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  • Title Transfers in Wisconsin

    What is a Title Transfer

    Your title confirms you're the legitimate owner of your vehicle. When it comes time to transfer ownership, you'll need the title to make the deal legally official. When you're the buyer or receiver, you must title the vehicle in your name as soon as possible. Unlike many other states, there are no set time limits or late titling fees.

    Typical title transfer transactions include:

    • Paying off a car loan
    • Gifting or donating a vehicle
    • Inheriting a vehicle
    • Selling or buying a vehicle
    • Transferring to family
    • Adding or deleting a name

    Selling a Vehicle

    Before advertising your vehicle, order a vehicle history report. This will ease the selling process by giving you a gauge on an appropriate asking price, and give you a heads-up on what potential buyers may inquire about.

    After agreeing to sell, you must:

    1. Sign and date the title.
    2. Include the odometer reading.
    3. Complete the brand disclosure section on the title, if applicable.
    4. Write the sale price on the title.
    5. Write the name and address of the buyer on the title.
    6. Pay off the car loan, if applicable, and give the lien release document to the buyer.
    7. Remove your license plates from the car (plates stay on trucks weighing 10,000 lbs. or more, farm trucks weighing 16,000 lbs. or more, mopeds, trailers and mobile homes.

    Though a bill of sale is not required, the DMV recommends creating one for your own records.

    Buying a Vehicle

    New Cars

    The dealer will manage and submit all documents to the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

    If you have yet to settle on a specific vehicle, you can shop online for a car from the convenience of home.

    Used Cars

    Budget should be your number one factor when shopping for a car. To help find a budget you can comfortably manage, explore everyauto finance option before buying. The same applies for insurance. Before settling with the first carrier you spy in the phone book, shop around for different rates at our Insurance Center.

    And to protect from getting saddled with a lemon, be sure, before buying, to order a vehicle history report.

    After purchasing, you must visit any DMV center and bring:

    1. The original title, signed by the previous owner.
    2. A completed Title/License Plate Application (Form MV1).
    3. Current identification.
    4. A license plate to transfer. If you don't have plates to transfer or if your plates are expiring in the next three months, you'll instead have to pay the annual registration fee.
    5. Check or money order for title fee ($69.50).
    6. Check or money order for the sales tax.
    7. Check or money order for local sales tax, if applicable.
    8. Check or money order for wheel tax, if applicable.

    You can also apply for a title online using the eMV Public system.

    Depending on your situation, you may have to register the vehicle during the titling process.

    Removing a Lien

    After paying off your car loan, you're free to remove the lien holder from your title. If your lien is electronically released, you will receive your new title in the mail if your lien was listed on or after July 30, 2012. If your lien was listed before this date and it is released electronically, you do not need to apply for a new title. Keep the notice of lien release as proof of your ownership.

    If your lien wasn't released electronically, you will need to send the following documents to:

    Department of Transportation
    P.O. Box 7949
    Madison, WI 53707

    Liens listed prior to July 30, 2012:

    • Your original title.
    • Either:
      • A Confirmation of Security Interest (Lien) Perfection (Form T084 or MV2076) from the lender.
      • A letter from the lender release the lien.
      • Your title with a "PAID" stamp from the lender.

    Liens listed on or after July 30, 2012:

    • Valid lien release.

    NOTE: You can also take the above documents to your local DMV Service Center, however you will be charged a $5 processing fee. There is no fee if you mail in your lien removal documents.

    You will receive your title in the mail within 6 weeks.

    Transferring to Family Member

    You may transfer your title to the following family members:

    • Mother
    • Mother-in-law
    • Father
    • Father-in-law
    • Stepparent
    • Child
    • Stepchild
    • Daughter-in-law
    • Son-in-law

    To Waive The Sales Tax however, the vehicle must be registered in the name of the “Seller.” In other words, the person transferring the vehicle must be the person the vehicle is registered to. Also note: The sales tax exemption does not apply if the seller is a motor vehicle dealer.

    In addition, the vehicle must already be registered in Wisconsin in order to have the sales tax waived.

    If you're the receiver, either mail or drop-off at any DMV center the following:

    1. The original title, signed by the family member giving you the vehicle. It does not matter if the sales price or the word "GIFT" is included on the title, for sales tax is waived when transferring a title to any of the above mentioned family members IF the seller is also the same person the car is registered to.
    2. A completed Title/License Plate Application (Form MV1).
    3. Current identification.
    4. A license plate to transfer (between spouses or domestic partners only). You will need to apply for your own plates if you are transferring ownership between other family members.
    5. Check or money order for title fee ($69.50).
    6. Check or money order for local sales tax, if applicable.
    7. Check or money order for wheel tax, if applicable.

    Mail to the address located on the title application.

    Gifting a Vehicle

    If someone gives you a vehicle as a gift, you will need to submit either in person at any DMV center or by mail:

    1. A completed Title/License Plate Application (Form MV1). Make sure in section D you write "zero, gift" as the purchase price.
    2. A reassigned title with the odometer reading.
    3. A $69.50 title-transfer fee.

    Mail to the address located on the application.

    Donating a Vehicle

    With so many causes and charities to choose from, it's easy to feel good about donating your car. For complete information, visit our Car Donation page.

    Consulting a tax attorney is not required, but will improve your chances of receiving a maximum tax credit on your donation.

    Inheriting a Vehicle

    To help cut through the tangle of legal jargon, consulting a probate lawyer is highly advisable.

    If you're a surviving spouse, looking to transfer the ownership of a vehicle into your name (there's a five vehicle limit), you must submit by mail or in person at any DMV center the following:

    1. A completed Statement of Transfer of Vehicles to a Surviving Spouse, Domestic Partner or Heir (Form MV2300).
    2. The current certificate of title showing the deceased as owner.
    3. A completed Title/License Plate Application (Form MV1).
    4. Check or money order for $62 transfer fee.

    If you're an heir, all of the above applies as long as the value of the vehicle or vehicles does not exceed $50,000. And instead of paying $62, you must pay $69.50.

    As long as the vehicle, or vehicles, in question are currently registered, you won't have to pay new registration fees.

    You will need to insure the vehicle or vehicles. You can, if needed, compare rates of various carriers at our Insurance Center.

    NOTE: A death certificate is not required provided the deceased owner resided and died in Wisconsin.

    Making Name Corrections

    If you change your name due to marriage, divorce, or court order, it is not mandatory to have your name changed on your certificate of title.

    If you choose to have your title updated to reflect your new name, you will need:

    • Your current title.
    • To change your name on your WI driver's license/ID card first.

    Mail or take your request in person to the Wisconsin DMV. Please note, there is a $5 fee for transactions made in person.

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