A California bill of sale is an important document that helps provide an extra layer of protection for buyers and sellers during a vehicle purchase. The vehicle bill of sale is a receipt that contains detailed information about the transaction, such as the personal data of both parties involved in the sale and specific information about the motor vehicle in question.

While a car bill of sale may prove invaluable to both the seller and the buyer due to the data it contains, having a form may also be useful when performing procedures like car title transfers. An auto bill of sale (Form REG 135) is available for vehicle-related procedures through the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Learn about completing the form and when you may need it by reviewing the sections below.

When is a bill of sale necessary in California?

Presenting a California bill of sale form that bears the legal signature of the vehicle seller is a necessary step in certain situations. For instance, a vehicle bill of sale can be used to resolve potential issues regarding the current vehicle ownership.

The document is also needed in order to finalize certain transactions with the state DMV. For instance, while a DMV bill of sale is not typically required when transferring ownership of a vehicle, you may be required to submit one if the vehicle in question was previously owned by several individuals. In such cases, you may need to prove the chain of ownership by submitting separate forms that document all previous car owners.

A CA DMV bill of sale is also important for other special vehicle-related transactions as well. For example, filling out a template is important when completing car registration procedures for a specially constructed vehicle or when selling a car with a previous junk status.

The bill of sale form used in this case must document the provenance of the major parts used in the reconstruction of the vehicle, such as the frame, body and engine. Official forms can also be used to sell a trailer, in the event that the current owner has not acquired a paper title registration or to release ownership of a vehicle transferred as a gift.

Who needs a California bill of sale?

Since a California bill of sale PDF contains sections for the selling price of the vehicle, the sale date and the names and addresses of both the buyer and the seller, this document is an important addition to the vehicle paperwork of all interested parties. A bill of sale template, therefore, can prove valuable for other purposes as well, due to the type of information it contains. For example, the buyer can use a simple bill of sale to report the exact vehicle purchase price for tax purposes or to prove the legitimacy of the sale with the seller’s signature displayed on the form.

The generic bill of sale sheet can be used by sellers when filling out the DMV Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability, which must be submitted within five days of concluding the vehicle sale. Reporting the change of ownership to the state DMV is an important step, since it releases the seller from future liability for traffic violations. Keeping a CA bill of sale copy is a good idea for both the seller and buyer of a vehicle for vehicles not purchased at car dealerships, since the form may be necessary in several other situations.

How to Complete a Bill of Sale Form in California

When filling out the California sample bill of sale, vehicle owners will be required to input several types of information, which will vary depending on whether they are completing the form as the buyer or the seller. The REG 135 Bill of Sale form provided by the DMV includes blank fields for the following pieces of information:

  • Vehicle description fields for the vehicle identification number (VIN), year, model, make and license plate number
  • Fields for the seller’s and buyer’s names, date of purchase and selling price or gift value
  • Fields for the seller’s signature, address and official California drivers license number
  • Fields for the buyer’s address and printed name

Note: Even if you obtain a blank bill of sale in CA other than the REG 135 form, your completed document must still contain the information stated above.

To finalize certain vehicle transactions that require a CA vehicle bill of sale, DMV customers will typically be required to submit the form in person through a nearby DMV office. However, depending on the type of business you are conducting with the department, additional application methods may also be available.

Prior to signing the car bill of sale as the seller, you have the option of requesting a vehicle history report, which will help you to accurately fill out the agreement. This report is particularly useful for buyers, however, as they can use it to ensure they are paying a fair price for the vehicle.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.