In the State of Montana, a Bill of Sale Form is not necessary for most transactions of vehicles. But it’s highly recommended to complete a Bill of Sale Form in order to protect both the buyer and the seller. The Bill of Sale provides a legal record of the transaction acting as a proof of purchase and proof of a release of liability.
A Bill of Sale is required in Montana if the vehicle’s title is missing. You will need to submit the Bill of Sale along with your application for a duplicate title.
A vehicle can be sold in Montana only through a licensed dealer or by the person whose name is on the Certificate of title. When a person tries to sell a vehicle that he or she doesn’t legally own (i.e., he or she is not listed on the title), it’s called curbstoning and it’s illegal. Buying from an illegal dealer will put you at great risk.
Montana Bill of Sale Form
If the official form is not suitable for you, you may also use a Generic Montana Bill of Sale Form.
Tips for Vehicle Transactions in Montana
Tips for filling out the title to sign it over to the buyer:
- All fields must be completed in blue or black ink only.
- White-out or attempts to erase or scratch out entries void the title.
- The buyer’s name and address must be written on the title, per Montana law.
- Sellers need to complete the odometer (mileage) disclosure. The mileage must be disclosed on any vehicle newer than nine years. (The year is calculated by subtracting the model year of the vehicle from the current year.)
- All owners must sign the title in front of a notary public. Owners can have their signatures notarized without the buyer’s presence.
- The buyer must sign the title. The person who signs must be the buyer written on the title.
A lien can occur when the owner of a vehicle took out a loan to buy the vehicle and hasn’t fully repaid the bank, lending institution, or private party who loaned the money. Liens can also be placed on a vehicle when the owner fails to pay child support or for other reasons.
Particularly it’s critical to have the security interest/lien resolved before purchasing the vehicle because the lien holder could have a legal claim to your vehicle if the previous owner doesn’t pay the loan.
Specifically the names and addresses of any security interests/liens are listed on the front of the title. They are listed in the section labeled “This vehicle/vessel is subject to the following security interest” or a similar heading on out-of-state titles.
More about Buying or Selling a Vehicle in Montana
If you are buying a used vehicle, getting a history report is a good idea. The history report lists accidents and major repairs on a specific car or truck. Of course you may even be able to convince the seller to provide the vehicle history as a courtesy. Most research databases charge a small fee, but diligent research before making a purchase on the second most expensive consumer item is well worth the price. This research could save you at least hundreds of dollars in the future.
In order to legally sell a vehicle, you must be the owner listed on the Certificate of Title. Every owner listed on the title must sign over the title in front of a notary public.
It is illegal for you to sell a vehicle that is not licensed and registered in your name unless you have a dealer’s license.
More tips about Selling a Vehicle in Montana
It is illegal for you to display or park a for-sale vehicle on property that you do not have a legal interest in, unless written permission from the property owner is displayed in the vehicle.
Take your license plates off the vehicle before giving it to the buyer. The plates belong to you, not the vehicle. Don’t let the buyer drive the vehicle home with the promise that they will return the plates. If you do not remove the plates, you may be liable for any parking or traffic violations that happen after the sale.
You can ask to transfer the plates to another vehicle you own; contact your County Treasurer’s office for more information. On a classic car or for personalized plates, if you want to transfer the plates to the buyer you must complete form MV100 Statement of Fact to relinquish all rights to the plates. The registration fees alone will not transfer the plates to the buyer.
Because the vehicle will not have license plates and the buyer will need plates to legally drive the vehicle, the best case scenario is for you to go to the County Treasurer’s office with the title and your buyer. You can then sign off in front of the clerk as owner/seller. Then the buyer can finish the transaction, pay the fees, and get a new set of license plates. You remove your plates from the vehicle and the formal transfer of ownership is complete.
Keeping a Written Record of the Vehicle Sale
You may download a PDF of a Seller’s Checklist and Buyer’s Acknowledgement Form as a helpful resource.
To sell your vehicle, you must have the title in your possession. If you don’t have the title, you or the owner of record will have to apply for a replacement title from the state where the vehicle was last titled.
It is your responsibility to be an informed and educated consumer. Buying a vehicle is a big decision. Know about the vehicle you want to buy and take your time when making a decision. Make sure you are informed and comfortable with your decision before you approach a dealer or private seller.
Read everything thoroughly when signing paperwork and ask questions if you don’t understand all of it. Buy within your means. When budgeting for a vehicle, consider the costs of maintenance and repairs.
Since you won’t have license plates yet, you can obtain a 40-day temporary registration permit from the dealer or from a Montana County Treasurer’s office.
Checking Vehicle History in Montana
If you are buying a used vehicle, getting a history report – which lists accidents and major repairs on a specific car or truck – is a good idea. You may even be able to convince the seller to provide the vehicle history as a courtesy. Most research databases charge a small fee, but diligent research before making a purchase on the second most expensive consumer item is well worth the price when it could save you hundreds of dollars in the future.
The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) is a good source as an independent database. Most states report to NMVTIS, which is designed to protect customers from fraud and unsafe vehicles. An NMVTIS vehicle history report provides data on five key indicators associated with prevention of auto fraud and theft: current state of title and last title date; brand history (e.g., junk, flood, hail, etc.); odometer reading; total loss history; and, salvage history. Vehicle History
Compare the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the title with the VIN on the vehicle. They must match.
