Indiana residents are required to obtain an Indiana certificate of title for all vehicles, excluding those that are specifically exempt under Indiana law.
Selling or Purchasing a Vehicle
The certificate of title must be applied for within 45 days after the vehicle is purchased or otherwise acquired. If the certificate of title is applied for after the 45 days have passed, an administrative penalty will be charged.
If you are buying a vehicle, ensure the seller has completed in their entirety both the seller and purchaser sections on the certificate of title before visiting a license branch to apply for a new certificate of title. The seller should remove the license plate from the vehicle at the time of the transaction. The purchaser is responsible for obtaining a new certificate of title, registration and license plate.
- The Indiana BMV does not require the license plates of sold vehicles to be returned to the BMV. The license plates of sold vehicles may be transferred to a different vehicle owned by that same person.
The following documentation may not be applicable for all titling situations:
- Manufacturer’s certificate of origin or certificate of title
- Application For Certificate Of Title for a Vehicle - State Form 205
- A conforming odometer statement completed on the certificate of title or an Odometer Disclosure Statement – State Form 43230
- Physical Inspection of a Vehicle or Watercraft – State Form 39530, if applicable
- Seven percent (7%) sales tax must be paid or provide proof of sales tax paid on an ST108 – Certificate of Gross Retail or Use Tax Paid - State Form 48842. If exempt from sales tax, include an ST108E – Certificate of Gross Retail or Use Tax Exemption – State Form 48841.
- Proof of address: A driver’s license or identification card may be accepted as proof if the address on the credential is correct. If the address is not correct, any document from the approved BMV documentation list that is dated within the last 60 days may be used as proof.
- Proof of your Social Security Number (SSN) or Federal Identification Number (FIN) may be required in accordance with Indiana Code 4-1-8-1. Acceptable proofs of SSN/FIN are located on the BMV documentation list.
Vehicles Required to Have a Certificate of Title
A resident of Indiana is required to obtain an Indiana certificate of title for all vehicles, except for the following vehicles that are specifically exempt under Indiana law from being titled:
- A vehicle that is not required to be registered;
- Special machinery;
- A motor vehicle that was designed to have a maximum design speed of not more than 25 miles per hour and that was built, constructed, modified, or assembled by a person other than the manufacturer;
- Motor-driven cycles;
- An off-road vehicle that was purchased or otherwise acquired before January 1, 2010;
- Snowmobiles; and
- A watercraft that is not required to be registered.
Vehicles that are specifically exempt from being titled under Indiana law may be voluntarily titled by the vehicle owner. The application for title, when voluntary, must meet all titling requirements, including but not limited to sales/use tax, but is exempt from an administrative penalty. However, once a title has been issued, the vehicle is subject to all title requirements under Indiana law, including an administrative penalty for future transfers of ownership, until the title is surrendered.
If a vehicle is voluntarily titled, and the certificate of title was issued on or after July 1, 2016, any purchaser or subsequent owner of the vehicle must either:
- Apply for a new certificate of title prior to applying for a registration; or
- Surrender the former certificate of title prior to applying for a registration.
Vehicle Purchased In a Different State
If there is a lien on the vehicle and the title is being held by the lien holder in another state, you must visit a license branch to complete a Request for Title - State Form 1014. The license branch will mail the request to the lien holder. Once the title has been received from your lienholder, the license branch will contact you and request that you return to the license branch to complete your application for the Indiana certificate of title.
Vehicle Inspection Requirement: Any vehicle from another state that is being titled in Indiana, including vehicles owned by new Indiana residents and vehicles assigned to an Indiana resident on a manufacturer's certificate of origin, must have a vehicle inspection. The inspection will confirm the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the vehicle. The inspection may be performed at any Indiana license branch or BMV certified full or partial service provider at no charge or may be performed by a law enforcement officer who may charge up to five dollars ($5.00). If the inspection is performed by a law enforcement officer, the officer must provide to you a completed Physical Inspection of a Vehicle or Watercraft - State Form 39530.
Mail-In Applications: Applicants who purchased a vehicle from a dealer located in a different state may mail their application for certificate of title to the BMV Central Office.
The Transfer of Out-of-State Title to Indiana Vehicle and Watercraft Title Application Packet provides a detailed list of the documents required to be submitted with the application. Prior to submitting each application, verify that all required information is included.
When you purchase a vehicle in Indiana, you must pay sales tax on the purchase price of the vehicle. If a vehicle is purchased from an Indiana dealership, the dealer will collect the sales tax and provide proof of the sales tax paid on an ST108 – Certificate of Gross Retail or Use Tax Paid – State Form 48842. If a vehicle is purchased privately, the sales tax must be paid at a license branch when you apply for the Indiana certificate of title.
Indiana residents who purchased a vehicle from a state other than Indiana, including non-Indiana dealers, will receive credit for the sales tax paid in that state. If you paid less than the amount of sales tax Indiana would have assessed, you must pay the difference to Indiana at the time of the application for the Indiana certificate of title.
New Indiana residents are not charged sales tax when transferring their vehicle’s certificate of title from their prior state of residence to Indiana.
Releasing a Lien
Prior to selling a vehicle, all lienholders must have released their interest in the vehicle.
Lienholder is a financial institution or dealer: To remove the lien from your vehicle’s certificate of title, the lienholder must sign off in the proper lien release section on the certificate of title or provide a letter of lien release. If the financial institution or dealer is no longer in business, contact your local court to obtain a court order directing the BMV to release the lien.
Lienholder is an individual: To remove the lien from your vehicle’s certificate of title, the lienholder must release the lien in one of the ways:
- The individual lienholder must sign off in the proper lien release section on the certificate of title;
- The vehicle owner must obtain a lien release letter; or
- The vehicle owner must obtain a general Affidavit – State Form 37964 that is signed by the individual lienholder.