Montana Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale Form


A Montana motor vehicle bill of sale form provides sellers and recipients with car transaction receipts. The document, created by the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ), Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), allows for the transmission of data relating to the transfer. Merchants have the responsibility of obtaining and completing it with the buyer.

When filling it out, they must include the sale date, purchase amount, and the car’s year, make, model, style, and vehicle identification number (VIN). The buyer must enter their full name, driver’s license number, address, printed name, date, and signature. Similarly, the seller has to write their signature, printed name, driver’s license number, date, and home address.

  • Statutes: Title 61. Motor Vehicles
  • Signing Requirements: Each person involved in the sale must have their signature notarized.

What is a Montana Car Bill of Sale?

A Montana car bill of sale accompanies other sales documents, such as the title, when two (2) parties transfer ownership of an automobile. The person completing the form must enter the odometer reading at the time of the deal (or note if a discrepancy exists). They must also disclose if the car is a salvage vehicle, sold for parts, and if the title is available. By entering their signature, they confirm that they are the rightful owner of the car and can legally sell it.

Before signing, a notary public must check the buyer and seller’s photo identifications (IDs) and validate their driver’s license numbers. If this information proves valid, the certified individual notarizes the form by signing and providing their official stamp or seal of approval.

What are the Buyer’s Tasks?

Buyers must utilize their intuition and remain cautious when purchasing vehicles. Asking questions, researching, and taking steps to ensure the car’s quality prevents scams and other fraudulent deals. Individuals should consider the following points below before, during, and after buying.

Stay Informed & Engaged

Before seeing a vehicle in person, the potential buyer should learn about the specifications and general details. They should not act in haste and consider if the car is right for them. Once they meet the seller and view the vehicle, they should ask questions about it, ensuring that the owner has the correct answers. Using best judgment is also vital to determine if the merchant is trustworthy.

The purchaser should read all forms in full before signing. This step prevents agreeing to unexpected or unwanted terms. It also ensures the person does not pay unnecessary fees. Similarly, individuals should consider their budget, vehicle cost, and potential maintenance or repairs before completing the sale.

Know the Seller

Before buying, get to know the car owner. Learn about their selling history and the vehicle’s records. Per state law, only licensed dealers and individuals with their names on the title can sell an automobile.

Curbstoning is a type of fraudulent sale that happens when the seller is not a licensed dealer and/or their name is not on the title. To prevent curbstoning and for further guidance, residents can contact the DOJ by mail ( or the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) by phone (406-444-3661, option 3).

Inspect & Test Drive

Before finalizing the purchase, take the vehicle for a test drive to ensure it works properly and operates as preferred. Furthermore, individuals can legally hire a mechanic to look it over and ascertain it does not need major repairs. Buyers who opt to take this route should inform the seller and set a time and date to prevent miscommunication.

Check Vehicle History

Learning about the car’s accident and repair history helps to establish a larger picture of its background. This process can save the buyer hundreds or thousands of dollars in repair work.

Furthermore, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) provides data about the automobile, including its title state, last title date, brand history (i.e., junk, previously flooded, hail damage, etc.), odometer reading, total loss history, and salvage history.

Carfax and AutoCheck also provide an extensive vehicle history, although they generally charge a small fee. In addition, the state of Montana offers the MVD Online Vehicle Search Service, which gives the owner’s information, title history, and registration information for in-state titled vehicles.

Prevent Fraudulent Purchases

Compare the car’s odometer reading and the number(s) on the maintenance and inspection records to the disclosure on the title. These records should match; if they do not, the buyer should not purchase the vehicle, or they should look further into the situation. Vehicles newer than nine years (i.e., current year minus vehicle model year) must have a written mileage. Moreover, the VIN on the title must match that of the car. Buyers can find the VIN inside the driver’s door where the dashboard meets the windshield.

The potential buyer should check for oil change and maintenance stickers on the windows, door frames, glove box, and under the hood. In addition, they should 1) search for odometer change warning decals (federal law requires stickers if changes have occurred) and 2) look over the tires as cars under 20,000 miles generally have the originals.

Do Not Take License Plates

The seller must remove the license plates before transferring the keys and title. Buyers receive new plates during the title and registration process. However, first, they must obtain a 40-day temporary permit from a dealer or Montana County Treasurer’s office. Without these plates, law enforcement can pull over and fine drivers.

Record Sale

After the sale, the buyer should safely store documents relating to the transaction. They should have the seller’s name and address on file from the photocopied version of the reassigned title or another similar document. The bill of sale contains the necessary information for this purpose, making it an important document. It must include the car’s year, make, VIN, purchase price, sale date, and the buyer and seller’s name, address, driver’s license number, and signatures.

More Information

The state of Montana provides additional tips on buying a used car (DOJ and NMVTIS) and the DOJ lemon laws.

What are the Seller’s Tasks?

Sellers must follow a set of procedures to properly transfer their vehicle ownership. Montana provides residents with a checklist and buyer acknowledgment to ensure both parties complete the required steps.

