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  • State Regulations in Idaho

    By When Must I Title My Recently Purchased Vehicle?

    As an Idaho resident, once you purchase a vehicle in the state, you have 30 days to title it. If you procrastinate beyond the allotted time, you'll face a $20 penalty for late filing. For those who have purchased vehicles across state lines, you have 30 days from the time you entered Idaho to title it, unless you are up for paying the $20 late-filing penalty.

    How Do I Title and Register the Car I Just Bought?

    You should fit under one of the four following scenarios if you are required to title and register your vehicle:

    Vehicles Purchased From Idaho Dealers

    The dealer should prepare and submit the documents necessary to get you a title in your name. Grab your copy of the dealer's title application paperwork and head to your local county assessor's office to register the vehicle.

    Vehicles Purchased From Private Parties or Out-of-state Dealers

    Take the previous owner's title documents to your county assessor's vehicle licensing office and complete the title application.

    Vehicles Purchased From Private Parties or Out- of-state Dealers and Financed Through an Idaho Financial Institution

    The financial institution should take care of this for you by submitting and preparing the documents necessary to secure a title in your name and to show its lien on the vehicle.

    Vehicles Purchased From Private Parties or Out-of-state Dealers and Financed Through an Out-of-state Financial Institution

    Typically, that institution will forward the necessary documents to your county assessor's vehicle licensing office. Once you confirm that the paperwork has arrived, take a trip to the office, sign the title application, and apply for registration.

    What Must I Do When I Sell a Vehicle?

    Selling a vehicle can lift a huge burden from your shoulders, as long as you do so properly. Be sure to follow through on the following:

    • Hand over the title that is issued in your name to the new buyer. You must title the vehicle in your name before you hand it over to a new owner. Simply sign the line that read "seller's signature" and write in the date that reads "date sold." The only way to avoid having to give the buyer this title is if you possess a dealer's license that was issued to you by the Idaho Transportation Department.

      Fill in the odometer reading (the number shown on the odometer) if the vehicle is less than ten years old, unless it is a boat. In the case that the number has been "flipped" or "turned over," you must check the box that reads "in excess of mechanical limits." If the value shown on the odometer does not accurately reflect the correct number of miles (if the odometer does not work properly, or there was a period of time that it did not work), check the "not actual" box.

      Should you discover there is no place to write in the selling price on the front of the title, create a bill of sale. Otherwise, simply jot down this info in the appropriate space.

    • Give a Bill of Sale to the Buyer.
      This document must include a statement of sale ("I hereby sell ... "), the vehicle's year, make, model, and vehicle identification number, the buyer's name, the selling price, the seller's signature, and the date. Go ahead and keep a signed copy of the bill of sale for your own records. It's also a good idea to jot down the time and date the transaction took place as evidence of when you handed over ownership and control of the vehicle.
    • File a Release of Liability Statement.
      According to Section 49-526, Idaho Code, you are required to file this statement and pay a filing fee within 5 days of delivery of the vehicle you are selling or transferring. Do so whether you are selling the vehicle to an individual or simply trading it in to a dealership.

      This removes you from being liable should the new owner damage a person or property by way of negligent operation of the vehicle after you handed over the keys. Filing a release of liability also lifts any responsibility that may fall on your shoulders regarding motor vehicle infractions that take place after the purchase was made. This covers parking tickets and abandoned vehicle infractions.

      In the case that the vehicle has been abandoned and nobody has claimed it from the tow yard within a week from the tow date, if you did not follow through on the release of liability, you are looking at an infraction as the owner of record.

      The citation requires you to pay fines and court costs, and if you fail to pay up, your license will be suspended. So be sure you properly file this release.

      You'll most likely find a release-of-liability form as a tear strip on the bottom of the title, and on the back of vehicle registrations. You can download one and you can also contact the Idaho Transportation Department or pay a visit to your county driver's license office to pick one up.
    • Take Back Your License Plates.
      You paid for them, so you should keep them. You can even transfer them to another vehicle that you own.
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