your license plates even if they are expired. The license plate should never be given to the buyer, even if the vehicle is a gift. Unless the seller is transferring the plate to another vehicle, the plates should be either destroyed, recycled or returned to a Missouri license office.

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Step 6: File a Notice of Sale

Starting on January 1, 2006, all motor vehicle private sellers must report the sale within 30 days to Missouri’s Department of Revenue using a Notice of Sale form or Bill of Sale form. This also applies if you are the personal estate representative, trustee or other successor. Vehicles transferred to a transfer-on-death beneficiary, to a beneficiary named in a trust or sold to an out of state buyer are exempt. See the full list of exemptions here. A private vehicle seller who fails to report the sale of a required vehicle could face a fine of up to $300. Sellers don’t need to submit both forms; only either the Notice of Sale or Bill of Sale. After sale is complete, cancel your insurance.

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For more information, visit the Missouri Department of Revenue website.

Questions about selling your car in Missouri? We have answers.

Do I remove my license plate when I sell a car in Missouri?

Yes. Unless the license plate is transferred to another vehicle, either destroy or return the plate to a local Missouri license office.

Is a Bill of Sale required for selling a car in Missouri?

All private sellers in Missouri must file either a Notice of Sale or a Bill of Sale to the Missouri Department of Revenue within 30 days from the purchase date.

What paperwork do I need to privately sell a car in Missouri?

There are several documents which sellers of vehicles will need:

  1. A completed Bill of Sale or Notice of Sale form.
  2. Current maintenance and vehicle records.
  3. The vehicle’s original or replacement certificate of title.
  4. Current emission and safety inspection documentation if completed in the last 60 days.
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