Register Car in Maine
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Visit our Registration Renewals page if this is not the first time registering your current vehicle.
First-time registration situations include:
- Recently relocating to the state.
- Buying a used vehicle from a private party.
- Transferring ownership via donation, a gift, or inheritance.
New residents must register within 30 days of establishing residency.
You need proof of insurance in order to register. If you don't have a provider, you can save time when you compare quotes from a variety of companies at our Insurance Center.
Buying a new or used car from a dealer frees you from filing registration and title papers on your own. Confirm, however, with your dealer that he is indeed submitting the paperwork.
Otherwise, if you just moved to Maine or just purchased a used car from a private party, you must, after paying the vehicle's excise tax, submit the following:
- The signed-over title, if your car is less than 16 years old. (If the title is lost or illegible, replace it.)
- Proof of vehicle insurance.
- The signed Bill of Sale.
- White and yellow copies of the registration application.
- Payment for 5% sales tax.
- Payment for $33.00 title application fee.
- Payment for registration fee (varies by choice of license plate).
Keep in mind, you'll need proof your vehicle passed an annual safety inspection once it's registered. Too, Cumberland County also requires emissions tests. Learn more about both at Smog & Emission Checks.
Before agreeing to a car, order a vehicle history report to be sure you're getting what you pay for.
In addition to the registration fee, you must also pay all applicable sales and excise taxes, when registering your car for the first time.
Sales tax is 5% of the selling price. Excise tax is paid to the town, like a property tax, and is determined by the age of your vehicle and the manufactured suggested retail price (MSRP). To determine this, multiply the MSRP by the mil rate show below:
- Year 1―.0240 mil rate
- Year 2―.0175 mil rate
- Year 3―.0135 mil rate
- Year 4―.0100 mil rate
- Year 5―.0065 mil rate
- Year 6―.0040 mil rate
To put this into perspective, if you buy a three year old car with an MSRP of $19,500, you would pay $263.25.
Once you register your vehicle, you may eventually need to pay additional fees such as those associated with replacing a lost license plate. Of course, you must also plan to pay for vehicle inspections and possible emissions tests.
First, pay the vehicle's excise tax at your town office. You may then complete the registration process at your town office (only if it participates in the BMV's registration program) or at the nearest Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) office.
Depending on where you live, you will either get your license plates at your town office or BMV office. You'll receive details when you begin the registration process.
Apply registration stickers to the rear license plate. The month decal affixes to the lower left corner, and the year decal affixes to the lower right corner. If you harbor doubts on where to place them, follow the included instructions.
BMV officials recommend contacting your accountant or a tax attorney to learn if this deduction option exists.
After you've fastened plates to your vehicle and are ready to drive, you should now give thought to protecting yourself against unexpected vehicle breakdowns. Subscribing to a roadside assistance package will assure immediate help, while an after-market auto warranty will guard against surprise repair costs. And don't underestimate the value of finding a mechanic you can trust.
Also consider some of the safety options available: a hands-free headset, for example, will keep your hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road; the latest child safety seat will assure your child's protection; and a car emergency kit, often overlooked, will go a long way in preventing an accident from becoming a disaster.
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
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