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Paperwork When Buying a Car in Georgia

Paperwork Required to Buy a Car in Georgia

When buying a car in Georgia, you must ensure the seller provides you with the paperwork required to title and register the car in your name with the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR).

If you buy a car from a dealership, the paperwork will likely be handled for you. However, buying from a private seller means you’ll be responsible for getting the documents you need and submitting them to the DOR yourself.

Read below for more information about the paperwork you need when buying a car in Georgia.

Paperwork for Georgia Car Buyers

The vehicle title is the most important document you need to get from the seller. Make sure that:

  • The seller completes the appropriate sections of the title.
  • The seller includes the odometer reading on the title, for vehicles less than 10 years old.
  • Both you and the seller sign the title.

You’ll also need a bill of sale from the seller.

NOTE: Vehicles in metro Atlanta counties will need to pass an emissions inspection before they can be registered in Georgia.

More information about transferring vehicle ownership is available on our page, Title Transfers in Georgia.

Buying Without a Title or Registration

Titles are not required in Georgia for vehicles 1985 or older, but you will need to provide the bill of sale when you register the car in your name, so be sure to take it with you to your local Tax Commissioner's office.

If the car is newer than 1985, the bill of sale might still work in place of a title. Alternatively, the seller can apply for a replacement title.

If the registration is missing, you'll need to go to your local Tax Commissioner's office after contacting law enforcement to inspect the vehicle and the vehicle identification number (VIN). With this documentation and your bill of sale, you'll be able to register the car in your name.

Bill of Sale

You'll need a bill of sale for registration purposes. If you have difficulty finding this form, you can easily download one from our Bill of Sale Form page.

GA Registration Paperwork

To complete the title transfer and vehicle registration in Georgia, you’ll need to take your sale paperwork and a few other items to your local Tax Commissioner's office.

To register your vehicle or transfer your previous registration, you’ll need:

  • The vehicle title.
  • A bill of sale.
  • A completed Motor Vehicle Title/Tag Application (Form MV-1).
  • Proof of car insurance.
  • Proof of GA residency.
  • Payment for the appropriate fees and taxes.
    • The original title fee is $18.
    • Registration is $20 for most vehicles.
    • License plate transfer is $5.
    • Sales tax is based on the purchase price of the vehicle.

Georgia assesses numerous penalty fees for late registration, so make sure you complete vehicle registration or transfer your tags within 7 days of buying the car.

For more information about vehicle registration, see our page Register a Car in Georgia.

Vehicle History Reports

A vehicle history report provides information about a car based on its vehicle identification number (VIN). Reports include details such as:

  • An odometer reading.
  • Accident history.
  • Damage history.

The accurate information in a vehicle history report can help protect you against dealer/seller fraud such as odometer fraud (when a seller manipulates the odometer reading to make it appear that the car has fewer miles than it actually does).

While the report isn’t part of your required paperwork, it is an important document for used car buyers.

Forms

MV-1

Use this form for most vehicle title & registration transactions, including original applications, renewals, replacements, and changes.

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