Titles

Every motor vehicle, trailer, semi trailer, pole trailer, and recreational vehicle when driven or moved upon a highway must be titled and registered. The following information applies to all of the above types of vehicles (i.e. trailers, motorboats, motorcycles etc.)

A title to a vehicle is the legal document showing ownership. If the vehicle has more than one owner, and the names are joined by "AND", both owners must sign the title documents for a sale or transfer to be legal. If "OR" or "AND/OR" appears between the owner's name, either owner can sign the title document as the seller or purchaser of the vehicle.

Do not buy a vehicle from an individual unless the seller has the title to the vehicle in their name and can give it to you at the time of sale. Always be sure the vehicle identification number (VIN) on a title matches the vehicle identification number on the vehicle. The vehicle odometer reading must not be less than the odometer reading on the face of the title.

Titling a New Vehicle

Certificate of Origin

If you purchase a new vehicle, one that has never been titled in any state, the dealer must provide you with a manufacturer's certificate or statement of origin. This document comes from the manufacturer and is provided to the dealer. When the vehicle is sold the dealer completes the reassignment of this document, which is what you will need to title your new vehicle.

Whether you purchase the vehicle from a West Virginia dealer or an out-of-state dealer this document is required in order to title the new vehicle.

New Vehicle Purchases

In West Virginia the dealer is required to collect and remit all of the taxes and fees along with the paperwork to the division, regardless of whether there is a lien or not.

If the vehicle is purchased from an out-of-state dealer, the application must be accompanied by an invoice reflecting the purchase price.

West Virginia dealers can certify the price by using the certification on the bottom of the Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle (DMV-1-TR)if this is not completed, a dealer invoice is required.

Fees required to title a new vehicle include a $10 title fee, 5% titling sales tax on vehicles with a purchase price over $500 or $25 on vehicles with a purchace price under $500, $5 lien fee (if applicable), and the registration fee and/or registration transfer fee.

If a trade-in is involved, the 5% titling sales tax would be based on the purchase price minus the trade-in (trade-in must be titled in West Virginia and in the applicant's name to receive credit, REBATES are taxable).

Most states do not collect taxes for non-resident purchasers.  West Virginia does not charge non-residents the 5% tax since the vehicle is not being titled in WV.  However, there are some states that do collect taxes on vehicle purchases. You do not get credit for taxes paid to another state.

Used Vehicle Purchases

If the vehicle purchased is used, you must have the previous owner's title properly reassigned to you whether it is a West Virginia title or an out-of-state title. Both the seller and the buyer must sign the back of the West Virginia title. If it's an out-of-state title the previous owner must sign the title and the name and address of the new owner should appear on the title. The new owner would then submit the out-of-state title along with the Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle (DMV-1-TR).

If the vehicle is less than ten years old the seller must also complete the odometer disclosure on the title that has to be acknowledged by the purchaser.

Fees required to title a used vehicle include a $10 title fee, 5% titling sales tax on vehicles with a purchase price over $500 or $25 on vehicles with a purchace price under $500, $5 lien fee (if applicable), and the registration fee and/or registration transfer fee.

Most states do not collect taxes for non-resident purchasers.  West Virginia does not charge non-residents the 5% tax since the vehicle is not being titled in WV.  However, there are some states that do collect taxes on vehicle purchases. You do not get credit for taxes paid to another state.

If the vehicle is purchased from an individual and the purchase price is below 50% of the current NADA Clean Loan Book value, a notarized bill of sale must accompany the application for title, or the tax will be assessed on the NADA Clean Loan Book value.

If the vehicle is purchased from an individual and the purchase price is above 50%, the tax will be assessed on that price. Any vehicle not purchased from a registered dealer which is two years old or less will be taxed on the current NADA Clean Loan Book value despite the purchase price, a notarized bill of sale will not be accepted.

Titles being submitted listing a purchase price, whether the price has been altered or not, and accompanied by a bill of sale showing another price will not be accepted. The original owner must apply for a duplicate title and begin the process over. If unable to obtain a duplicate title, tax will be assessed on the book value regardless of what price is reflected on the title or bill of sale.

All notorized bill of sales or DMV form Bill of Sale (DMV-7-TR) must be accompanied by a copy of both the buyer and seller's drivers license.

For more information on titles, you may also go to the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System's (NMVTIS) website at: http://www.vehiclehistory.gov/

Gift Transactions

Any time there is a transfer of ownership for no consideration, monetary or otherwise, the seller must complete a Affidavit of Transfer of Ownership Without Consideration (DMV-5-TR). This affidavit must also be signed by the purchaser and accompany the certificate of title. This affidavit must be used regardless of the relationship or state in which the vehicle is titled. Without the affidavit, the seller will pay tax on the book value, no matter what the relationship. The affidavit must be completed in its entirety. Incomplete affidavits will be returned. Anyone not having a telephone must provide a number they can be reached at. Providing incorrect, false or fraudulent information about the consideration exchanged, subjects the applicant as well as the seller to the revocation, suspension and/or cancellation of any and all driver's licenses, registration plates, card and permits issued in their name.

Any title application in which a purchase price is listed on the title and an Affidavit of Transfer of Ownership Without Consideration is attached will not be accepted as we have conflicting statements.

Our Motor Vehicle Code allows the division to refuse the issuance of any title and registration which contains false or fraudulent statements.

The original owner will have to apply for a duplicate title and make a new assignment reflecting the correct disclosure as to whether the vehicle was sold or is a gift. If the owner will get a duplicate title, the new owner will pay sales tax on the price listed on the title.

If the purchase price has been altered and the division cannont determine what the purchase price is, the new owner will have to pay tax on the book value of the vehicle.

