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Title Transfers in Kentucky

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How to Transfer a Vehicle Title in Kentucky
  1. The buyer and seller should visit the local county clerk's office.
  2. Make sure you have the current title certificate and payment for applicable title transfer fees.
  3. The buyer will need proof of car insurance.
  4. All parties must have photo ID.

Continue reading for more details about KY transfers of car ownership.

New-to-State KY Vehicle Titles

To obtain a vehicle title from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet as a new Kentucky resident, you will need to visit your local county clerk's office with the following:

  • Title certificate from your previous state.
  • Registration from your previous state.
  • Certified vehicle inspection from your county's sheriff department to verify your vehicle identity number (VIN).
  • Proof of insurance.
  • Proof of paid sales or use tax from previous state.
  • Driver's license or photo ID.
  • Payment for title transfer fees and applicable taxes.

If you are paying a car loan, and your lender has the title, your county clerk will write a letter to your lender requesting that the title be sent to the county clerk. The county clerk may issue you temporary license plates to display while you wait for the arrival of your title.

Leased Vehicles

In addition to the items listed above, if your car is leased, you will need to bring the following to your county clerk's office:

  • Power of attorney from your leasing company stating that you may sign documents on behalf of the leasing company.
  • A statement, on your leasing company's letterhead, of all sales taxes paid on the vehicle.

NOTE: If your leasing company utilizes Kentucky's U-Drive-It program (available to rental and leasing companies), you do not have to provide any proof of sales taxes paid, and your car will be exempt from the vehicle inspection.

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Buying or Selling a Vehicle

A Kentucky title transfer must take place when ownership of a vehicle is changed. This includes change of ownership occurring as a result of the purchase or sale of a vehicle.

Purchasing a Car from a KY Dealer

When buying a new car from a dealership, your dealer will likely be able to handle all titling and registration procedures for you. Ask them about any steps you need to personally take regarding the titling of your new car.

Private Party Transactions (Buying & Selling)

Ideally, if the purchase and sale of a vehicle has occurred between two private parties, both the buyer and seller should visit the Kentucky county clerk's office together with the following:

If both the seller and buyer cannot be present, signatures on the application may need to be notarized. Contact the county clerk's office for more information.

NOTE: The procedures for completing a vehicle title transfer of a gifted car are similar to the steps for completing an auto title transfer of a purchased car. Sales tax, based on the vehicle's current trade-in value will apply.

Selling Your Car to an Out-of-State Resident

Take the following steps if you are selling your car to someone from another state:

  • Have your signature and the buyer's signature notarized on the back of the title certificate.
  • Give the title certificate to the buyer.
  • If the vehicle has specialty plates, keep the plates and return them to the county clerk's office where the car is registered. Otherwise, the plates should remain with the car.

It is the buyer's responsibility to complete the title transfer in their home state.

Lien Releases

After you have paid off your car loan, your lender should release the lien, making it possible for you to complete a title transfer if necessary.

For your lien to be released, a Title Lien Statement (Form TC 96-187 is only available at a county clerk’s office) should be completed by your lender and submitted to your Kentucky county clerk.

KY Title Transfer Fees

Titling fees in Kentucky vary by county. For specific title transfer fees, contact your county clerk. Your title will generally be prepared and sent to you within 5 business days of its receipt, provided it is complete and accurate. 

You can pay an additional $25 for speed title services (not available in the Frankfort licensing office). A speed title must be made available to you within 48 hours of the Kentucky Department of Vehicle regulation receiving notification of your title application. 

You can also expect to pay a sales tax of 6% of the retail value of your car, or 6% of the purchase price.

Changing Title Information

Procedures for making changes on your Kentucky title will vary depending on the changes you want to make.

If you wish to remove the name of your former spouse after a divorce, bring the following to your county clerk's office:

  • The title certificate.
  • A property settlement signed by you and your ex-spouse.
  • A final divorce decree signed by a judge.
  • Payment for any applicable title transfer fees or sales tax.

Contact your local county clerk's office for information on how to make other changes to your title.

KY Title Replacement

If you have lost your KY title certificate, you can apply for a duplicate title by bringing the following to your county clerk's office:

Forms

Application for Kentucky Certificate of Title or Registration - TC 96-182

Application for an original, transferred, updated, OR replacement Kentucky vehicle title.

Title Lien Statement - TC 96-187

Submit this form to record, continue, OR remove a lien from a KY vehicle title. Form must be obtained from your county clerk's office. Not available online.

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