When is a Bill of Sale Needed?
Customers may use a bill of sale to transfer vehicle ownership in very limited circumstances as outlined below. A bill of sale cannot be used to transfer vehicle ownership for a vehicle that requires a certificate of title by law.
The customer may present a Bill of Sale - State Form 44237 or similar document as proof of vehicle ownership only in the following circumstances:
- A person is voluntarily applying for a certificate of title for a vehicle that is not required to be titled under Indiana law.
- The prior owner was not required to obtain a certificate of title.
- For vehicles purchased with a bill of sale from an out of state seller, the purchaser must contact the motor vehicle agency in the state where they purchased the vehicle to determine if the vehicle was required to be titled.
- A sheriff’s bill of sale.
- A utility trailer purchased prior to January 1, 1990.
- A pop-up trailer purchased prior to July 1, 2016.
- An off-road vehicle purchased or otherwise acquired prior to Jan. 1, 2010.
- An abandoned vehicle that has been sold at auction by a city, town or county.
- The vehicle was purchased from the federal government. Ownership must be transferred using Standard Form 97 – The United States Government Certificate to Obtain Title to a Vehicle.
What Information is Required for a Bill of Sale to be Acceptable?
When using a bill of sale to transfer ownership, the bill of sale must contain:
- The purchaser's name
- Vehicle description, including the year, make, and model of the vehicle
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
The VIN is required if the bill of sale is being used as the primary ownership document, but is not required if the bill of sale is being used as a supporting document for missing information on the certificate of title.
- Seller’s signature
- Seller's address
The bill of sale is not required to be notarized or signed under penalties for perjury. A bill of sale application must include a Physical Inspection of a Vehicle or Watercraft - State Form 39530.
Using a Bill of Sale as a Supporting Document
A bill of sale may be used to determine the date of sale and/or purchase price of a vehicle in situations where the vehicle’s certificate of title does not contain this information. Please note, a bill of sale can’t be used to override information that has been written on the certificate of title. For example, if a certificate of title contains a date of sale or a purchase price that differs from the information on the bill of sale, then the information from the certificate of title must be used.
The Affidavit for Certificate of Title Correction – State Form 55582 may be used to correct information that was written on a certificate of title in error.