When gifting a car, what is required to transfer the title in CA? California

Gifting a Car

When giving a car as a gift, you must fill out several forms before you can get a title transfer. These forms are available at a CA DMV office or on the California Web site.

Note that:

  • Both the previous owner and the new owner must sign these forms.
  • You'll need to find out what the current real market value of the car is. You can check out Kelley Blue Book or the like to figure it out.
  • You must fill out a Statement of Facts form and write down the car’s market value here. This functions as a bill of sale.
  • You must fill out a Statement of Use Tax Exemption. This prevents new owners from having to pay use taxes on vehicles as gifts.

The previous owner must also give the new owner a smog certification. These are only good for 90 days after the emissions testing.

Smog Test Exemptions

You do not have to do the smog check if:

  • A smog check was performed within the last 90 days for vehicle registration.
  • The car is being given to a relative, specifically a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, grandparent, or sibling.
  • The car is fewer than four years old.

Title Transfer Completion

Once you have all your forms in order, the old owner must sign the car title and the new owner signs in the new owner slot.

Regarding mileage, remember:

  • You must write down the car’s mileage in the odometer reading section, if the car is 10 years old or newer.
  • If there is no space for the mileage, then write the mileage on a different form. The Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form (REG 262) is only available at a DMV office or by calling the DMV and having it mailed out to you. The number is (800) 777-0133. 

Lost Title?

The DMV will replace titles that are lost or torn up beyond reading. You must fill out an Application for a Duplicate Title, have it notarized, and take it in with you to the DMV when you get your new title.

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