Laws on a Bill-of-Sale for a Vehicle in the State of Alabama

by Mike Parker
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The Alabama Department of Revenue is the government agency responsible for vehicle registration in the state. To register a vehicle in Alabama for the first time, the registrant must provide a certificate of title and proof of liability insurance, and pay all required fees and taxes. A bill of sale is required any time a vehicle is sold or transferred, and must be provided to obtain a certificate of title.

Time Frame

Alabama State Code 810-5-75-.35, Section 40-12-260 (b) (2) requires individuals who reside in the state to obtain a license plate for any new or used motor vehicle within 20 calendar days of purchase or transfer of ownership. Individuals who move into the state are required to obtain a license plate for any motor vehicle in their possession within 30 calendar days of the vehicle entering the state, according to Section 40-12-262. Individuals who are residents of other states and who are serving on active duty in the U.S. military may continue to register their motor vehicles in their home state. Individuals who purchase a new or used vehicle in the state must maintain a copy of the bill of sale within the vehicle during the time between the date of purchase or transfer and the time when the new license plate is issued.

Required Information

According to the Motor Vehicle Division of the Alabama Department of Revenue, a bill of sale may be an informal document drawn up between individuals, or it may be a formal document drawn up by a dealer. Certain information is required for a bill of sale to be considered valid by law enforcement officials and License Plate Issuing Officials. A valid bill of sale must include the buyer's name and physical address, the sale date, a description of the vehicle including the make, model, year, body type and vehicle identification number, and the seller's name and physical address. The bill of sale must be signed by both the buyer and the seller.


The Alabama Department of Revenue and law enforcement officials will not accept an invoice in place of a bill of sale. A bill of sale is required on all motor vehicles purchased or transferred in the state, including those that are not required to be titled under the Alabama Uniform Certificate of Title and Antitheft Act. Dealers must conspicuously stamp or inscribe the statement "PENALTY OF fifteen dollars ($15.00) due if vehicle is not registered in the name of the new owner within 20 calendar days" on all bills of sale. A physical address is required on the bill of sale for both the buyer and seller. A post office box is not acceptable.

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