Per state law, the buyer and seller must only complete the title in blue or black ink. It cannot have white-out marks, erasures, or scratched-out areas, or it becomes void. The document must also have the buyer’s name, address, and signature, as well as the odometer reading (cars 2011 or newer only), and the seller’s notarized signature. If the title does not contain the odometer reading, the seller must complete an Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form MV90A).

Follow State Laws

The owner’s name must appear on the title and registration. Each seller listed must sign in the presence of a notary public. However, if the owner is a business, notarization is not necessary. Furthermore, a person may not place a “for sale” car on land owned by another person unless the owner has provided written permission displayed on the vehicle.

Repay Liens (if applicable)

If the owner has an active loan on the vehicle, they must repay the debts before selling. The state can also take out liens on the car when a person does not pay child support or make other required payments. Therefore, the owner must check their current status to ensure there are no delays with the transaction.

The security interest or lienholder’s name must appear on the front of the title. Furthermore, they must complete and sign a Release of Security Interest or Lien (Form MV37A) before transferring.

Accompany Driver or Mechanic

Buyers have a legal right to test drive the car before purchasing; however, it is a good idea for sellers to check with their insurance company beforehand to verify there are no additional requirements. The owner should also request the potential purchaser present their current, up-to-date driver’s license. For further safety, the seller can accompany the driver by riding as the passenger.

If the buyer decides to have a mechanic inspect it, the two (2) parties should agree with the evaluation before it happens. They should choose a location and time and decide who is paying for the examination.

Remove License Plates

The seller should never allow the buyer to drive away with the license plates attached. If this happens, the seller becomes responsible for damages, parking tickets, and traffic violations on the driver’s behalf. Since the buyer needs temporary plates to drive the vehicle, both parties should meet at the County Treasurer’s office to transfer the title. The seller can sign in the presence of the clerk (rather than a notary public), while the buyer can finalize the sale, pay the required fees, and obtain their new plates.

After removing the plates, the seller can move them to another vehicle through the County Treasurer’s office. Classic cars and personalized plates can transfer to the buyer if both parties complete a Statement of Facts (Form MV100) to relieve the seller from liability.

Record Transaction

The seller should place the buyer’s name and address in long-term storage. This information can appear on a photocopy of the reassigned title or document with the opposing party’s full name, address, driver’s license number, and the car’s year, VIN, make, purchase amount, and sale date. A completed and signed bill of sale satisfies these requirements.

Cancel Insurance & Registration

The previous owner does not need to notify the County Treasurer’s office or renew their registration on the sold car. Nonetheless, they must contact their insurance company to cancel their policy or transfer it to another vehicle.

How to Register a Car in Montana (3 Steps)

The Vehicle Services Bureau (VSB) handles car titling and registration; however, obtaining this documentation must happen at the car owner’s nearest County Treasurer’s office. Titling and registration must happen simultaneously, except for pickup campers, which do not require registration.

The buyer has forty (40) days from the purchase date to transfer vehicle ownership (i.e., apply for title and registration at County Treasurer’s office). The county assesses a $10 late fee if they miss the deadline. New residents, on the other hand, have sixty (60) days after establishing residency to register and title their vehicle before penalties accrue.

The MVD Headquarters (302 N Roberts, Helena, MT 59620) takes care of unique transactions and titling issues. Customers and businesses have special ID numbers, with the individual’s being their driver’s license or state ID number and the company’s being their federal employer or tax ID number.

Montana is one of seven states that does not have a car safety or emissions inspection requirement. The owner must obtain a VIN inspection if 1) the vehicle identity is in question (stage I inspection) and 2) the car is an out-of-state or Montana salvage with a certificate (stage III inspection).

Step 1 – Insurance

All drivers in Montana must have an active insurance policy on their vehicle (§ 61-3-301). A copy of the plan must stay in a safe storage place within the car. Law enforcement can demand it upon request, and the driver must have it in case they get into an accident.

The policy must have the following coverage:

  • $25,000 for the bodily injury of one (1) person;
  • $50,000 for the bodily injury of two (2) or more people; and
  • $20,000 for property damage.

Step 2 – Title & Registration

The owner must complete the title and registration application at their nearby county treasurer’s office. Dealers will take care of this process if purchased through their in-state office.

The issuance of the registration and license plates occurs after titling. The registration receipt must stay in the glovebox (or another safe place) within the vehicle for reference as needed.

Buyers who purchased a vehicle without a title record should reference the Bonded Title section of the state’s website.

Bring the Following:

Step 3 – Renew

A Montana vehicle registration lasts for one (1) or two (2) years, depending on the selection during titling and registration. Permanent registrations do not require renewal. Re-application can occur online or with the owner’s current county treasurer.

Residents who move to another county can use their plates until the registration expires. Upon renewal, they must update their information with the previous and current County Treasurers. Owners of vehicles with a permanent registration do not need to notify the office. However, under all circumstances, the individual must inform the MVD Driver Services Bureau within ten (10) days of the move.

Sellers without a valid title or owners who lose their title must apply for a new document. The state requires an Application for Replacement Certificate of Title (MV7), Bill of Sale (MV24), if selling, and an Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle (MV1).