Title Transfers in South Carolina

How to Complete an Auto Title Transfer in South Carolina:
  1. Complete and sign the title certificate (seller and buyer).
  2. Complete a Bill of Sale (if applicable).
  3. Complete the title application form.
  4. Submit the above to the SCDMV.

Read below for more details on how to complete a South Carolina car title transfer.

New-to-State Title Transfer

After moving to South Carolina, you have 45 days to complete a car title transfer with the SC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

To apply for a South Carolina vehicle title, submit the following to the DMV:

You can submit the above:

  • In person at your local SCDMV office location.
  • By mail to:
    • Department of Motor Vehicles
    • P.O. Box 1498
    • Blythewood, SC 29016

NOTE: Unless you are not planning on driving your vehicle, you will also need to register your car, which can typically be done along with titling. Read our guide to Car Registration in South Carolina for more information.

Buying or Selling a SC Vehicle

Once you have purchased a car, you have 45 days to apply for a DMV title transfer and register it. The process will differ slightly based on whether your new car was:

  • Bought from a dealer.
  • Leased.
  • Bought from a private seller.

Buying from a Dealer

When you purchase a non-leased car from a dealership, the dealer is required to complete your vehicle title and registration application for you.

The dealer will collect any applicable sales tax and titling fees.

Leased Vehicles

If you've leased your new car, bring following to the DMV for a vehicle title transfer:

  • Completed Application for Certificate of Title/Registration (Form 400).
    • Section E (Leasing Information) must be completed by your leasing company.
    • The odometer reading must also be filled out.
  • Properly assigned title or Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin.
  • Proof of South Carolina auto insurance.
  • Power of attorney, if you are signing on behalf of someone else.
  • Vehicle property tax receipt.
  • Payment for any applicable title fees and taxes.

Buying from a Private Seller

If you've purchased a car from a private seller and are ready to transfer ownership, head to your local DMV office with:

NOTE: All cars must display a license plate while being driven on South Carolina's public roads. You can get a temporary license plate to display before you title and register your car. Read our Car Registration in South Carolina page for more information.

Vehicles Without a Title

If you purchase a car 25 years old or older that has no previous South Carolina title, you can apply for one by submitting the following to the DMV:

  • Affidavit of Ownership (Form TI-021A); this form must include:
    • Current owner information.
    • A statement regarding how, when, where, from whom the car was acquired, and the condition of the vehicle.
  • Pictures of the car from all angles.
  • A completed Vehicle Identification Verification for Title without Previous Title (Form TI-021B), signed by a DMV official.
    • If no identification number is available, you must apply for a DMV-issued serial number by completing an Application for Special Serial Number (Form 401-A) BEFORE beginning the title application process.
    • If your car is inoperable, you can have it branded “not for road use". You can have this brand removed once the car is running.

Selling a Vehicle in South Carolina

When you sell a car, it is the buyer's responsibility to complete the vehicle title transfer. However, as the seller you must:

  • Complete the title assignment on the title certificate.
  • Provide a Bill of Sale (Form 4031) if the title was issued before June 19, 1989.
  • Submit a completed Notice of Vehicle Sold (Form 416) to the DMV.

Gifted and Inherited Vehicles

Gifted Vehicles

The process for completing a South Carolina DMV title transfer for gifted vehicles is similar to the buying and selling process. Be sure to mark “The Vehicle was a Bonafide Gift" box, as this will qualify the vehicle for a sales tax exemption.

You may also be exempt from sales tax if you are transferring vehicle ownership between family members. See Title Transfer Fees below for a full list.

Inherited Vehicles

If you are a surviving owner of a car, and your name and the deceased's name is separated by “or" on the title, you can sign as the sole owner for an auto title transfer.

If the names on the title were separated by “and", or if there was only one owner on the title, distribution of the vehicle must be determined by the probate court.

Depending on the determined form of distribution, the court will issue one of the following:

  • An Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property Pursuant to Small Estate Proceedings.
  • Personal Representative with an original Certificate of Appointment.
  • Probate Court Order.

To complete a South Carolina car title transfer, you will need one of the above documents, along with the Application for Certificate of Title/Registration (Form 400).

Releasing a SC Lien

Once you have paid off your car loan, your lender can release the lien on your SC vehicle title, allowing you to complete an auto title transfer.

Your lender can release the lien:

  • Electronically, if there is an electronic title.
  • By completing the lien release section on the title certificate.
  • By submitting a letter written on their letterhead. This letter must include:
    • Your (owner's) name.
    • Vehicle identification number (VIN).
    • Title number.
    • A signature of an authorized company representative.

Title Transfer Fees

The titling, sales tax, and car title transfer fees in South Carolina are:

  • Original title: $15.
  • Title transfer: $15.
  • Sales tax: Up to 5% of purchase price ($300 maximum).
    • Only applicable if you have not already paid sales tax on the vehicle.

Sales Tax Exemptions

In addition to gifted and inherited cars, you will also be exempt from South Carolina sales tax if:

  • You are transferring ownership between family members, including:
    • Parents.
    • Siblings.
    • Children.
    • Spouses.
    • Grandparents.
    • Grandchildren.
  • You are a non-resident member of the military.

Duplicate South Carolina Title

Because vehicle ownership cannot be transferred without a title, it is important that you get a duplicate title if you lose your original title certificate.

To order a replacement SC title, submit the following to your local DMV office:

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