Dealer Licensing in Alabama

Anyone who sells new or used vehicles, wholesale or rebuilders must be licensed as a dealer. Alabama has the following categories of licenses for car dealers:

  • New car dealer OR used vehicle
  • Wholesaler
  • Rebuilder

Retailers can sell to the public and are required to collect sales tax, so a sales tax number is required for that category prior to licensing.

There are different licenses you must have as a car dealer. A regulatory license, which you get through the Alabama Department of Revenue by filling out an application (first read the instructions). You must obtain this license before applying for a privilege license.

The cost for each category of regulatory license is $26.

The other license you'll need is your business license, or privilege license. The fees associated with this license are based on your city's population.

You may apply for your auto dealer's privilege license at your local county probate office or with your local license commissioner. Before a license will be issued, you must:

  1. Complete an application form.
  2. Obtain a surety bond (available from your insurance agent) in the amount of $50,000 for a dealer license.
  3. Purchase blanket liability insurance for all vehicles connected with the business. The current insurance certificate must be submitted with your license application and must include specific information. If the coverage is cancelled or not renewed before the expiration date, your dealer license will be revoked.
  4. Obtain a sales tax number online or by mail in the same name as your business.
  5. Obtain a permanent business location with a verifiable phone listing.
  6. Take photographs of your business sign and location. You may use a digital camera, but the pictures must be printed on photographic paper, and not copier paper. Be sure to adhere to the photo and sign requirements.
  7. Pay the appropriate fees, based on your city's population (see above).

Auto Dealer Bond

Any type of dealer license requires a $50,000 bond. Included in this bonding process is the dealer becoming a designated agent.

In the event you need to change bonding companies you must file a new bond with the Motor Vehicle Division before the previous one is cancelled. Your license will be revoked if the bond is cancelled without a new one already in place,

Dealer Tags

Any dealer who holds a valid dealer's license may apply for dealers' tags at the dealership's county courthouse. For more information, call (334) 242-9000.

Tent Sale

If you plan to hold a special sale somewhere other than your business location, such as an auto show or convention, you should obtain a license for the event by using the Department of Revenue Dealer License website at least 10 days before the sale and paying a fee of $25. The sale location must be in the same city or county where you are licensed. You may also need a separate dealer privilege license for the tent sale, and you should check with your local governments to determine whether additional local fees or licenses are required. 

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