How to Transfer Car Title Ownership in New York

by Kurt Schanaman

Selling or gifting a car completing the transfer privately can ensure maximum benefit to both current and new owners. In the state of New York, as with most other states, the current owner must show proof she owns the car and that she is selling or gifting it to the new party. There can be no bank liens on a title when being transferred and sales taxes must be paid by the buyer of the car when it is being licensed. To ensure all legal requirements are followed, a series of short checklist steps may be taken so the process moves along smoothly.


Sign, print and date the "Seller" block of the car title and fill out the odometer and damage disclosure statements on the back of the title completely as directed.


Make a personal visit to the local office of the department of motor vehicles and obtain a Form DTF-802, Statement of Transaction For Sales Tax. Fill out all sections of on page 2 of the form, including the amount the buyer is paying for the car. If the vehicle is being given freely as a gift, check the corresponding box.


Remove license plates, inspection stickers and New York registration window stickers from the car. None of these should be left on the vehicle when the new owner takes physical possession of the automobile.


Give the new owner the signed and dated title, completed page 2 of the Form DTF-802 and the blank copy of page 1 of that form. The new owner must fill out and present the first page of the form package when licensing the vehicle at the DMV office.


Turn in the old license plates promptly. The state of New York requires all license plates to be surrendered to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles and may penalize those who refuse to surrender them.


  • close The new owner is required to pay sales tax on the vehicle when purchasing. If the new owner is a friend or relative, it may be tempting to show a lesser sale amount, but since this is fraudulent and if the DMV somehow discovers the dishonesty, the "personal favor" could be turned into a serious criminal offense prosecution to both the buyer and the seller. Never falsify information to avoid payment of sales taxes.

About the Author

Kurt Schanaman has had several editorials printed by the Star-Herald Newspaper publication in Western Nebraska. He attended Western Nebraska Community College.

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