Gifting a Car in New Jersey

You can gift a car in New Jersey as long as you complete a vehicle title transfer at your local DMV and pay the $60 fee.
Written by Andrea Barrett
Edited by Bellina Gaskey
Reviewed by Georgina Grant
Buying a car as a gift to a friend or family member is beyond generous, but in order to officially transfer ownership of a vehicle in
New Jersey
, you must complete a
vehicle title transfer
and pay a $60 title transfer fee.
  • You must hold a
    clean title
    in order to gift a car.
  • Bring the gift recipient with you to the dealership to make the process easier.
  • Fill out a bill of sale like you would if you were selling a car, but list the sale price as $0.
  • Be sure you and the giftee are on the same page when it comes to who will pay for the title and registration fees, as well as the
    car insurance
    , maintenance, and fuel costs.

How to buy a car as a gift in New Jersey

The easiest way to avoid duplicate fees and extra paperwork when gifting a new car in New Jersey is to take the recipient directly to the car dealership with you. That way, they’re able to choose the car they want and be involved in the financing process. 
If you’re unable to purchase the car in cash, you and your giftee could cosign on a
car loan
while you agree to take full responsibility for paying the loan off. By doing this, the recipient's name will be included on the paperwork and they will be able to take legal ownership of the vehicle.
Key Takeaway A gifted car must be paid off to legally transfer ownership. If you need to purchase the car with a loan, bring the giftee into the process to speed up the process.

How to gift a used car in New Jersey

If your heart is set on putting a big bow on a vehicle in the driveway, consider gifting a used car. Because vehicles depreciate quickly, a used car is easier and cheaper to buy outright. If you you’re willing to pass down an old vehicle of yours, that works, too! 
In general, gifting a paid-off vehicle simply requires a title transfer—an easier process than gifting a brand-new car.
Before you transfer the title: If there is a lienholder on the car’s New Jersey title, you must get a lien release letter from the bank stating the loan has been settled.
Ready to make someone’s day? Here’s how to legally gift a car in New Jersey.

1. Negotiate the terms of the gift with your recipient

Receiving a car as a gift is exciting, but once the thrill subsides, make sure the giftee understands the responsibility and fees that come with car ownership.
  • Transfer fees: You must pay a $60 title transfer fee to transfer a vehicle title in New Jersey. If the vehicle has existing registration, there is an additional $4.50 fee to transfer the registration to the new owner. Other fees may apply to your unique situation, so check with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to be sure.
  • Ownership costs: Your giftee should anticipate the regular costs of owning a car like maintenance costs, license plate fees, insurance, gas, and more. Discuss these expenses together and decide who is responsible for paying what. 
Here are some of the costs associated with owning a car in New Jersey:
New Jersey average
Title transfer
Registration fee
$2,295 (liability only), $2,826 (full coverage) per year
$1,186 per year
$1,500–$2,500 per year
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2. Keep a record of the gift with a bill of sale

Regardless of whether money was exchanged or not, it’s always a good idea to write a bill of sale—just list the purchase price as $0. 
A New Jersey bill of sale is an official document that contains information about the vehicle and outlines your agreement terms with the other party to safeguard you against consequences down the road. 
Make it legal: Both parties involved should sign the bill of sale to confirm the agreement.

3. Transfer the vehicle title

To transfer a car title in New Jersey, here’s what you need to do.
For the seller: 
1. Remove the vehicle’s plates and
them to your local motor vehicle agency (unless the plate is being transferred to another car that you own)
2. Sign the seller’s portion on the back of the title and give it to the new buyer
3. Give the buyer a bill of sale that includes: 
For the buyer:
1. Sign the buyer's section on the backside of the certificate of title and fill out your driver’s license number
2. Visit your
local NJ MVC
to transfer the vehicle title, complete the
Vehicle Registration Application
(Form BA-49), and get new plates for your car
3. Reassigned titles must be transferred within 10 working days of the sale date to avoid a $25 penalty
Additional certifications:
  • The gifted vehicle may be required to undergo a
    smog certification or vehicle inspection
    , especially if it is more than four years old
  • New Jersey requires all vehicles to be inspected every two years, with the exception of new vehicles that must be inspected every five years
  • If your vehicle fails the emissions inspection, you must have it repaired and retested within the deadline stated on your vehicle inspection report

4. Purchase New Jersey liability insurance—or full coverage

Now that you’ve produced your bill of sale and transferred the vehicle title, it’s time to shop for car insurance. You’ll need at least basic liability insurance that meets the
minimum insurance requirements for New Jersey
, or you can bump up to full coverage for better protection.
really just saved me $954 on my new car insurance payment. I’m feeling great!” —Irene M.


No! New Jersey does not charge sales tax on gifted vehicles. However, they may require documentation of the gift.
If you’re not planning to sell your vehicle, gifting it is a great option. The New Jersey MVC has streamlined the gifting process so you can legally transfer a car to a new owner with ease.
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