Whether you live near Salt Lake City, Provo, St. George, Logan, Ogden, or Cedar City and you want to sell your car, you’ve come to the right place. With an estimated 2.3 million registered trucks and cars in the state of Utah, it is no wonder that thousands of private car owners from the Beehive State have used Autotrader to sell their car. Below, we’ve outlined the five steps and forms required for how to sell a car in the state of Utah. 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 White Out may void the document so be careful and take your time filling it out. Take note, Utah law defines a car dealer as anyone who sells, displays for sale or offers for sale three or more vehicles in any 12-month period.
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
Step 4: Transfer the title and disclose the odometer reading
Step 5: Remove your plates, cancel your insurance and report the sale
Most vehicle shoppers who buy a car privately pay for a pre-purchase vehicle 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.
Find all maintenance records, the owner’s manual, your current Utah registration certificate and other paperwork related to the vehicle. As the seller, you’ll need to provide the buyer with the registration certificate. 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 in a proper and regular manner.
Starting in January 2018, the state of Utah removed the safety inspection requirement for most vehicles as a prerequisite for registration. There are some vehicles which still require a safety inspection however. Vehicles less than six years old in the five counties of Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, Weber and Cache must have an emission inspection once every two years with even numbered model years tested in even numbered years and vice-versa for odd-numbered model years. If the Utah emissions certificate is current and valid, provide this to the buyer.
When a vehicle is financed, the financial institution – usually a bank - will be listed as a lienholder and retains the original title. When a lien has been satisfied on a paper title, the lienholder can issue a lien release either by signing off on the front of the title or with a letter on loan institution letterhead. If applicable, provide the lien release documentation to the buyer.
Although not legally required, the Utah DMV advises and provides private sellers with a bill of sale (form TC-843) to use when selling your car on your own. The bill of sale provides proof the seller has legally transferred ownership of the vehicle to the buyer. For the buyer, the bill of sale documents the price of the vehicle for sales tax purposes. A bill of sale can be handwritten or typed/printed, but it should be in ink and never in pencil. The bill of sale should contain the following information:
All private vehicle sales are subject to a Sales and Use Tax which is based on the sales price listed in the bill of sale. Private sellers are not required to collect sales tax when they sell the vehicle. Vehicle purchases between immediate family members (mother, father, spouse, children, siblings) are not exempt from this tax, unlike in other states. If the vehicle is being gifted, the seller should include a purchase price of “GIFT / $0” on the Bill of Sale. Gifted vehicles are not subject to a sale tax.
If the vehicle’s title has been lost, stolen or badly damaged, you can file for a replacement title by completing form TC-123, Application for Duplicate Utah Title and pay the related fees. You won’t have to receive a replacement title if you are selling the vehicle to a Utah resident who will be titling and/or registering the vehicle in Utah. If so, then sign parts 1 and 2 of the form and then give the buyer this completed form in place of your lost Utah title. The buyer will take the Application for Duplicate Utah title to a DMV office along with the bill of sale to register the vehicle.
In the case where the vehicle is extremely old or was custom made and there is no title, Utah law provides a process to transfer a vehicle without a title known as “Insufficient Evidence of Ownership” which must be followed. There are several related forms as well which you’ll need.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) odometer disclosure requirements were updated in December 2020 impacting certain private vehicle sales in Utah: For a vehicle transfer that occurs from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2030, any vehicle of model year 2011 or newer (2012, 2013, etc.) will require an odometer disclosure, form TC-891. Starting on January 1, 2031, any vehicle that is less than 20 model years old will require an odometer disclosure. Previously, the NHTSA required disclosure was for only the first 10 years. Cars older than 2010 are exempt from odometer disclosures. The Utah DMV provides this odometer disclosure form (TC-891) on their website.
In the case where there are two owners of the vehicle being sold and their names are separated by “or” on the title, only one of the owners need to sign in order to transfer the title to the buyer. If the owner names on the vehicle title were separated by “and”, both owners must sign to transfer the title. If you have a clear title in hand, the seller must complete and sign the Certificate of Title and give it to the buyer along with a completed and signed Bill of Sale. It is recommended that the seller keep a copy of the completed Title and the Bill of Sale. Technically, Utah law allows the seller up to 48 hours to provide the buyer with the vehicle title although most provide the title right away.
The seller must remove their license plates before handing the vehicle over to the buyer. If you do not do so, you may be liable for any violations after the buyer has taken possession of the vehicle. The buyer may apply for a temporary permit by presenting the signed title, their proof of insurance and their photo identification.
Report the vehicle as sold to the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles either by using the online form, calling 1-800-DMV-UTAH or by mail/fax. If you choose to do the latter, the written notification must include the Year, Make and Model, the plate number and the seller’s signature to the address below:
Division of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 30412
Salt Lake City, UT 84130
For more information, visit the Utah Driver and Motor Vehicles website.
Yes. If you do not, you may be liable for any vehicle infractions which occur while your plates are on the car.
No. The buyer will pay the sales tax when the vehicle is titled and registered at the Utah DMV.
Technically no, however the Utah DMV recommends one is used for all private vehicle sales. The state provides form TC-843 on the DMV website which you may download.
No. A vehicle bill of sale for a private party transfer does not need to be notarized.
No. A notary does not have to witness the buyer and the seller signing the vehicle title.
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