Title Transfers in Tennessee

How to Complete a Tennessee Title Transfer:
  1. Get a properly assigned title and odometer disclosure from the previous owner.
  2. Bring the paperwork to your local county clerk's office.
  3. Provide proof of ID and residency.
  4. Pay any applicable fees and sales taxes.

Keep reading for further details about car title transfers in Tennessee.

New-to-State Title Transfer

When you move to Tennessee, you will need to title and register your car with the Vehicle Services Division (DVS) by visiting your new local county clerk's office. If you live in a county that requires emissions tests, you'll need to complete that first BEFORE going to the DVS.

When applying for your auto title transfer and vehicle registration, bring:

  • Your current out-of-state registration.
  • Your out-of-state title certificate.
    • If you have are making payments on your car, and have a lien hold, you must provide your lender's name and address.
  • Emissions test certificate (if applicable).
  • Proof of identification and residency.
  • Payment for the title transfer fee (varies by county).

Buying or Selling a Car in TN

Buying a New Car

When you purchase a brand new car in Tennessee, you must submit the following to your local county clerk office, in order to title and register it:

  • Manufacturer's Statement of Origin.
  • Your new car's invoice.
  • Copy of your current registration (if you are transferring license plates from your previous car).
  • Proof of identification.
  • Proof of residency.
  • Payment for your titling fees (vary by county).

Buying a Used Car

If you want to complete a vehicle title transfer from a private Tennessee seller, submit the following to your local county clerk:

Are You Buying a Lemon? It's Not Too Late to Check!

Make sure your new car is up to snuff. Order a vehicle history report and get the low-down on your new ride before you drive off with a clunker.

Selling a Vehicle in Tennessee

If you sell your car, provide the buyer with the following in order to transfer ownership:

The buyer will be responsible for completing the rest of the car title transfer.

NOTE: If you live in a required emissions test county in Tennessee, and the car's registration is up for renewal, you may want to have the car inspected and give that paperwork to the buyer, or let the buyer know that they will need to have the smog check done themselves.

Tax Exempt Auto Title Transfers

You qualify for a tax exemption if you are transferring a car you obtained:

  • As a gift.
  • For a sale price of 75% or less of fair market value.
  • As a qualifying relative of the previous owner.

Qualifying relatives include:

  • Parents.
  • Siblings.
  • Spouses.
  • Children. *
  • Grandchildren. *
  • Great-grandchildren. *
  • Grandparents.
  • Great-grandparents.

Follow the steps laid out in the Buying and Selling section above to complete your tax exempt auto title transfer.

* Spouses (in-laws) are also included.

Inherited Vehicle Title Transfers

The process for auto title transfers of inherited cars may differ depending on how the estate was distributed.

If applicable, the existing title must be signed by:

  • The executor designated by the previous owner.
  • A court-appointed administrator.

You will need to submit the following:

  • The title certificate.
  • If there was a will, EITHER:
    • The probated will.
    • Letter(s) of testamentary certifying an executor or appointee.
  • If there was NO will, BOTH:
  • Completed Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form RV-F1317001).

Contact your local county clerk's office for specific information on how to complete a DMV title transfer for your inherited vehicle.

Obtaining a Lien Release

Once you have finished paying off your car, your lender must release the lien on the vehicle.

They can do so by submitting one of the following to the Vehicle Services Division:

  • A copy of the title certificate reflecting the date of the lien release and signature of lender.
  • The tear-away portion of the title form with the date of release and signature.
  • A completed Notice of Discharge of Lien (Form RV-F1310901).

TN Title Transfer Fees

Additional fees vary depending on the county you live in. Contact your local DVS office for specific fee information.

The basic state fees regarding titles are:

  • Title fee: $11.
  • Title transfer fee: $1.
  • License plate fee: $21.50 (standard plate).

You can also expect to pay local tax of from 1.50% to 2.75% and 7% state sales or use tax when titling and registering your car.

Duplicate Titles

If you have lost your Tennessee certificate of title, you can apply for a duplicate title by bringing or mailing in the following to your local county clerk office:

  • Duplicate Title application (Form RV-F1321801).
  • Proof of lien release (if applicable).
    • If there is still a lien on your title, your lender must apply for a duplicate title.
  • Acceptable identification (if applying in person).
  • Payment for the duplicate title: $11

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