Bill of Sale Requirements in California
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In California, a bill of sale is not required in the selling/purchase of a vehicle; however, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) does provide a state-approved bill of sale form for those wishing to complete one.
Why Use a Bill of Sale?
If You Are the Seller
Having a basic bill of sale helps you keep a record of the transaction details. California doesn't legally require one, but without it, you could lose valuable information like the sale date, purchase price, and buyer's contact information.
If You Are the Buyer
As a buyer, having documentation proving that you purchased the vehicle is very important. A properly completed bill of sale can act as a solid proof of purchase.
You can also use the bill of sale when you register your newly-purchased motor vehicle or vessel to help the DMV determine the Vehicle License Fee (VLF). The bill of sale will list the purchase price; without the purchase price, the VLF is based on the vehicle's approximate value, which might be higher than the car's actual value.
NOTE: While a bill of sale is not required in the sales transaction of a vehicle, there are steps that a buyer and seller must take to transfer the title and ownership of a vehicle. See our Title Transfers in California page for more details.
Completing a CA Bill of Sale
On the Bill of Sale (Form REG 135) provided by the CA DMV, you must provide the following:
- The names and addresses of both buyer and seller.
- The seller's signature.
- Vehicle information, including the make, model, year, and vehicle identification number (VIN).
- The sell date and price paid.
NOTE: If the vehicle was a gift, there's space to indicate the relationship and value.
This bill of sale form is designed so that both the buyer and seller can keep a copy, so be sure both parties complete the top and bottom of the form.
Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment
In a sale, if the title does not have space for an odometer reading (required if the vehicle is under 10 years old), you will need to complete a Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment(Form REG 262) and submit it to the DMV. This form also acts as a bill of sale.
You cannot download this form; it's printed on security paper. Call the DMV at (800) 777-0133 to have a copy mailed to you, or pick one up at your local DMV.
Junk Vehicles & Bills of Sale
Junk vehicles are vehicles that have been dismantled because of wrecks, abandonment, or other events that have left them too damaged to operate.
In some cases, junk vehicles are repaired and rebuilt. We explain this process in our Salvaged Vehicles section.
For bill of sale purposes:
- If you repair and rebuild a junk vehicle and want to sell it, you must provide the buyer with either a bill of sale with your dismantler's acquisition number or a junk receipt.
- A junk receipt is an ownership document. The CA DMV issues this document when you request “junk" status for the vehicle. It's comparable to a car title and notes that the vehicle is a junk vehicle.
- If you want to re-register a junk vehicle, you'll need:
- Either the junk receipt or the bill of sale. Make sure the dismantler included his or her acquisition number.
- Any other bills of sale that establish a chain of ownership from the person whose name is on the junk receipt or bill of sale to you.
- REG 135
- REG 262
- Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form
- Combination form for odometer disclosure, bill of sale, and power of attorney. Not available online. You must contact the California DMV for a copy.