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  • Title Transfers in South Dakota

    What is a Title Transfer?

    Titles are documents that establish ownership of a piece of property, including vehicles. So, when you buy or sell a vehicle, a title transfer must occur in order to legally keep track of the legal owner(s). All vehicles driven on public roads within the state must be properly titled. The transfer must be processed at a county treasurer's office within 30 days of the sale. If not, you'll be assessed a late fee.

    Typical occasions for title transfers include:

    • Selling a vehicle
    • Buying a vehicle
    • Paying off a loan
    • Transfer a vehicle to a family member
    • Giving a vehicle as a gift
    • Donating a vehicle
    • Inheriting a vehicle
    • Making corrections to title

    Selling a Vehicle

    Anytime there's money involved with a transaction―particularly when it's a lot of money, as is the case with most vehicle transfers―there's bound to be at least some uncertainty and tension. Having a vehicle history report on hand is a good way to limit the apprehension of both the vehicle buyer and seller. The document gives the seller some peace of mind about the vehicle's background, and allows the buyer a means to confirm the vehicle's past.

    Before you sell the vehicle, make sure it's been paid off and there aren't any outstanding liens. Verify with the county treasurer that all liens have been properly released.

    After doing so, follow these steps to legally transfer ownership of the vehicle to a private buyer:

    1. Locate the title.
    2. Complete the odometer section (on the flip side of the title), if applicable.
    3. Fill out a South Dakota Salvage, Recovered Theft, and Uniform Damage Disclosure Statement (Form MV-610), if the vehicle is less than 7 years old.
    4. Sign and date the title only after the buyer has properly completed the appropriate sections.
    5. Complete a bill of sale and give it to the buyer.
    6. Send a completed Seller's Report of Sale (Form MV2200) to your local county treasurer's office within 15 days of selling the vehicle.

    While it's not required, you should also go with the buyer to the county treasurer's office to confirm that the title process was properly completed.

    Buying a Vehicle

    New Cars

    Most of the time, the dealer will handle the titling process for you. In case your dealer fails to do so, follow this procedure.

    In case you haven't decided on a vehicle yet, you can shop online and instantly receive information on many of the choices available.

    Used Cars

    For most consumers, your vehicle purchases rank second only to your housing purchases in terms of dollars spent. So, you'll obviously want to carefully consider your car buying decision, and look at all the options available.

    Fortunately, it's easy to comparison shop for a used car online, and quickly gather the information you need to help you make a sound decision. Whenever you're buying a used car, though, you'll want to purchase a vehicle history report to help ensure you know exactly what you're getting for your money.

    Also utilize online searches to rapidly find the best deals for yourself in terms of both financing and insurance.

    When buying a used car from an in-state private seller, you should:

    1. Check the lien section on the title to see if there are any outstanding liens; if there are, get a lien release and attach it to the title.
    2. Within 30 days of the purchase, complete a State of South Dakota Application for Motor Vehicle Title & Registration (Form MV-608) (this may not be necessary if all the needed information is present on the title).
    3. Fill in (with the seller) the "retail sale" section.
    4. Attach a properly completed bill of sale to the title .
    5. Sign and date the title, and attach it to the application.
    6. Go to your county treasurer's office.
    7. Pay the $5 title fee and the 4% excise tax (if applicable) based on the purchase price.

    You'll then register the vehicle and obtain your plates, which also occurs at the treasurer's office.

    If you're buying a vehicle from an out-of-state seller, follow these instructions.

    Removing a Lien

    Within 20 days of when you pay off your loan, the lienholder must complete a release-of-lien form.

    If they send it (and the title) to you instead of your county treasurer's office, take both documents to the office so you have the lien release marked on your title.

    Donating a Vehicle

    While donating a vehicle may be a wonderful gesture, you should consider a number of issues before doing so. Read through our car donation article for some excellent background material, and then consult a tax attorney if you need additional assistance.

    Making Name Corrections

    Changing a Name

    Bring the legal document that declares the name change to a county treasurer's office, along with the title and payment for the $5 fee.

    If the name change is due to a divorce, and there are two names on the title separated by "and," both parties must sign off on the name change.

    It's good to have a copy of your vital record handy in these name change situations. For more information on name changes, consult our Changing Your Name article.

    Deleting a Name

    To remove a name:

    1. The person whose name is being removed must sign off as the seller on the title.
    2. The title needs to be taken to the the county treasurer's office to have the change properly addressed, and $5 fee must be paid.

    Adding a Name

    To add a name:

    1. The person whose name is being added should include their signature and driver's license number on the title.
    2. That person and anyone who previously signed the title must go to the county treasurer's office to have the change properly noted, and pay the $5 fee.

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