How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho

In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs to be transferred into the new owner’s name. The state of Idaho has pretty simple rules regarding how this process should unfold, but there are a few things that buyers and sellers should know before going into such a transaction.

Buyers in Idaho

For those buying a car in Idaho from a private seller, there are several things that must be done to ensure that the title can be transferred into your name.

  • Make sure that the seller has completed the back of the title.
  • If there is a lienholder, they must also sign off on the title (and you need a lien release from the seller).
  • The odometer reading has to be completed unless the vehicle is exempt (over 10 years old, or weighs more than 16,000 pounds).
  • Make sure to notify the DMV within 30 days of the purchase, or you will be charged a $20 late fee.
  • You’ll need to complete an Application for Certificate of Title.
  • If the seller does not complete the sections on the title that are his or her responsibility, you will need a completed bill of sale.
  • You’ll need a completed Vehicle or Hull Identification Number Inspection Certificate.
  • If you’re transferring a title by mail rather than in person, you’ll need to submit a Power of Attorney form.
  • You’ll need to pay the $14 transfer fee, as well as 6% sales tax on the purchase price. You also have to pay the registration fee, which ranges from $24 to $48.

Common mistakes

  • Not making sure the seller completes the back of the title
  • Not getting a lien release from the seller

Sellers in Idaho

Sellers also have quite a few steps that must be completed. These include the following:

  • Complete the appropriate fields on the back of the title and give it to the buyer.
  • Give the buyer a lien release.
  • Take the license plates off the car and keep them. Do not give them to the buyer.
  • If the sales price is not provided on the title, you’ll need to give the buyer a bill of sale that includes information such as a complete description of the car, the date, your name and signature, the buyer’s name, and the price of the vehicle.

Common mistakes

  • Trying to sell a vehicle without first putting it in your name (this is illegal unless you have a dealer license)
  • Listing the wrong selling price (this is a felony)

Gifting and inheriting vehicles

If you’re given a car as a gift, the only difference in the title transfer process is that you need to complete a Sales Tax Exemption Certificate. For inheriting a vehicle, you’ll need the Sales Tax Exemption Certificate, as well as an Affidavit of Insurance and an Application for Certificate of Title. Make sure to bring the death certificate to the DMV, too.

For more information about how to transfer a car title in Idaho, visit the state’s Transportation Department website.


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