• Buying Guides

Florida Car Title Transfer - How To

By Zac Estrada | August 22, 2022

In Florida, you must complete a state car title transfer if you want to buy, sell, or give away a vehicle. While a valid driver's license proves legal privilege to drive on public roads, the certificate of title proves that a vehicle belongs to you. Therefore, knowing how to follow the regulations regarding Florida title transfers ensures a smooth transition of your car title to the car's new owner.

Here’s a rundown of the following documents and the process to get a title transfer in the state of Florida.

How to Transfer an Electronic Title

When you sell a vehicle for which you hold an electronic title, you can arrange for an electronic transfer of ownership if the buyer agrees. First, you and the buyer complete and sign a secure reassignment document at the tax collector's office. The odometer disclosure states the mileage reading at the time of the transaction. Then, print a paper title to transfer ownership if the buyer does not agree to an electronic transfer.

Paper Car Title Transfer for Private Buyers

When buying a vehicle from a private seller with a paper title, you need several items to complete the car title transfer. First, get a bill of sale from the seller as proof of ownership. Next, the seller must complete the transfer section of the paper title and give it to you. And if there are liens, get a copy of the lien satisfaction to prove the loan terms have been met.

Get an Application for Certificate of Title With/Without Registration (Form HSMV 82040) and fill it out in your name. Fill out the Florida Insurance Affidavit (Form HSMV 83330) and have proof of Florida insurance, such as your auto policy or insurance card.

As of 2022, the title transfer fees set by Florida statutes are $75.75 for an electronic title or a $2.50 additional fee for a paper title. If you place a lien on the vehicle, it's another $2. License plate and vehicle registration fees depend on the vehicle's weight.

An initial $225 fee for motor vehicle registration applies to private cars, motorhomes, and trucks weighing less than 5,000 pounds. Your vehicle may qualify for certain exemptions. You will also need to pay the sales tax on your car when paying your title and registration fees. Florida assesses a 6% sales tax on both new and used vehicles sold in the state at the time of transfer.

Consider, though, that if you need a duplicate title if the previous one was lost or stolen, it will cost $77.25, assuming the car was previously titled in Florida. For vehicles with out-of-state registrations, the cost of a duplicate title is $85.25.

To ensure a smooth transaction, ask the seller to go with you to the local tax collector's office to complete the vehicle title transfer. Going in person lets you access your license plate decal (proof of registration) immediately. If you are not in Florida, mail your forms and title fees to your county tax collector.

Transfer of Title by Sellers

If you're selling your vehicle, give your buyer an original bill of sale that includes the vehicle identification number (VIN), vehicle description, date of sale, and purchase price. It's wise to have it notarized in Florida, too. And for extra security, keep a copy. If possible, go with the buyer to the county tax collector's office to help ensure a successful transfer and that there are no lingering issues.

Whether you go or not, submit a Notice of Sale or Bill of Sale for a Motor Vehicle, Mobile Home, Off-Highway Vehicle, or Vessel (Form HSMV 82050) to the Florida DMV. This document lets the state know the vehicle is not in your name. In addition, while the DHSMV is processing the state title transfer, this notice protects you if the new owner violates any state laws.

How New Florida Residents Transfer Title

Are you a new Florida resident, or are you planning a move to the state? First, you must obtain a new vehicle title, initial registration, and a Florida license plate. Next, complete the application for the title Form HSMV 82040. In addition, you need the Florida Insurance Affidavit, Form HSMV 83330, with proof of Florida insurance. Also, submit a VIN verification, which you can complete at the local Florida Department of Highway Safety or FLHSMV office. As an alternative, submit Form HSMV 82042, Vehicle Identification Number, and odometer verification.

Your Florida title transfer fees are $79.25 for an out-of-state title transfer fee for an electronic title, $2 to record a lien, and $225 for a new-to-Florida vehicle fee, as of 2029. For a paper title, the charge is $2.50 more. Registration and license plate fees depend on your vehicle's weight and the plate you choose. Deliver your documents and fees in person or by mail to your county tax collector's office. If you request a paper title, expect to receive it within five business days after submitting your title application.

Completing a Florida car title transfer is fast and efficient when you understand it. First, make a checklist of what you need and complete the title application and forms carefully before submitting them. Then, ask questions, follow the rules, and legally get on the road.

When is a Florida Car Title Transfer Required?

Several situations require a transfer of title under Florida law. For example, when you buy a car or an RV from a dealer, the dealership holds the original title or the manufacturer's certificate of origin for new vehicles. It also handles the paperwork to deliver the title to you.

But when buying from a private seller, you handle the car title transfer. However, gifting, donating, or inheriting a vehicle requires transferring the title to the new owner. If you are a lienholder, you must complete the car title transfer process after releasing the lien. A name change triggers a transfer of title because you need a title certificate in the new owner's name.

Agencies Authorized to Transfer Florida Titles

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is responsible for issuing title certificates. County tax collector offices act as DHSMV agents to provide the services you need to transfer titles.

For example, for an additional fee, the Alachua County Tax Collector issues a certificate of title when the transaction occurs, or you can have the DHSMV return the paper title to your address within four weeks, as of 2021. Additionally, under Florida law, you can hold an electronic title and request a paper title if needed.

Benefits of Florida's Electronic Lien and Title Program

Florida's Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) program offer several pluses. Choosing an electronic title lowers costs and reduces the risk of title loss, theft, and fraud. The ELT program enables state agencies to provide better customer service and allows an expedited notification of lien satisfactions. If you decide to trade your vehicle to a Florida dealer, the title stays in its electronic form, and the dealer takes care of the paperwork.

When transferring the vehicle title, ask to place the title in electronic status. With an electronic title requested to become a paper title, it's converted to paper for a $2.50 service fee and mailed to you. To get a printed title, go to www.GoRenew.com.

And some tax collection offices provide Fast Title service for $10, where the physical location prints a copy of the title if you already have an electronic one.