Gifting a Car in Missouri

Gifting a car in Missouri is fairly straightforward, but requires several forms, including a bill of sale, and general affidavit of gift.
Written by Joshua Levy
Edited by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
The legal process for gifting cars in
can be a little tricky. Before you give a car as a gift, you’ll need to make sure you file the right paperwork and that your car passes the required inspections.
  • Gifting a car in Missouri is fairly straightforward, but it's recommended you bring the recipient to the dealership and include them in the buying process.
  • Whether you’re gifting a new car or a used vehicle, follow the same process of negotiating terms and writing a bill of sale.
  • Complete the title transfer and
    registration process
    at the local Department of Revenue license office.
  • Factor in the car’s future costs, like fuel, maintenance, and
    car insurance

How to buy a car as a gift in Missouri

The easiest way to gift a car in Missouri is to bring the recipient to a dealership and have them sign for the car. You can always pay for the vehicle yourself, but having the recipient sign for the car could save you piles of paperwork.
Of course, if you’d rather keep the whole thing a surprise, you can always buy the car yourself and transfer it to the recipient. When you buy a car as a gift in Missouri, it’s actually no different than buying a car for yourself, but you’ll need to have the car inspected and
transfer the title
before you can officially give it away. 
This means: You can’t gift a car that has a
on it to a new owner. So before gifting the car, you’ll need to ensure it’s completely paid off and lien-free.

Transferring your gift car in Missouri

Whether you’re buying a new car as a gift for a family member or giving a car you already own, you’ll need to go through a transfer process to make sure everything goes smoothly (and legally!).

Negotiate the gift with your recipient

It goes without saying that car ownership is expensive. Aside from the upfront purchase price, car owners need to pay for gas, maintenance, repairs, car insurance, and yearly registration. 
That said, you should make sure your gift recipient is in a sound financial position to own a car before you gift it. If they are, it’s also important to ensure they know exactly what you’ll be paying for and what you won’t be.
Here’s a breakdown of the fees you’ll need to pay:
Car title fee
Registration fee
Title transfer fee
Vehicle gift transactions are exempt from
Missouri car sales tax
, so that’s one expense you won’t need to negotiate.

Record of the gift with a bill of sale

Yes, this is a gift, but a
bill of sale
creates a record of the transaction. To document the gift, The state of Missouri requires all gifters to fill out either a
Bill of Sale (Form 1957)
or a
Notice of Sale (Form 5049)
To ensure both you and your gift recipient have the information you need, make copies of the bill of sale for both your records.

Transfer the vehicle title

Finally, you’ll need to transfer the title to its new owner to verify the car has been gifted. To do so, you need to provide the new motor vehicle owner with the following:
  • Properly signed Certificate of Title with the word “GIFT” written in the purchase price/sales price area (do not use a sale price of $1)
  • Complete the odometer disclosure statement on the back of the title with a current odometer reading 
  • If the vehicle has an out-of-state title, you will need to complete the owners and vehicle/unit information sections of the
    Owner Out-of-State title Request (Form 5834)
    , which will allow the gift recipient to apply for a new title in Missouri
  • A
    safety inspection certificate
    and proof of vehicle identification number (VIN) less than 60 days old
  • An emissions inspection not more than 60 days old (emissions testing only required for recipients living in St. Louis City or Jefferson, St. Charles, or St. Louis County)
  • General Affidavit (Form 768)
    or a written statement indicating the motor vehicle is a gift
  • Lien Release (Form 4809)
    , or lien release letter from a lienholder, if applicable
Note: If this was a vehicle previously registered to you, be sure to keep the license plates. 
Once you’ve provided the new owner with all the necessary documents, it’s time for them to head to their local Missouri Department of Revenue License Office (MO DOR) to complete their
vehicle registration
. In addition to the above documents, they’ll need to bring:
Remember: Your gifted car qualifies for sales tax exemption, but you will still be responsible for paying Missouri property taxes on your new vehicle.

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Purchase Missouri liability insurance—or full coverage

Of course, you will need to make sure the gifted car is covered by good car insurance. To legally register the car and get it completely road-ready, the insurance policy will need to meet
Missouri’s minimum requirements for liability coverage
Plus, you or the new owner may want to invest in a
full coverage policy
with collision and comprehensive coverage to avoid paying out of pocket in the case of an accident.
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Missouri does not require you to pay tax on a gifted car, but you should report the transaction to the IRS if the car’s value is more than $15,000.
Missouri’s gifting process is in place for a reason. The state specifically requests that gifters do not list $1 in the sell price section of the original title.
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