Michigan bills of sale are forms used to document the sale of vehicles, boats, firearms, or other personal items in the state of Michigan. While bills of sale are not legally required for proof of purchase in Michigan, it’s still highly recommended you create one when selling high value items (such as a car) to protect yourself in the event of a legal dispute. In some cases, your Michigan bill of sale will need to be notarized before it is signed by the buyer and seller and made official.
Table of Contents
- Michigan Bill of Sale Requirements
- Michigan Vehicle Bill of Sale
- Michigan Boat Bill of Sale
- Michigan Gun Bill of Sale
1. Michigan Bill of Sale Requirements
In Michigan, vehicle and vessel registrations are processed by the Secretary of State (SOS) office, and they do not legally require registrants to submit a bill of sale. However, it is always a good idea for the seller to provide the buyer with a bill of sale, since it can be used as a record of the purchase transaction, and it is good to have such information in your personal records.
2. Michigan Vehicle Bill of Sale
Vehicle bills of sale in Michigan do not require notarization. However, whether your document is hand-drafted or pre-printed, it should contain the following criteria:
- The names, contact information, and signatures of the buyer and the seller
- Warranty information (if applicable)
- The vehicle identification number or VIN
- The make, model, and year
- The purchase price
- The sale date
- Lien information (if applicable)
- The county where the transaction took place
SOS documents, including bills of sale, are not prepared in multiple languages, though extensive interpreter services are available for all those that need them in order to complete the registration and titling processes.
Number of Copies
You may make a copy of your bill of sale for each party, though it is not necessary to file the original with the state (unless it is replacing the registration or title of a vessel).
After Purchasing a Vehicle
In addition to drafting and signing your bill of sale, there are many other documents to complete and submit in order to register a vehicle in Michigan.
- The dealer should complete the registration and titling process for you. However, to prove ownership, you will need to keep copies of all documents until your registration, title, and plates arrive in the mail.
- Update the title with the correct odometer reading, and then add the sale date and price. Sign the title and hand it over to the buyer.
- Register your vehicle within 15 days of purchase. You can drive plateless for three whole days to register the vehicle and use the assigned title to prove ownership if stopped by law enforcement.
- You will register and title the vehicle simultaneously. It is easier to arrive at the SOS office with the seller to do the paperwork. You must appear in person, but if that is physically impossible, you can complete an Appointment of Agent/Power of Attorney, or Form TR-128, and have your proxy bring along a photocopy of your driver’s license or state ID card.
- Visit your local SOS office with your signed-over title with the accurate odometer reading, VIN number, your signature and the seller’s signature, along with a completed Application for Michigan Vehicle Title, or Form TR-11L, proof of insurance, and your driver’s license.
- Pay your registration fees and other applicable fees. Registration fees are based on whether the vehicle is model year 1984 or newer. If so, fees are based on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the vehicle. Older vehicles’ registration fees are based on their weight. Other fees include a license plate fee of $5 and a use tax of 6% of the purchase price. If you were sold or gifted a vehicle by an immediate family member, you are exempt from all taxes.
- You may purchase 30 or 60-day temporary registration permits if you only plan to drive the vehicle for a short period of time. There is a $10 service fee and a percentage of what would be the annual registration charge, calculated at the discretion of the SOS.
- You can transfer your existing plates to a newly-purchased vehicle by visiting the SOS with your current registration and verifying that it is in the state’s files under your name. There is a transfer fee of $8.
- If you have just moved to Michigan, and would like to register your vehicle in the state, follow the steps outlined above and bring your out-of-state registration to your local SOS to prove ownership. Military personnel living in the state are offered no exceptions and will also need to obtain a Michigan registration and title on all vehicles. Out-of-state military members that live in Michigan may complete their vehicle registration process by mail. You will need to indicate your out-of-state address by submitting a Special Mailing of Title Request, or Form TR-114, with your application.
- You can use the ExpressSOS online to replace your registration for free if it is missing or damaged.
3. Michigan Boat Bill of Sale
Though not a requirement for all vessel sales, a boat bill of sale works as a way to prove ownership if a vessel’s title or registration is missing and destroyed. A form for non-titled watercraft is provided on the SOS website. All bills of sale should contain:
- The year, make, model
- The serial number
- The hull identification number or HIN
- The MC Registration number (if available)
- The year of last decal
- The date of sale
- The purchase price
- The buyer’s and seller’s names, contact information, and signatures
In Michigan, penalty of perjury statements are not listed on SOS documents, including those that deal with the sale and registration of vehicles and vessels. However, in accordance with MCL Sec. 423 (1), “Any person authorized by a statute of this state to take an oath, or any person of whom an oath is required by law, who willfully swears falsely in regard to any matter or thing respecting which the oath is authorized or required is guilty of perjury, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years.”
It goes on to state that, “(this) applies to a person who willfully makes a false declaration in a record that is signed by the person and given under penalty of perjury,” and defines a “record” as a “information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.”
After Purchasing a Vessel
- Not all vessels require a title in Michigan. If your vessel does not have a title, you will only have to complete the back of the registration to transfer ownership. If there is no registration card, you may complete a bill of a sale (see above for requirements). In extreme cases, a court order or a surety bond can be used to prove ownership.
- Alternatively, you may acquire a duplicate title or registration from the SOS office or via the ExpressSOS option online.
- If your vessel is 16 feet or shorter, propelled by paddles or oars, not used for rental or commercial purposes, or registered in another state and only being temporarily used in Michigan, it will not require registration. Vessels under 20 feet do not require a title, unless they contain a permanently affixed motor.
- Visit the local SOS office with a completed Application for Michigan Watercraft Title, or Form WR-11L, the current registration, or a bill of sale (Form TR-207), if there is no registration, and the signed-over title. Registration numbers cannot be transferred to other watercrafts.
- You must pay the fees and sales tax or provide a sales receipt showing payment. If you were gifted or sold the vessel by an immediate family member, you are exempt from taxes. Transfer fees include a boat title fee of $5, a transfer of ownership fee of $2, a registration certificate fee of $2, and a title fee of $15. Registration fees for vessels are determined by length and propulsion and are as follows:
- Canoes and kayaks – $5
- Other non-motorized watercraft – $9
- Motorized canoes – $14
- Motorized motorboats under 12 ft. in length – $14
- Motorized vessels measuring at least 12 feet but under 16 feet – $17
- Motorized vessels measuring at least 16 feet but under 21 feet – $42
- Motorized vessels measuring at least 21 feet but under 28 feet – $115
- Motorized vessels measuring at least 28 feet but under 35 feet – $168
- Motorized vessels measuring at least 35 feet but under 42 feet – $244
- Motorized vessels measuring at least 42 feet but under 50 feet – $280
- Motorized vessels measuring at least 50 feet and longer – $448
- Pontoons – $23
4. Michigan Gun Bill of Sale
In Michigan you will only need a permit for handguns if the purchaser does not have a Federal Firearms License (FFL) or Concealed Pistol License (CPL) and the transaction is not processed through an official FFL dealer. Handguns also need to be registered. Long guns do not require a permit or registration. As such, a gun bill of sale is not legally required for firearm sales within the state. Your gun bill of sale should include the following information:
- The buyers’ and sellers’ names, contact information, and signatures
- The make, model, caliper, and serial number
- The sales date
- The purchase price