Gifting a Car in Pennsylvania

To gift a car in Pennsylvania, you must own the vehicle outright, complete an Affidavit of Gift form, and complete a bill of sale to transfer ownership.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
To gift a car in
, you’ll need to complete the regular title transfer process, fill out an Affidavit of Gift form, and pay the title and
  • Gifting a car in Pennsylvania is fairly straightforward but it's a good idea to bring the recipient to the dealership and include them in the 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 Bureau of Motor Vehicles office.
  • Factor in the car’s future costs, like fuel, maintenance, and
    Pennsylvania car insurance

How to buy a car as a gift in Pennsylvania

You can only gift a car to a family member or another person if there are no
on the vehicle. If you want to give someone the gift of a new vehicle, the easiest way to do it is to bring the lucky individual car shopping with you. 
Making them a part of the
buying and financing process
ensures that they will get just the car they want and that the titling paperwork will be done correctly to avoid any future legal or financial issues. 
If you do choose to purchase the vehicle without the new owner, you’ll need to either pay cash for the car, transfer the lien to the giftee, or pay off the loan and get a letter from the lienholder showing the lien is satisfied before the gift recipient can be made the owner of the vehicle.

How to gift a used car in Pennsylvania

If you already own a vehicle free and clear that you want to give as a gift, you can
transfer the title
to the recipient. It can be an old car, one you bought outright, or one you just paid off—as long as you have the title, you can give it away as a gift. 
The process is pretty straightforward and only requires a few additional forms. Plus, in Pennsylvania, a gifted car qualifies for tax exemption!

Negotiate the terms of the gift with your recipient

Even as a tax-free gift, there are still fees associated with the gifting process—not to mention the regular costs of owning a car. You and the new car owners need to negotiate who will pay these expenses.
Here are a few of the costs you should discuss with your recipient:
Pennsylvania average
Title transfer fee
Registration fee
$1,869 (liability only)
$2,306 (full coverage) per year
$1,100 per year
$700 to $1,000 per year

Record the gift with an affidavit of gift form

In Pennsylvania, you have to complete an additional form to certify that the car is, in fact, a tax-exempt gift. Fill out the
Affidavit of Gift
form (MV 13ST), and make sure both you and the recipient sign it. 
Note: If the vehicle was
purchased out-of-state
, you will need to provide proof of sales tax paid in that state. You will also need to provide a tracing of the vehicle identification number (VIN).
Be sure to bring this completed form with you to the DMV to complete the title transfer.

Transfer the vehicle title

Transferring a vehicle title
legally transfers ownership of the vehicle, and both you and the recipient will need to go to a Pennsylvania Bureau of Motor Vehicles location together to complete it. Most of the forms required to complete a title transfer can only be obtained from an authorized PennDOT agent at the DMV—plus many require a notary stamp, which the DMV agents can provide.
Be sure to bring the following with you:
  • Valid driver’s licenses for proof of identification for both you and the vehicle’s recipient
  • Proof of insurance
    for the vehicle’s recipient
  • Completed form MV 13ST 
  • Pennsylvania certificate of title or out-of-state title
  • Other proof of ownership, such as a Manufacturer Certificate of Origin if you don’t have a title
Be sure to keep the gifted car’s license plates: In Pennsylvania,
license plates
can only be transferred between vehicles owned by the same person.
There are several steps in the title transfer process, so we’ve outlined them for you here:
  • Fill out the information on the back of the car’s title: You and the recipient will need to fill out any required information on the back of the title, including the odometer reading. Be sure to write “gift” in the “purchase price” section—this will ensure neither you nor the recipient gets stuck paying
    sales tax
  • Complete form MV-1: To transfer the title, an Application for Certificate of Title (Form MV-1) must be completed by the car’s new owner. This form can only be obtained at the DMV.
  • Complete form MV 4ST: You will also need to fill out a Vehicle Sales and Use Tax Return/Application for Registration form (MV 4ST). This must also be obtained at the DMV
  • Complete a
    bill of sale
    : This will officially transfer ownership of the car from you to the new owner. Write “gift” in the sales price area.
Once you’ve filled out your forms and paid your fees, the new owner is set to complete vehicle registration. If additional fees, documents, or procedures are needed (emissions test,
safety inspection
, etc) a PennDOT representative will let you know. 

Purchase Pennsylvania liability insurance—or full coverage

You’ll be required to provide proof of
car insurance
for the new registration, so make sure that you get an insurance policy that meets Pennsylvania’s
minimum legal requirements
. Now your lucky giftee is ready to hit the road! 
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