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Apply for a registration and title for a vehicle purchased from an individual

If you’ve purchased a vehicle from an individual, you will need to apply for registration in order to drive it in Massachusetts legally.
Massachusetts title law requires all motor vehicles and trailers to be titled within 10 days of purchase.

Registry of Motor Vehicles

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The Details of Apply for a registration and title for a vehicle purchased from an individual

What you need for Apply for a registration and title for a vehicle purchased from an individual

To register and title a vehicle purchased from an individual (non-dealer), you will need the following:

  • A completed Registration and Title Application

  • The previous owner’s certificate of title or the previous owner's registration and bill of sale for vehicles that are exempt because of its age

  • Applicable fee

Note: Trailers with a gross weight of less than 3,000 pounds do not require a title.

To transfer your registration and title from out of state to Massachusetts, click here

You will also need to prove lawful presence when registering/titling your vehicle. 

Fees for Apply for a registration and title for a vehicle purchased from an individual

You are responsible for registration fee, title fee, and 6.25% sales tax.

Registration fees vary by plate type. Refer to the RMV's schedule of fees for a list of RMV plate types and fees.

Name Fee Unit
Certificate of Title Fee $75 each

How to apply Apply for a registration and title for a vehicle purchased from an individual

To register and title your vehicle, you must: 

  1. Go to a licensed Massachusetts insurance agent to obtain an active insurance policy and have the agent complete, stamp and sign an application for registration & title.
    • If there is a lien against the vehicle, make sure the lienholder information is complete and accurate.
  2. The completed RMV-1 must be accompanied by one of the following documents:
    • The previous owner’s certificate of title, or
    • The previous owner's registration and bill of sale for vehicles that are exempt because of their age
    • Federal and Massachusetts laws require that the seller(s) state the mileage upon transfer of ownership. Also, both buyer(s) and seller(s) are required to sign and hand print their name and date the transfer document. If the previous title has a space for a sales price, the price must be filled in. If the previous title does not have a space for a sales price, a bill of sale showing the sales price must be submitted
  3. Take the completed application and supporting documents to the nearest RMV Service Center.

The sales tax for a private sale is calculated at 6.25% of the purchase price or the National Automotive Dealer Association (NADA) trade-in value, whichever is higher. If the vehicle was a gift or if the vehicle was acquired by a family member, refer to the family/gift transfers page to determine if you are exempt from paying sales tax.

After completing the transaction, you will receive a registration certificate, new plates and a year of expiration decal for the rear plate. The title will be processed and mailed in approximately 6 to 8 weeks. If you have a loan on the vehicle, the title will be mailed directly to your lienholder.

Next steps for Apply for a registration and title for a vehicle purchased from an individual

Vehicle Inspection

You must obtain a vehicle inspection sticker within 7 days of the registration date.

More info for Apply for a registration and title for a vehicle purchased from an individual

Any erasures, white-outs, or alterations on the proof of ownership or application will not be accepted.  The application must be legible, and printed on white 8 ½” x 11” paper.  Color paper and card stock will not be accepted.  The application must match the supporting documentation being presented.

Information on Massachusetts Vehicle Excise Tax

An excise tax bill is generated annually for all active Massachusetts vehicle registrations.  The RMV generates the excise tax bill; however payment is due to the city or town where the vehicle is garaged within 30 days from the issue date of the bill. You are responsible for payment of your excise tax even if you do not receive a bill. Interest and penalties accrue for outstanding bills.

If you change your address:

  • Within Massachusetts, make sure you notify the RMV and your local tax assessor to ensure you receive your excise tax bill(s) at the proper address.
  • Out of Massachusetts, make sure you cancel your plate(s) and vehicle registration to stop excise tax bills from being generated.        

If you are no longer in possession of your vehicle or have taken your vehicle off the road, you must cancel your plate and registration to avoid an excise tax bill. This includes a vehicle that has been reported lost, stolen, a total loss, or repossessed. 

If you have an outstanding excise tax bill, you may not be able to renew your driver’s license or vehicle registration, or obtain any other credential from the RMV.

For more details, go to mass.gov/guides/motor-vehicle-excise.

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Contact for Apply for a registration and title for a vehicle purchased from an individual

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