Paperwork When Buying a Car in Indiana

When you buy a car in Indiana, you'll need documents from the seller in order to title and register it at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

Use this guide to learn more about the paperwork required by the BMV when buying and registering a vehicle.

Paperwork for Indiana Car Buyers

The paperwork you need to submit to the Indiana BMV varies based on whether you purchased your vehicle from a dealership or from a private party.

If you buy a car from a dealership, the dealer will most likely provide the BMV the necessary paperwork required to title and register the vehicle. Otherwise, make sure to obtain a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO) to submit as your proof of ownership.

For vehicles purchased from a private seller, you'll need certain documents before ownership can be legally transferred. Here's the paperwork you'll need to receive before completing the sale:

  • The vehicle's title with all transfer sections completed, including:
    • The buyer and seller's signatures.
    • An odometer disclosure.
    • The purchase date.
    • The selling price.
  • An emissions certificate, if applicable.

What if the Title is Missing?

If the seller has lost the vehicle title, the process will differ based on the vehicle's value.

If the vehicle is worth:

  • $5,000 or less:
    • Submit the following forms:
      • Affidavit of Ownership for a Vehicle (Form 23037).
      • Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form 43230).
      • Affidavit of Police Officer/Physical Inspection of an Indiana Resident's Vehicle (Form 39530).
  • More than $5,000:

IN Vehicle Registration Paperwork

After buying a vehicle, visit your local BMV office to title and register it within 45 days of the sale date.

Here's the paperwork you'll need to bring with you:

  • A completed vehicle title.
    • All transfer sections must be completed.
  • Insurance documents.
  • An odometer disclosure statement.
  • Lienholder or lease documents, if applicable.
  • A completed:
  • Proof of paid sales or use tax.
    • You will need a Certificate of Gross Retail or Use Tax Paid (Form 48842) to fulfill this requirement.
  • Payment for applicable fees due, including:
    • Title fee: $15.
    • Registration fee: $21.35.

For further details on the titling and registration process in Indiana, visit our sections on Title Transfers and Car Registration.

Registering Out-of-State Vehicles

In addition to the documents above, you may also need to provide the following paperwork when registering a car bought in a state other than Indiana:

  • Current out-of-state registration and license plates.
  • A Certificate of Gross Retail or Use Tax Exemption (Form 48841) if you already paid sales tax in another state.


Affidavit of Ownership For A Vehicle
Use the Indiana BMV's affidavit as proof of ownership if you don't have the original certificate of title for a car you'd like to transfer into your name.
Affidavit Physical Inspection of a Vehicle or Watercraft
An inspector must complete this form if your hull (for boats) or vehicle identification number requires an inspection before the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will issue a title.
Application For Certificate Of Title For A Vehicle
The Bureau of Motor Vehicles' application for an Indiana vehicle title.
Certificate of Gross Retail or Use Tax Exemption
Submit this certificate to the BMV if you meet any of the qualifications (listed on the form) for exemption from Indiana's gross retail or use tax on a vehicle or watercraft you bought.
Certificate of Gross Retail or Use Tax Paid
Use this form to verify you've already paid IN gross retail or use tax on a vehicle or watercraft you purchased. Must be completed by the person who sold you the vehicle or watercraft.
Odometer Disclosure Statement
The Bureau of Motor Vehicles' form for disclosing the number of miles on a car you intend to sell in Indiana.
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