A South Carolina bill of sale is a form that records a sale or trade of personal property between a buyer and a seller according to state law. You should use a bill of sale in South Carolina when transferring ownership of a vehicle, a boat, a firearm, or any animal or livestock such as a horse.
Table of Contents
- South Carolina Vehicle Bill of Sale
- South Carolina Boat Bill of Sale
- South Carolina Gun Bill of Sale
1. South Carolina Vehicle Bill of Sale
In South Carolina, a number of vehicle transactions require bills of sale, which are legal documents that show proof of sale and ownership of a car or other item. If a vehicle is bought through a private sale and the title does not include the selling price and the odometer reading, a bill of sale must be provided to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) to register a vehicle. A bill of sale also is necessary to transfer license plates.
South Carolina requires all documents to be submitted in English.
Vehicle Seller Requirements
Sellers must notify the SCDMV of vehicle sales. A completed Notice of Vehicle Sold (SCDMV Form 416) must be mailed to:
SCDMV, Mail-in Registration
P.O. Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0036
This form does not constitute a legal transfer of ownership, but it aims to provide some protection to the last registered owner before the real transfer of ownership is complete.
Additionally, if the buyer is making payments on the vehicle, the seller is considered the lien holder and, therefore, the purchaser must complete section D of the Title Application (SCDMV Form 400). Then, the title is mailed to the seller, and it is not turned over to the buyer until payments are made in full.
Even though South Carolina requires a car bill of sale for some vehicle transactions, savvy buyers and sellers should create them and keep them for their own protection nonetheless. If the vehicle that was purchased was in an accident or used to help carry out a crime prior to the sale, the new owner can prove to authorities he/she wasn’t involved by showing a bill of sale, which would list the sale date. The same is true for sellers. If the new buyer gets into an accident the day after the purchase, which also would be before official registration and titling has been completed, the seller can prove when the vehicle was sold and the ownership changed hands.
South Carolina does not provide a downloadable bill of sale form, though one can be obtained by visiting an SCDMV location. However, individuals can easily create their own customized bills of sale, which South Carolina does accept.
What to Include When It’s Time to Create a Bill of Sale
A bill of sale should include as much information as possible, specifically:
- The printed full names of the buyer and seller, and their signatures
- Buyer and seller contact information, including mailing address, phone number, and email address
- The location of the sale, include at least the city, state, and zip code
- The sale date
- The price of the vehicle, as well as the total taxable amount paid
- The odometer reading in miles (do not include the tenths of miles)
- Vehicle information, including make, model, body type, year, and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)
If applicable, it should list any liens on the vehicle. Also, if possible, the document should include information such as any distinguishing marks, such as dents, dings, or flaws. This information can protect the seller if the buyer tries to claim he/she was unaware of physical or mechanical defects after the purchase.
After Purchasing a Vehicle
South Carolina requires a buyer to transfer the title and registration of a vehicle bought via a private sale. When vehicles are bought from businesses or dealerships, they handle the titling and registration process. No matter where the vehicle purchase took place, it must be registered and titled within 45 days of the sale date.
In South Carolina, to register a vehicle that was bought from a private citizen instead of through a dealer or business, an individual must submit:
- A completed Title Application (SCDMV Form 400)
- The title signed over to the buyer
- A bill of sale, if the title does not include the sale price and odometer reading at the time of purchase
- A paid property tax receipt from the county in which the buyer resides
- All applicable title and registration fees
Also, a completed Statement of Vehicle Operation in South Carolina (SCDMV Form TI-006), is required if the individual does not have a South Carolina driver’s license.
Unless a vehicle was bought from a dealer or business, the SCDMV will not register a vehicle without a title.
Registration and Title Fees in South Carolina
In South Carolina, title and registration fees are as follows:
- Passenger cars $40
- Title $15
- Electric vehicles $120 road use fee plus a $40 registration fee
- Hybrid vehicles $60 plus a $40 registration fee
People who are 64 pay $38, and those who are 65 or have a disability pay $36. Individuals with disabilities must submit documentation from a medical professional.
To register and title a vehicle, individuals can visit one of SCDMV’s locations.
Transferring License Plates
South Carolina law permits vehicle owners to transfer license plates from one vehicle to another and affix the plate to their new vehicles on the day it is bought. To verify the date of sale to law enforcement officials, a bill of sale for the new vehicle and a copy of the registration that corresponds to the license plate must be kept in the new vehicle at all times. The buyer still must register and title the new vehicle within 45 days of purchase.
Additionally, after a vehicle is bought, new owners are given temporary tags. Due to this, a driver should carry a bill of sale or the title until permanent plates are received.
2. South Carolina Boat Bill of Sale
To transfer the registration and title of watercraft and outboard motor, a title in the seller’s name must be submitted to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). If the seller has lost the title and needs a duplicate, South Carolina requires a certified bill of sale, which is found on the back of a watercraft title application, be submitted. This is the only boat bill of sale that South Carolina will accept, and it must be signed and notarized.
In addition to submitting the application, individuals who buy watercraft from individuals must pay a casual excise tax, which is 5% of the purchase price up to $10,000. Anything over $10,000.00 is capped at $500. Also, there is a $16 fee to transfer registration and title.
When an outboard motor is bought from an individual, the buyer pays a casual excise tax of 6% of the purchase price. There is no price cap. The fee to transfer the title is $10.
3. South Carolina Gun Bill of Sale
South Carolina does not require a gun bill of sale for firearm transfers. However, it is a good idea for individuals to have them to safeguard themselves from liability. For instance, if the firearm has been previously used in a crime or it is used during the commission of a crime after it was sold, a bill of sale can prove to authorities who had the weapon at the time.
Creating a personalized bill of sale is easy, beneficial, and should include:
- The complete printed names of the buyer and seller, and their signatures
- The contact information of the buyer and seller
- A description of the firearm, including the make, model, caliber, and any other distinguishing characteristics or numbers that would help identify it
- The sale price, date, and location of the sale
- Disclosures related to the firearm
Having the bill of sale notarized will add a great deal of credibility to the document. Also, since firearms can change hands many times, it is encouraged to keep copies of bills of sale indefinitely.
Firearms transfers that are not conducted by firearms dealers are not subject to background check requirements in South Carolina. State law prohibits knowingly selling, offering to sell, delivering, leasing, or transporting for sale into the state any handgun to a person prohibited from possessing handguns, which includes certain domestic abusers, those who are mentally incompetent, and those who have committed violent crimes, such as murder, rape, or kidnapping.