An Alabama (AL) vehicle bill of sale is an important document that you need when buying or selling an automobile in Alabama. It is a sales receipt that proves that there was a transaction where someone transferred a vehicle to another person, either as a sale or a gift.
The Alabama Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Division is responsible for registering vehicles in the state of Alabama while the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is in charge of driver’s licenses. While a vehicle bill of sale is not necessary to register a vehicle every time, it is always required if there is no title for the vehicle.
Even if you are not required to produce a bill of sale, having one can protect you if there is ever a question about the sale of the vehicle. Because the document lists the specific details of the sale and is signed by both buyer and seller, you can use it as proof later if the other party makes conflicting claims.
Alabama Vehicle Bill of Sale Requirements
A vehicle bill of sale is not always required in Alabama, so there are no specific state requirements. However, here are some items that are important to know:
- Alabama Vehicle Bill of Sale Form: Our bill of sale form is easy to understand and does not require extra information.
- Notarization: You do not need to notarize the document but it provides a sense of legitimacy when documents are notarized.
- Witnesses: Again, this is not required, but you may be able to use it as further proof later if the other party claims you were being dishonest and you have witnesses.
- Language Requirements: There is no listed requirement.
- Number of Copies: Make sure you have enough copies for all involved parties and one for the Alabama Department of Revenue.
- Writing Requirements: There is no style or color requirement.
Registering a Vehicle at the Alabama DMV
After obtaining a completed bill of sale, the buyer must register the vehicle at a local Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.
- Alabama DMV Offices: Alabama requires you to register your vehicle in the county where you reside. However, you may be able to renew online and save the time and trouble of visiting a branch.
- Days To Register at DMV: You only have 20 days to register a newly purchased vehicle in the state of Alabama.
- Fees: Fees vary depending on what kind of vehicle is being registered and what kind of plate the owner wants.
- Auto / Liability Insurance: Alabama drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. That means they have to have at least enough to cover $25,000 for bodily injury per person/$50,000 per accident; $25,000 in property damage coverage; and $25,000/$5000 for bodily injury for under and uninsured drivers.
- Sales / Excise Tax: The State of Alabama collects a 2% sales tax on each vehicle sold, but by the time local and county taxes are added in, the tax might be twice that.
- Antique / Electric Vehicles: You can purchase a “Vintage Vehicle” plate if your vehicle is over 30 years old, a private vehicle not more than 26,000 pounds gross weight, and operated as a collector’s item (such as in parades, festivals, etc.) The plate cannot be personalized. Electric vehicles have an added annual registration fee on top of the regular registration fees.
While Alabama does not mandate that certain forms accompany the completed vehicle bill of sale, there are a few important ones to keep in mind.
- Driver’s License and Proof of Residence: A first-time driver’s license must be issued in person at a local branch but renewals may be done online if you qualify.
- Application for certificate of title / registration form: You can get all the information you need on the Alabama Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Title page. From there you can access your vehicle information, check the status of your title application, and access the Alabama Title System.
- Vehicle identification number (VIN) verification: This is filled out by a government official and validates the identifier on your vehicle.
- Odometer disclosure statement form: You see your odometer when you are driving but you will have to look harder to find your VIN, which can be harder to find. First try getting out of the vehicle and looking at the inside of the driver’s door.
- Emissions certificate: Alabama does not require emissions testing.
- Seller’s report of sale: Sellers need to report sales if they did not properly assess taxes during the transaction, but this normally applies to out-of-state sellers.
- Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) sticker: The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is a price assigned by a seller but you may be able to prove that your vehicle should have a lower or higher value based on its condition.
- Military service exemption: There is not an exemption but soldiers based in Alabama will not be required to register their vehicles in Alabama if they are already registered in their home states. Also, military personnel driving military-owned equipment will not need an Alabama license.
- Driver privilege reciprocity: Alabama offers reciprocity to drivers from other states but also offers direct reciprocity to foreign nationals from Germany, South Korea, and Puerto Rico, who can turn in a valid license from their home countries and obtain a valid Alabama license without passing tests.
- Other motor vehicle forms: There are many other motor vehicle forms available on the State Revenue webpage, such as an application for lien release and other useful forms.
How to Write a Bill of Sale for a Car in Alabama
Step 1: Download a Vehicle Bill of Sale Form
The Alabama Bill of Sale is easy to read and fill out. You can fill out the form online and print it at your convenience.
Step 2: Complete Basic Information
Fill in where the transaction takes place, as well as the buyer and seller’s names and mailing addresses.
Step 4: Fill in Monetary Value for the Sale
Describe the value of the transaction and the method of payment.
Step 5: Describe the Details of the Vehicle
Include the vehicle’s information, such as make, model, body type, year, odometer reading, VIN, and any other relevant information.
Step 6: Determine Tax Information
Check whether or not taxes are included in the transaction.
Step 7: Complete and Sign the Form
Both the buyer and seller should print and sign the form, and make sure each person keeps one copy.