A Texas bill of sale is a form that acts as a receipt for a sale or trade of personal property between private individuals — a buyer and seller. A bill of sale documents the transfer of ownership of an item from one person to another and proves that the transfer was legal and agreed upon. You should use a bill of sale in the state of Texas whenever buying or selling a car (or any vehicle), a boat, a firearm, or animal/livestock such as a horse or cattle.
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1. Texas Vehicle Bill of Sale
It is required to have a bill of sale for all transactions involving the sale or purchase of a Texas motor vehicle or boat, but not for the purchase of a gun. These documents are basically a record that the sales transaction took place.
You can obtain a Texas bill of sale for a vehicle on the state’s official DMV website or from your local county tax assessor/collector’s office. In Texas, it is referred to as a “Vehicle Transfer Notification,” or Form VTR-346. The document requires all of the following data:
- The buyer(s)’ and seller(s)’ contact information
- The vehicle’s make, model, and year
- The Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN
- The transaction date
- The county in which the sale occurred
- The purchase amount
- The condition of the vehicle
- The driver’s license number of the buyer
- License plate number (if already registered)
- The signatures of both (or all) parties
- Note: The seller must sign and date the form in front of a notary public.
A penalty of perjury statement is printed on each official vehicular bill of sale, indicating that falsifying information on such a form is considered a third-degree felony. Committing perjury may result in jail time up to a year, or paying a fine up to $4,000.
Information and Language
In Texas, you are also legally allowed to draft your own bill of sale for vehicles as long as you include all the pertinent information (as listed above). It is legal to draft the document in another language.
Number of Copies
The buyer and the seller should each be given identical copies of the bill of sale. However, a third should be completed and printed because the DMV (for vehicles) or TPWD (for vessels) will require their own copies respectively.
After Purchasing a Vehicle
While a bill of sale is crucial, there are many other documents that are required when buying or selling a vehicle in the state of Texas.
Selling to a private party:
- Provide a properly signed title, with the date of sale and the odometer reading stated on such.
- You will need to provide the buyer with a signed copy of an “Application for Texas Certificate of Title,” or Form 130-U, with the sales price indicated.
Selling to a dealership:
- If you sell or trade in a vehicle, it will stay in your name until the dealer sells it. To protect yourself from any liability, you should file Form VTR-346, or a Vehicle Transfer Notification.
Purchasing from a private party:
- You will need to complete the “Application for Texas Certificate of Title” provided by the seller. In Texas, correct color information must be noted. To help with this, the state DMV site provides a color chart for your convenience.
- Note: Failure to title a vehicle within 30 days from the date of sale may result in delinquent transfer penalties, but you will have to allow approximately 20 days for processing.
- Form VTR-346, or your Texas Bill of Sale, must be submitted to the TxDMV Vehicle Titles and Registration Division within 30 days of the sales transaction.
- Form VTR-40 should be used as an odometer reading disclosure.
- A Motor Vehicle Inspection must also be completed.
- An “Application for Registration Purposes Only,” or a Form VTR-272, needs completion if there is a lien on the vehicle.
- You must pay title, registration, and local fees, as well as a sales tax of 6.25% on either the purchase price or the assessed value — whichever is higher.
- Bring all documentation with you, along with your proof of insurance and driver’s license, to your local county tax assessor/collector’s office to start the registration process. Proof of liability insurance is required when you title and register your vehicle, but you may apply for just a title if you do not yet have insurance.
- If the sale takes place on a day when the county tax office is closed, and the license plate and/or sticker have been removed by the seller, a Vehicle Transfer Permit is required in order for you to legally drive the vehicle. It is only valid for a period of five calendar days.
Purchasing from a dealership:
- Dealers in Texas are required by law to file title applications on the buyer’s behalf and provide appropriate receipts.
2. Texas Boat Bill of Sale
For any boat or vessel, you must include a boat bill of sale, as specified on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) website. Or, alternately, you may file a Form PWD 143 application, or complete the back portion of the title. All must feature the following:
- The date of sale
- The sales price (not including trailer)
- A detailed description of vessel or boat
- The make, serial number, and model year of the vessel
- The purchaser’s name(s)
- The seller’s signature(s)
After Purchasing a Vessel
- Complete Form PWD 143, which can be found online, or at any TPWD field office or marine dealership.
- Assign the title to the buyer(s).
- Sign Form PWD 143, and send it along with the bill of sale to the TPWD within 20 days of the date of purchase to avoid penalties.
- Pay all state fees and sales tax as indicated by the length of your vessel.
- Await the new title, along with a new Certificate of Number.
3. Texas Gun Bill of Sale
In Texas, there is no firearms registration law or a firearms registry. Therefore, to sell or purchase a gun, a firearm bill of sale is completely optional and there is no official form. Most feature the following:
- A signed affidavit, as part of the bill of sale, stating the buyer can legally buy, receive, and possess firearms and/or ammunition
- The make, model, caliber, and serial number of the firearm
- The buyer(s)’ and seller(s)’ contact information
- The buyer(s)’ and seller(s)’ Texas drivers’ license numbers
- The buyer(s)’ and seller(s)’ Texas concealed weapon license numbers
- The purchase price
- The sales date
- The signatures of the buyer and seller