Wisconsin Title Transfer: The Step-by-Step Process

A title transfer is required in Wisconsin to prove ownership if you bought a new or used car. The title transfer is required if you sold, donated, or gifted your car, too.

The title transfer process is easy in the state of Wisconsin requiring a few steps filing info, paying fees, and submitting paperwork.

Wisconsin Auto Title Transfers: How It’s Done

Selling your vehicle or buying one through a private sale? You usually have about 30-days until you need to register the vehicle.

This is the process (including both parties):

  1. Retrieve the vehicle’s title or request a duplicate title
    1. Note: You may need a lien release from the current owner
  2. Fill the title transfer section on the Wisconsin certificate of title – including:
    1. Full legal name and address of purchaser and current owner
    2. Date of sale (month, day, and year)
    3. Odometer reading (if applicable)
  3. Complete the MV-1 application form
    1. Owner/applicant information
    2. A vehicle, mobile home, or vessel description
    3. Odometer declaration if the seller (vehicles 10yrs and older)
    4. Application signatures
  4. Bring the necessary, personal documents:
    1. Proof of identification
    2. Proof of insurance
    3. Documents stating any liens have been paid
    4. Bill of sale
  5. Pay the taxes and fees
    1. Title: $69.50
    2. In-person fee: $5
    3. Sales tax: 5%
    4. County/state tax: variable

* The title transfer may happen when receiving a duplicate title.

Always keep copies of the bill of sale for record-keeping.

Dealerships, Out-of-state Vehicles, Inherited, and Gifted Vehicles

Wisconsin wants to know when titles are transferred outside of private sales whether buying from a car lot or passing the vehicle & title around family and friends.

Dealerships Vehicles

Dealerships will process your title & registration, sending documents to their appropriate locations. If they don’t, request the forms and deliver them to a WI DMV. They will complete the MV-1 form and do the process as noted in the section above.

Out-of-state Vehicles

Transferring your out-of-state title requires you to file the MV-1 application. You’ll also need to provide proof of insurance, ownership/lien, and pay the appropriate fees. You will also need to show proof you paid your sales tax from the original state if you’ve owned the car for less than 90-days.

Inheriting a Vehicle

Vehicles valued under $50,000 can transfer between family members. This involves filing the Form MV2300, showing the title certificate, completing the MV-1 form, and paying the transfer fees. Vehicles higher than this price requires representative papers from the court before you can sell.

You can sell the vehicle before it goes into your name by filing the same MV2300 form and doing the title transfer to the buyer in this process.

Gifted/Donated Vehicles

The process of gifting or donating your vehicle is largely the same as passing it to a family member. You will complete the process much like transferring a title through private sales. Except, you’ll typically be eligible for a tax credit because it’s a gift/donated.