Vehicle Bill of Sale

Taking the keys to a new car is exciting, as it opens the door to more travel and adventures. Before new owners can legally take to the roads, however, there are some requirements they must complete before they are officially legal owners. States set their own rules for getting a new vehicle, which means that requirements differ among states. In Illinois, one document that should be completed is the bill of sale. This document is not mandatory for a formal sale in this state, and there is no official application that the state’s motor vehicle agency provides. Instead, the document essentially acts as a certificate of proof that the car has been sold from one person to another. It is also valuable for tax purposes, and it can protect the seller in case the buyer damages the car later on or does not register it.


Unlike legal documents involved in a car purchase, the bill of sale does not prove new ownership. Therefore, it is not required in all states. This document primarily serves as a record, or receipt, of the vehicle sale. The document contains general information about the sale, including the names and addresses of both the buyer and seller, the purchase date and price, and information about the car (such as year, make, model, and mileage). The document serves as a reference for the seller, as it provides information about the buyer and verifies the sale date. For buyers, the document is valuable for providing specific vehicle information that can be compared with a vehicle history report.


In Illinois, there is no official state form for a bill of sale. Instead, buyers are free to make their own. However, the state DMV does provide guidelines with information that should be included. This includes the full names of both the buyer and seller and their current addresses. The mailing address should be included if it is different from the physical address. The contact information section can also include both parties’ phone numbers and email addresses. Both parties must also sign the document to make it valid. The vehicle’s final purchase price should be recorded, as should the exact mileage displayed on the odometer. Specific information that should be added about the vehicle itself includes the vehicle identification number (the VIN), the make, model, and year. This information is used to create documents in most sales. However, there are certain exceptions for junk (totaled) vehicles that are either given away or sold to a salvage yard. Individuals who are sending their vehicle to a salvage yard must complete the state’s Junked Vehicle Bill of Sale. This form must also be completed if the original title certificate has been lost. In addition to the Junked Vehicle Bill of Sale, individuals must also fill out and return the Certificate of Final Disposition. Both documents may be mailed in to the state motor vehicle department or delivered by hand to a local branch of the DMV.


In most situations, the seller is responsible for completing the document. As with most documents, however, the purchaser should check the document for accuracy and obtain a copy for his or her own records. While the document isn’t legally required in Illinois, buyers should be aware that having the document can expedite the registration process. Sellers should provide all the information outlined in the state’s DMV’s guidelines. While the state requires a signature to make the document valid, sellers should also consider having the document notarized, which adds another layer of credibility. The document proves that the seller sold the vehicle on the date specified and is no longer responsible for the other driver or the car. This is particularly important if the purchaser gets into an accident with the car or incurs a traffic penalty, as it frees the previous owner from legal responsibility. The state does not require the document to be submitted with other legal car ownership documents at the time of sale, but both parties should retain a copy with their own records.