Florida Bill of Sale: What You Need to Know

When buying or selling a vehicle anywhere in the country, it is essential to ensure that you have all the correct paperwork to prove ownership and the legality of the vehicle. In Florida, one vital piece of paperwork is the Florida bill of sale.

What is the Bill of Sale and what does it contain?

The Florida bill of sale is your proof that you have purchased the vehicle legally; it is also your safeguard that the car belonged to the person selling it and that it meets required safety standards. The bill of sale is more than just a simple invoice and should always contain specific details such as:

  • previous owner
  • the new owner
  • the vehicle

These details include the full name and complete address of the person purchasing the vehicle and the person selling the vehicle; this must be a street address and not a Post Office box. Where the seller is a dealership, the business' license number has to be included. The date of the sale is also included, alongside a complete description of the vehicle; its identification number (VIN), year, make, model, serial number and body type. The form must also have the vehicle's odometer reading, taken at the point of sale. The signature of the seller must be notarized as proof of identity.

Why do you need a Vehicle Bill of Sale?

Other than ensuring that you are buying the vehicle from its legally named owner, the Florida bill of sale is necessary in order to register the car in your own name; the document is a legal document and you will not be the legal owner of the vehicle if there are mistakes on the form. The bill of sale is also a document, upon which the State of Florida will collect its 6% tax on the vehicle's sales price.

Do you need a specific form?

The contents of the Florida bill of sale cannot be changed, and you can download forms directly from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. However, you can design the form yourself or use a program to help you create the form, as long as it contains all the required information. If you are buying from a dealership, they should have the form on record ready for it to be filled in. If you are the buyer and are buying from either a dealership or through a private sale, it is worth being aware of what the form should contain and carefully checking the form that you are presented with.

Regardless of how and where you make the purchase, you, the buyer, are responsible for ensuring that the bill of sale is passed to the DMV, in order for the vehicle to be registered in your name. One final point to note is that the bill of sales should indicate any previous or existing loans on the vehicle; check this carefully as you do not want to buy a car with outstanding debt on it.