So you decided to gift your car to a family member. You live in Florida and your car is registered in Florida. Make sure the lucky recipient understands the responsibilities behind car ownership. Sure, getting the vehicle for free seems like a no-brainer at first, but mentioning the maintenance fees such as repairs and car insurance, as well as yearly registration renewals and the like, are none the less responsibilities.
Gifting a car in Florida is just like privately selling a car. The gift-giver/seller/you has to follow the same steps, including signing over your Florida car title to the recipient/family member. The gift recipient, on his/her end, has specific steps to take in order to complete the transfer.
Step 1: As the gift-giver, check that there’s no lien
Before transferring over your car title to the recipient, make sure there’s no outstanding lien on the vehicle. In other words, that no third-party has financial interest due to an outstanding debt. For example, the bank that loaned you the money to buy the car in the first place. Before gifting your car in Florida, make sure the vehicle is paid off. Note: Once you’ve completed your car payments, your lienholder should’ve electronically contacted the Florida DMV and notify them.
Step 2: Sign over the title to the gift recipient
As the gift giver, you must sign over the Florida car title to the new owner (the one receiving the vehicle as a gift). Make sure you correctly fill out the blanks in the bottom portion of the Certificate of Title. Print your name and signature legibly, and remember to put the word GIFT by “selling price.” Also, note that by the odometer section, the number “5 and 6” represent whether the car can support 5-digit and 6-digit mileage, not what the odometer currently reads.
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Step 3: As the gift-giver, write a Bill of Sale. Not a must-do, but it will protect you
You may be thinking it’s a gift, not a sale, but remember gifting a car in Florida is just like privately selling the vehicle to a buyer. A bill of sale will ensure that you, the gift-giver, is NOT liable for the car after the contract (Bill of Sale) is signed. This protects both of you and recipient.
The Bill of Sale form HSMV 82050 includes sections for both the gift-giver/seller and gift recipient/purchaser. It also features spaces for the vehicle’s details such as make/model, Certificate of Title (which proves that the gift-giver is the actual owner of the car being gifted) and more. Until the title transfer takes place, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor vehicles won’t update the ownership status.
Step 4: The gift recipient needs to complete a title transfer
The recipient has two ways to transfer the FL car title when gifted. One way to do it is to go to their local FL DMV with you, the gift-giver, wait in line and fill out the paperwork there including a Certificate of Title. There will be title fees and registration fees, because now the car will be under new ownership. There will be no sales tax because the vehicle is a gift.
Or the gift recipient can go the online route and do the Florida title transfer right from the comforts of their own home. No traffic, no traveling, no problem! eTags will walk them through the process and ask them to upload all documents needed to complete transfer. They’ll also have the help of a title transfer service specialist should they need assistance completing the order or have any questions. They’ll need to provide eTags a completed application for Certificate of Title and power of attorney form. Once they start the online process, they may be asked additional support documents. For example, if they’re part of U.S. Armed Forces.
Step 5: The recipient now needs to get a Florida car registration
When it comes to gifting your car, for the recipient to be able to drive it, the vehicle has to be registered. Title transfer kind of goes hand in hand with car registration and happens simultaneously. The title itself establishes ownership, while the registration establishes the legal right for the car to be driven on public roads. In fact, the Certificate of Title form is called Certificate of Title With/Without Registration. To register the car, the gift recipient will have to show proof of insurance with a Florida Insurance Affidavit form. Once they register the car, they’ll get their new license plate because plates can’t be transferred when a vehicle is gifted.
Don’t forget, a Florida car registration has to be renewed every year or every two years. The good news is that by using eTags online vehicle services, renewals can be done with just an internet connection. Answer a few questions about your car like your license plate number and get your registration in the mail as well an electronic copy. eTags will even send you an annual reminder so you can keep track of your renewal.