Missouri Abandoned Vehicle Title

Missouri allows you to lay claim to and title a vehicle that’s been abandoned on your property.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Amy Bobinger
The
Missouri
Motor Vehicle Bureau has designed a process by which private property owners may
lay claim to an abandoned vehicle
on their property. There are several steps involved, but the process itself is cheap and fairly easy to follow.

What is an abandoned vehicle title?

An abandoned vehicle title allows you to lay legal claim to and
register a vehicle
that has been abandoned on your property. But to better understand this type of title, we need to backtrack a bit.
The laws surrounding abandoned property differ by state. Missouri law states that a vehicle is considered abandoned if it has been left on public or private property or along a roadway without notice, unclaimed and unattended for a period of 45 days or more. After this period of time has passed, you can begin the process to claim legal ownership of the vehicle by applying for a
certificate of title
If you find an abandoned vehicle, don’t tamper with it or move it until you’re given the okay by your local law enforcement agency.
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Can you claim an abandoned vehicle in Missouri?

Yes—but there’s a specific process you must follow to do so legally. We’ve broken it down for you here.

1. Complete a general affidavit describing the abandoned property

Your first step in the process of claiming an abandoned vehicle is to complete a General Affidavit (
Form 768
). This affidavit should include the following information:
  • Printed name of the owner of the real property where the vehicle is abandoned
  • Address of the real property where the vehicle is abandoned
  • A description of the abandoned vehicle, including the year, makes, model, vehicle identification number (VIN), and any decals or
    license plates
    affixed to the vehicle.
  • A statement explaining the circumstances by which you came into possession of the abandoned property
  • The retail or fair market value of the vehicle. You can obtain this value from a licensed dealer or by using the
    NADA Price Guide
    .

2. Report the abandoned vehicle for inspection

According to
Missouri Revised Statutes (RSMO) 301.193
, before you can begin the process of titling an abandoned vehicle on your property, you must first report it to law enforcement. 
After you file the report, law enforcement will check the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and statewide records to see if the vehicle was reported stolen and to find the name and address of the last known title or lienholder. They will also complete a Vehicle Examination Certificate (
Form 551
), which you will need when applying for the title. 
  • If you’re applying for an original title that will let you license and drive the vehicle, Form 551 must be completed by an authorized officer of the
    Missouri State Highway Patrol
    (or the Auto Theft Bureau if you’re in the city or county of
    St. Louis
    ). If the abandoned vehicle is a trailer, the officer may complete an Application for Vehicle/Trailer Identification Number Plate or Verification (
    Form 5062
    ) instead of the VEC.
  • If you’re applying for a
    salvage title
    to keep the vehicle and use it for parts, or to repair it, the Form 551 for vehicles or Form 5062 may be completed by any law enforcement officer.
  • If you’re applying for a junking certificate to sell the vehicle for scrap, you will only need Form 5062 and it can be completed by any law enforcement officer. 
You can obtain Form 551 either at your
local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office
or the Central Department of Revenue (DOR) Office in the Harry S. Truman Building, Room 370; 301 West High Street,
Jefferson City
, Missouri. You will be charged a $25 fee to obtain this form. If you’ll be junking the vehicle, you only need Form 5062, which can be obtained at your local DMV office at no fee.
When the inspection is completed, law enforcement will indicate on Form 551 or 5062 if the abandoned vehicle was reported stolen. They will provide the name and address of the last registered owner(s) or lienholder(s), so you may begin the next step in the claims process.

3. Notify last registered owner or lienholder of your intent to claim the vehicle

At least thirty days before you plan to apply for an abandoned vehicle title, you must notify the last registered vehicle owner or lienholder of record of your intent to claim the property. This allows them the chance to protect their interest in the abandoned property by protesting the issuance of a title to you.
To notify the owner(s) or lienholder(s), you should complete a Notice to Owner(s) and/or Lienholder(s) Regarding Abandoned Vehicle, ATV, Vessel, Watercraft, Outboard Motor, and/or Trailer (
Form 5227
), and send it to the address provided by law enforcement on Form 551 or 5062 via certified mail. 
Be sure to keep a copy of Form 5227 for yourself along with the signed certified mail receipt, as you will need it when applying for the title. If the certified mail notice is returned, you should submit a copy of the return stamped “No Forwarding Address” or “Addressee Unknown” by USPS when applying for the title.

Submit completed forms and documents to apply for title

Once at least thirty days have passed, you can send in your document to apply for your Missouri Certificate of Title. All completed forms, documents, and applicable fees should be mailed to:
Motor Vehicle Bureau
PO Box 2076
Jefferson City, MO 65105-2076
You will need to include all of the following required documents:
  • Completed General Affidavit (Form 768)
  • Completed Application for Missouri Title and License (
    Form 108
    ). The title must be checked as “Original,” “Salvage,” or “Junking.”
  • Completed Vehicle Examination Certificate (Form 551) OR Application for Vehicle/Trailer Identification Number Plate or Verification (Form 5062)
  • Copy of Notification Letter (Form 5227) and signed certified mail receipt(s) to last registered owner(s) or lienholder(s)
  • Copy of returned certified mail notice marked “No Forwarding Address” or “Addressee Unknown” (if applicable)
  • Check or money order for title and processing fees.
Motor vehicle, trailer, and ATV–$8.50 title fee, plus $6 processing fee
If you’re applying for a junking certificate, send only the $6 processing fee
  • Check or money order for State and local taxes (if applicable)
Missouri State Sales Tax
on motor vehicles is set at 4.225 percent and should be calculated based on the value assigned to the vehicle on the General Affidavit (Form 768)
Local sales tax is determined by your address, and is also calculated on the value assigned to the vehicle on the General Affidavit (Form 768)
Once all documents are received, the Department of Revenue will perform a search to verify the vehicle is not titled or registered in another state and that all notifications have been properly made. Once this is complete, the Department will issue a title in accordance with the inspection report completed by law enforcement (Form 551), or a junking certificate if you’ve indicated the vehicle is to be scrapped.

How much does it cost to register an abandoned motor vehicle in Missouri?

Registering an abandoned vehicle in Missouri is pretty cheap—especially if you plan to junk it. Here is a list of the expenses fees and taxes you may be required to pay:
  • Vehicle Inspection Fee: $25 
  • Fee for certified mail: $3.75–$6.80, plus postage
  • Title Fee: $8.50
  • Processing Fee: $6
  • State and local sales tax: (varies)
If you’re applying for a junking certificate, the $25 inspection fee and $8.50 title fee don’t apply.
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FAQs

Yes. The
Missouri Department of Revenue
has established a process by which owners of private property can claim abandoned vehicles left on that property. It takes a bit of time, and there are several steps involved, but the process is largely inexpensive.
To report an abandoned vehicle in Missouri, you should call the non-emergency number of your local law enforcement. They will help you handle the process of either having the vehicle removed, or beginning the process to claim the vehicle as your own.
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