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How to Transfer a Car Title in Massachusetts

A Massachusetts RMV title transfer is one of the first things a new resident should do when he or she moves to the state. A title transferapplication can also be used to register a resident’s newly acquired vehicle in Massachusetts. The process ofhow to transfer a car title will vary slightly depending on several factors. These include whether the vehicle was purchased or leased, which state a new resident is coming from and whether or not the resident paid tax on his or vehicle when it was purchased.

As part of the car title transfer process, new residents will need to find an insurance agent who is properly licensed in Massachusetts. Before beginning their title transferapplication paperwork, residents will need to buy and activate a valid and legally adequate insurance policy on the vehicle. Motorists should note that a car title name change is different than an out-of-state vehicle title transfer. Different rules, procedures and costs apply.

Massachusetts Auto Title Transfer Forms

To successfully complete a car transfer, Massachusetts drivers will need at least one and possibly two different forms. The first form is specific to car title changes, andit is the same form residents would use to title a vehicle for the first time or to change a name on a car title. All drivers will need to use that form. The title-related form must be filled out in its entirety. Motorists should double check when they are done to verify that they have not missed or skipped any sections of the form. They should also make sure that all numbers were copied onto the form correctly and that it has been signed and stamped by all appropriate parties. RMV title transfer applications can be delayed or denied if there are errors or missing information on the form.

The second car transfer form is related to sales tax, andit will not apply to all drivers. A resident’s total title transfer cost can vary substantially depending on whether or not taxes are owed.

Massachusetts Sales Tax and Car Title Transfers

Residents requesting a vehicle title transfer in Massachusetts for the first time need to be aware of state policies regarding vehicle sales tax. In Massachusetts, sales tax on a vehicle is charged when the vehicle is titled. This is true whether the vehicle is newly purchased from a dealer or was exchanged in a private sale between individuals. In many other states, sales tax is not included in title transfer costs because taxes are paid at the time of purchase.

Motorists applying for an auto title transfer who paid taxes on their vehicle previously in another state will need to complete the relevant Massachusetts RMVsales tax exemption form. This form must be submitted with the rest of the car transfer application paperwork to prevent duplicate sales tax charges.The title transfer sales tax form only applies to vehicles when:

  • A vehicle was purchased outside of Massachusetts and registered in another state for a minimum period of time.
  • A vehicle was purchased in Massachusetts but taken delivery of in another state a minimum amount of time prior to the car title transfer

Preparing a Massachusetts Vehicle Title Transfer Application

When preparing to transfer a car title in Massachusetts, applicants should begin by buying insurance for their vehicle from a state-licensed insurance agent if they do not have state-approved policies already. Next, applicants should gather the assorted forms and documentation they will need. This includes theauto title transfer-related RMV form first and foremost. If appropriate, applicants should also complete the sales tax-related form.

Once the DMV title transfer forms have been filled out, applicants must sign the forms and have them stamped by their insurance agents. In some cases, a dealer may also be required to sign one or both of the application forms.

Title transfer applicants will then need to determine how they will prove ownership of their vehicles. Applicants with out-of-state titles may submit those. Applicants who do not have titles because their vehicles are under lien may submit their out-of-state registrations instead. Car title transfer applicants moving to Massachusetts from New York, Kentucky, Minnesota, Maryland, Missouri, Oklahoma and Montana will have titles even if their vehicles are under lien due to the laws in those states.

Applicants will need to determine how they will pay for title transfer costs, including sales tax in cases where that is due. Residents who intend to register their vehicles at the time of titling will need to account for registration expenses as well. RMV title transfers can only be applied for in person at an RMV Service Center.

If residents recently changed their legal name, then they will need to make sure to change name on car title transfer documents prior to submitting a request. This includes completing the name change process with the Social Security Administration. Owners may need to bring supplemental documents as evidence of the legal name change, such as a court order, marriage certificate or divorce decree.

Receiving a Transferred Vehicle Title in Massachusetts

On average, car transfers in Massachusetts take six to eight weeks to process. The RMV will mail requested titles to vehicle owners upon completion of the process. If a vehicle is under lien, then the RMV will mail the new title to the lienholder. If residents choose to register their vehicles when transferring a car title, then they will receive their registration documentation immediately.

Massachusetts Title Transfers and Leased Vehicles

A Massachusetts vehicle title transfer may be subject to different rules or provisions if the vehicle in question is leased rather than owned outright. For example, not all leased vehicles need to be titled in Massachusetts. If a leased car is titled in the state in which the leasing company is based, then it does not need to be retitled. However, this auto title transfer exemption applies only to cars owned by leasing companies recognized by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR).

For instance, if a leased vehicle is titled in the state of Virginia by a company recognized by the Massachusetts DOR, then it does not need to be retitled. If the same vehicle were titled by a company not recognized by the Massachusetts DOR, then it would need to be retitled.

Leased vehicles that are exempt from Massachusetts RMV title transfer requirements must still be properly registered for legal operation in the state. Residents leasing cars are responsible for all title transfer and registration applications and should not expect the company they are leasing from to handle them. In the event that a motorist leasing a vehicle intends to sign any application documentation in the name of the company from which he or sheis leasing,he or she will need the appropriate power of attorney documentation.

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