In the Commonwealth of Virginia for a transaction between private individuals, the minimum Motor Vehicle Sales and Use Tax is calculated based on the trade-in value given in the NADA Official Used Car Guide. You must present either an Affidavit for Procurement of Title (SUT-1A) if the vehicle is 5 years old or newer (based on the model year).
Or use a Bill of Sale Form if the vehicle is more than 5 years old. (The sale price placed on a title certificate by the seller is the equivalent of a Bill of Sale.) A Bill of Sale must be signed by both the seller and the buyer and should include the full vehicle description, vehicle identification number and date of sale.
Effective July 1, 2015, unless exempted under Va. Code § 58.1-2402, Virginia levies a 4.10% Motor Vehicle Sales and Use (SUT) Tax based on the vehicle’s gross sales price or $75, whichever is greater. An additional $64 fee applies to electric vehicles, excluding mopeds.
The Motor Vehicle Sales and Use tax is collected at the time of titling whenever a vehicle is sold and/or ownership of the motor vehicle changes.
Selling/Donating A Vehicle:
1. Sign your vehicle title over to the buyer/recipient. On the front of the title in Section A, sign your name, provide the name and address of the buyer/recipient and the odometer reading of the vehicle. If you are selling the vehicle, complete “Sales Price” which is also in Section A. If you are donating the vehicle, write “charitable gift” as the sale price on the title.
2. Hand over the title to the buyer / recipient. Give the title to the buyer/recipient and ensure the buyer/recipient completes the title with name, address and signature.
3. Remove your license plates from the vehicle. If you purchase a replacement vehicle, you may transfer your old plates to the replacement vehicle. If the plates are not transferred to another vehicle, you may return them to any DMV customer service center for recycling or destroy and dispose of them yourself. NOTE: If you have a full six months or more remaining in your vehicle registration period, you may qualify for a refund by returning the plates to DMV. Complete an Application for Vehicle Registration Refund Form (FMS-210) and mail it with the license plates to the address shown on the form. Be sure to contact Virginia DMV stating the plates are inactive. You may also request a refund by returning the completed FMS-210 and plates to a Customer Service Center or Virginia DMV Select.
4. Notify Virginia DMV that you have sold, traded or donated the vehicle.
You must notify Virginia DMV that you have sold, traded or donated your vehicle. This may be accomplished by going online, visiting a customer service center or by phone. Notify the insurance company that you sold, traded or donated the vehicle.
Insurance companies notify Virginia DMV whenever they cancel, add or write new coverage for a motor vehicle. Therefore, if your insurance company cancels liability coverage on your vehicle because you no longer own it and you don’t notify DMV, the records will show that the vehicle is registered in your name but is uninsured. Since it is unlawful to have an uninsured registered vehicle, DMV may suspend your driver’s license and vehicle registration privileges!
You must notify the insurance company when you have purchased or received a vehicle as a gift. If you sold another vehicle, you may transfer insurance coverage to the new vehicle by providing the required information to the insurance company. Be sure to obtain liability insurance for the vehicle before you register it with DMV and transfer the old plates or purchase new plates for it.
Ensure the vehicle is properly titled:
If you are buying a new vehicle from a dealer, the dealer may process the proper title work and submit paperwork to DMV for processing. If you are buying a vehicle from an individual or the dealer is not handling the title work, ensure that Section A of the title has been completed, including the signature of the owner.
If you receive a vehicle as a gift or donation, ensure that Section A of the title has been completed, including the signature of the owner, and that “gift” appears as the sale price on the title. If the vehicle was donated or sold by a charitable organization, ensure the organization has provided a statement on the official letterhead stationery of the charity, certifying that the charity is registered with the Internal Revenue Service § 501(c)(3) as a non-profit organization, and has not registered the vehicle. Visit your local DMV to title the vehicle.
Register the Vehicle:
Once your vehicle is titled, you may register your vehicle with DMV and pay the appropriate registration fees. You may either purchase new license plates or apply to transfer existing plates from another of your vehicles to the new vehicle and pay the transfer fee.
Ensure the vehicle has a valid safety inspection sticker!
Before operating a vehicle in Virginia, it must pass an annual safety inspection and display a valid safety inspection sticker. Trailers with separate braking systems must also be inspected.
The locality in which you live may require you to register the vehicle. Contact your locality to find information for your local Commissioner of the Revenue, Treasurer or Director of Finance, in order to pay any required vehicle registration fees to your city or county.
For more information go to Commonwealth of Virginia – Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) serves a customer base of approximately 6.2 million licensed drivers and ID card holders with over 7.8 million registered vehicles. DMV has more daily face-to-face contact with Virginia’s citizens than any other state agency. DMV also serves a wide array of businesses, including dealers, fuels tax customers, rental companies, driving schools, other state agencies, local governments and non-profit organizations.
Through its headquarters in Richmond, DMV operates 75 customer service centers, five mobile customer service centers, 57 DMV Selects, 13 permanent motor carrier service centers (weigh stations), 12 mobile weigh crews, three telephone call centers, automated telephone service, two DMV Connect teams, two mobile apps, and a website that offers more than 30 transactions.
DMV’s responsibilities include vehicle titling and registration, driver licensing and maintenance of driver and vehicle records. The agency also collects Virginia’s fuel tax, monitors the state’s trucking industry and serves as Virginia’s Highway Safety Office.
In addition, the agency effectively enforces motoring and transportation-related tax laws, and efficiently collects and distributes transportation-related revenues.