The VIN is usually located in two places: on the inside edge of the driver’s door, and where the dashboard meets the windshield on the driver’s side.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VINCheck is a free service provided to the public to assist in determining if a vehicle has been reported as stolen, but not recovered, or has been reported as a salvage vehicle by cooperating NICB members. A VIN is required to perform a search.
This site provides automobile history reports and information about VINs, deterring fraud and theft, and more.
Buying Insurance in Montana
When you’re ready to buy a vehicle, contact an insurance agent about purchasing motor vehicle liability insurance. Under state law, your vehicle must be insured.
When buying a used vehicle, the license plates must be removed by the seller. So you must buy new license plates when you title and register your vehicle at the County Treasurer’s office in your county of residence.
For this purpose keep documentation of the sale with the seller’s name and address as your record of the sale. A record of the sale can be either a photocopy of the reassigned title. Also can be a form or document that includes the year, make, VIN, name, address, driver license number, and signature of the person to whom the vehicle is sold and the purchase price and date of sale of the vehicle. For your convenience, you can use form MV24 Bill of Sale.
As the buyer, you have 40 days from the sale date to transfer the ownership of the vehicle to you. This is done by applying for the title to and registering the vehicle at the County Treasurer’s office in your county of residence. A late fee of $10 will be charged if you wait longer than 40 days.
Odometer Disclosure Statement in Montana
Important! Federal and state law requires the current owner to state the mileage (odometer reading) upon transfer of ownership. Failure to do so, or providing a false statement, may result in fines and/or imprisonment!
Now the law requires that you complete an Odometer Disclosure Statement form when you transfer a vehicle that is a model year 2011 or newer, below 16,000 pounds, and that is self-propelled.
Watch for any odometer change warning decals. Federal law requires that a warning decal be placed on the driver’s door opening on the vehicle body, between the upper and lower hinge area, reflecting any odometer changes that have taken place in the past.
Note the odometer declaration (mileage) on the title and compare it to the vehicle’s odometer. Examine the title closely if the mileage notation seems obscured or is not easy to read.
Compare the mileage on the odometer with the mileage on the vehicle’s maintenance or inspection records. Search for oil change and maintenance stickers on windows or door frames, in the glove box, or under the hood.
Examine the tires. If the odometer on the car shows 20,000 miles or less, the vehicle usually should have the original tires.
How to complete the Montana Bill of Sale Form
This official Montana Bill of Sale Form is composed of four sections. Below you’ll discover how to complete this form:
In Section 1 complete first the sale price of the vehicle. We used for this example a price of $9,500.00. So write first Nine Thousand Five Hundred and 00/100 and then again the price like this: 9,500.00. After that, complete the full name of the buyer or the purchaser. The buyer’s name must be PRINTED. This means to use only Capital Letters to write BUYER’S NAME. Following complete an ID number of any of the following: DL/FEIN/Tribal ID/Corp ID. Where DL means Driver License No., FEIN means Federal Employee Identification No., Tribal ID means Tribal Identification Card No. or Corp ID means Corporate Identification No.. Then complete buyer’s full address.
Next complete the vehicle information. Here you need to complete the Year, Make, Model, Style (Body type), VIN or Vehicle Identification Number and License plate number. Lastly you need to check if it’s a salvage vehicle, then if it’s sold for parts only and if the Title is available:
In the second section the seller will complete first the odometer statement. So first you need to check if the odometer has five or six digits. Then complete the odometer reading with no tenths and the reading date. Only if it’s the case you may check if the odometer is in excess of its mechanical limits or the reading is not the actual mileage.
Following the seller needs to sign and to enter the signing date. Lastly complete again the full printed name of the buyer:
The third section is a certification of the vehicle seller with seller information. First complete seller’s signature and signing date. Then complete the full name of the seller. The name must be PRINTED. So use only Capital Letters to write SELLER’S NAME. Following complete seller’s full address and seller’s ID number. The ID number is any of the following: DL/FEIN/Tribal ID/Corp ID. Where DL means Driver License No., FEIN means Federal Employee Identification No., Tribal ID means Tribal Identification Card No. or Corp ID means Corporate Identification No..
Finally complete the seller’s full address:
The last fourth section is reserved for Notary use only and mustn’t be completed:
Please note that you can fill out this Bill of Sale form by hand. However don’t forget to use a pen and not a pencil. If you are filling out this form on your device (phone, tablet, computer) this form is a fillable PDF that works best with Adobe Acrobat Reader.
View more about the Montana Motor Vehicle Division
For more information go to Montana Department of Justice – Motor Vehicle Division.
The mission of the Montana Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is to identify and promote efficient, cost-effective programs that benefit the interests, safety, and well-being of Montana citizens through licensing, registering, and regulating the motoring activities of the public.
The Montana MVD continuously strives for excellence in customer service. Streamlining the way it does business has allowed Montana MVD to improve its efficiency and make its services more convenient for customers.
The Motor Vehicle Division is comprised of four bureaus: The Driver License Bureau, Operations and Customer Support Bureau, Records and Driver Control Bureau, and the Title and Registration Bureau.