Any title being submitted with an Affidavit of Transfer of Ownership Without Consideration (DMV-5-TR) attached and a lien (individual or financial institution) is being recorded on the new owner's title will not be exempt from sales tax. The sales tax will be assessed on five percent of the lien amount. An applicant cannot use the Affidavit of Transfer of Ownership Without Consideration when a lien is being recorded on the new owner's title. Sales tax will be assessed regardless of the relationship.

Any title being submitted which reflects an individual as the lien holder must be accompanied by a copy of the loan agreement or contract. This applies only to individual lien holders, not financial institutions.

Trade In

Previously trade-in credit was allowed between husband/wife, or parent/child without the title having to be changed into the other entities name that was buying the new vehicle. The vehicle has to be in the same name as the new vehicle being titled in order to receive trade-in credit for tax purposes.

If the original owner is giving their vehicle to another entity without consideration, monetary or otherwise, the original owner of the vehicle will have to assign the title over to the new owner. Both the original owner and the entity receiving the vehicle will have to complete an Affidavit of Transfer of Ownership Without Consideration (DMV-5-TR) which will have to be submitted with the title. The new owner can then apply for title, if the vehicle is a gift, then the fee to transfer the title into their name will be $10.

Although the transaction is a gift, the original owner's plates cannot be used by the new owner. They must either have a valid plate in their name to transfer or purchase a new plate. Husband/wife can use each other's plates.

If the vehicle being gifted to someone has a lien, the new owner will pay 5% sales tax on the loan balance prior to receiving a clear title for trade-in purposes. The title has to be in the same name as the vehicle being purchased in order to receive trade-in credit (i.e. brother gives his brother a vehicle, but the vehicle has a lien on it, the balance of the lien is $5,000.00). In order to get the title the dealer must pay the lien off. Once the dealer receives the title the original owner (brother) would then have to sign the title over to the new owner (brother). The brother who is buying a new vehicle must surrender the title and pay sales tax on 5%of the lien (5% of $5,000.00 = $250.00 sales tax) in order to get trade-in credit on the new vehicle being titled.

If the vehicle is titled in two names and the vehicle being purchased is going to only be in one of the previous owner's names, the title doesn't have to be transferred into only the new owner's name to receive trade-in credit.

Titles and Liens

Vehicles without liens may be titled and registered by mail or in person at one of the DMV Regional Offices; or at one of the privately-owned license services located in most communities.

If a title has a lien, and the final payment is made, the lien holder will send the title to the vehicle owner with the lien released.  It is recommended at that time that the vehicle owner apply for a clear title, as the division is not notified when the lien is released and the lien remains on file with the division unless such application is made.

If the title is lost and a lien is still on record with DMV, a lien release by the original lien holder would be required before a clear duplicate title can be issued. This could cause a delay in the sale of a vehicle. A copy of the vehicle owner's driver license must accompany any Affidavit of Duplicate Title for a Vehicle or Watercraft (DMV-4-TR) , and the fee of $10.


Lost/Duplicate Titles

If the title is lost and the vehicle has never had a lien, the vehicle owner must complete an Affidavit of Duplicate Title for a Vehicle or Watercraft (DMV-4-TR), supply a copy of their driver's license, the registration card, if available, and the title fee of $10 to get a duplicate title issued.

Odometer Statement

When a motor vehicle is sold or transferred, the odometer reading must be recorded in the assignment section of the title by the seller. If the title does not include this section for this purpose, the seller may record the mileage on an odometer statement on a form available from DMV. If an odometer reading is not accurate, the seller must inform the buyer, and give a fair estimate of the actual mileage of the vehicle.

An odometer disclosure is ALWAYS required unless: 

  • The vehicle is ten (10) or more model years old
  • The vehicle is non-motorized
  • The vehicle has a registered gross weight or gross vehicle weight rating of more than 16,000 pounds

Use the following formula to determine if the vehicle is ten or more years old:
The current calendar year minus ten equals the most recent exempt model year.

Example: 2010 - 10 = 2000. Therefore, 2000 and older vehicles are exempt.

Recording a vehicle's mileage and ensuring the accuracy of such recordings is part of DMV's efforts to protect consumers. Recording mileage history helps legal authorities to detect and prove cases of odometer tampering, or the illegal practice of rolling back a vehicle's mileage. When this occurs, the true condition of the vehicle is misrepresented and the buyer is deceived.

When A Registrant Dies

After the death of a vehicle owner, a survivor should remove the name of the deceased registrant from the vehicle's title. This is necessary for insurance and tax purposes and will lessen the burden for legal heirs after the death of the survivor.

To transfer the title of a jointly-owned vehicle (the word "OR" appears between the two names) into the survivor's name, the survivor signs the back of the title as the seller. The survivor also completes the remainder of the title and signs as the purchaser and completes the bottom of the title as the purchaser.

If the title is in the deceased owner's name only, the executor, administrator or legal heir, if applicable needs to sign the title on behalf of the seller. If the title is in joint ownership with the brand "and" appearing between the names, two signatures are required and the surviving spouse signs and then one of the above entities would have to sign on behalf of the deceased owner. If the title is in joint ownership with the brand "or" appearing between the names, the title can be transferred with just the surviving owner's signature. Don't need any other signatures.

If no will or administrator exists, the legal heir(s) can complete a Legal Heir Affidavit (DMV-185-TR), which will allow the heir to sign on behalf of the deceased owner in order to transfer the title to the vehicle.

In both instances, the survivor should submit the properly assigned title, the odometer disclosure information, insurance information and the current registration card for the vehicle being titled. If a will exists, a certified copy of the court appointment documents for the executor or administrator must be attached to the title allowing them to sign for the deceased owner, the division will not accept a copy of the will in lieu of the court appointment.

There are no fees for the transfer of title if the survivor is the legal heir and the court appointment papers are attached.

 

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