While buying or selling your car in Missouri, you must follow the due process as stipulated by the law. To make sure your transaction is legal, you will need to follow various car regulations provided by the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR).

Buying a Vehicle

You should never buy a vehicle without a title. A title shows proof that the vehicle is legally owned by the person selling it. If the seller can’t produce a valid title, avoid him like plague. You will be required to produce the title when registering and titling the car in your name. If you fail to produce it, you may be charged in court of possessing stolen property. In addition, the state will not consider the sale valid. If the title is missing, stolen or damaged, ask the seller to obtain a duplicate copy and give it to you. Do not give the seller any payment for the vehicle until they provide a valid title in their name. After purchasing your vehicle, you will need to visit the nearest Missouri DOR office to have it registered in your name. This can be done at the same time when you are titling your vehicle. You should title your newly purchased vehicle within 30 days from the purchase date. If you fail to do so within this period, you will pay a penalty of around $25 and $200. You will also need to pay sales tax which is normally 4.225% of the purchase price. If you purchased a vehicle to replace one that you don’t use, you can transfer the license plates of the vehicle that you don’t use, to the one that you have purchased. You may otherwise opt to purchase new plates for your newly purchased vehicle. To complete the registration process, you will need to take the following to the nearest Missouri DMV office:

  • A signed and completed Form DOR-108 (Application for Missouri Title and License).
  • A Manufacturer's Statement of Origin if you are purchasing a new vehicle or Certificate of Title for used vehicle.
  • Proof of a valid car insurance policy.
  • Safety or emissions inspections certificates.
  • A statement of non-assessment or a paid personal property tax receipt.

Payment for vehicle registration, titling and license plates fees should be made by cash, money order or check. You can use the Missouri DOR tax calculator to calculate your fees and taxes.

Selling Your Vehicle

The law requires you to provide the buyer with your title when selling your vehicle. If the title is lost or missing for whatever reason, you can apply for a duplicate copy and sign it over to the buyer. To do so, you will need to submit Form DOR-108 (Application for Missouri Title and License) to the Missouri Department of Revenue. A duplicate title will be mailed to you within two weeks. When you are selling your vehicle, you are transferring the title but not registration. You should therefore remove license plates from the vehicle after sale. If your vehicle registration fee is still remaining, you can then apply the remaining payment to a new vehicle registration. The law does not allow sellers to receive a refund of unused registration fees. When you are selling your car, you will need to provide the buyer with the following:

  • Certificate of Title that is properly assigned. You should also include the odometer reading on the back of the title.
  • A valid safety inspection certificate.
  • An emissions inspection certificate.
  • A notarized Form DOR-4809 (Notice of Lien, Lien Release, or Authorization to Add/Remove Name from Title) if applicable.

The law also requires you to notify the Missouri DOR of the sale within 30 days of vehicle sale. You can do so by completing and submitting the bill of sale or Form 5049 (Notice of Sale or Transfer) to your nearest motor vehicle office. For more information about vehicle selling, visit the Missouri DOR’s Motor Vehicle Bureau website.

Giving Your Vehicle as a Gift

If you are planning to give your car to a friend or family member as a gift, remember to provide them with the following documents:

  • Certificate of Title. You should write the word "GIFT" in the section where price is indicated.
  • A valid safety inspection certificate.
  • An emissions inspection certificate.
  • A written statement indicating that the car was given to the new owner as a gift.

If you have any question about how to go about registering a vehicle that you have obtained as a gift, contact the Motor Vehicle Bureau customer representative.