Gifting a Car in Utah

To gift a car in Utah, you’ll need to complete a title transfer, pay $12 in fees, and complete an emissions test.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Edited by Jessica Barrett
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If you want to gift a car in the state of
Utah
, you’ll need to
transfer the car title
, pass
an emissions test
, and pay any applicable fees.
  • If you own the vehicle you’re gifting outright, you simply need to complete the Utah title transfer process.
  • You cannot gift a car with a lien on it—so if you’re financing the vehicle you want to gift, bring the recipient to the dealership with you.
  • It will cost around $12 to complete the title transfer and $25 to $30 to complete emissions testing.

How to buy a car as a gift in Utah

The easiest way to
buy a new car
as a gift in Utah is to bring the intended recipient to the dealership so they can participate in the shopping and financing. You could cosign for a loan and agree to pay it off for the giftee.

How to gift a used car in Utah

It’s much easier to gift a vehicle that you already own outright—all you need to do is complete a Utah title transfer.
You can’t gift a car if it has a lien on it because you need to be the primary title holder to transfer it. While your car is under loan, the title is held by the lienholder.
Because cars depreciate so quickly, paying in full to buy a used model as a gift is more attainable for many people than paying in cash to buy something brand new.
New car or old, surprise or not, you’ll want to follow the steps outlined below to ensure the gifting process goes well.

Negotiate the terms of the gift with your recipient

Through the excitement and hubbub of the recipient learning they’re receiving a new vehicle, remember that this process does involve some costs. 
Transferring a title typically comes with fees, and there are regular costs associated with car ownership:
  • Utah title transfer fee/change of name: $12
  • Emissions testing: $25 to $30
You’ll need to decide who’s going to pay said fees, as well as who’s going to be responsible for car maintenance,
car insurance
, gas, and other ongoing vehicle expenses.

Record the gift with a bill of sale

Is a bill of sale really necessary for a gift? Not in Utah—but the state does recommend completing a bill of sale, even for a gifted vehicle to a family member.
A bill of sale proves the seller/gifter has legally transferred ownership of the vehicle to the recipient/new owner and could spare you from legal consequences down the road.
To cover all your bases, write the purchase date (or gift date) and “GIFT/$0” under the purchase price on the bill of sale. That way, sales tax should not apply.

Transfer the vehicle title

Next, transfer the title to the recipient so they can legally own the car. 
To transfer the title, you will need to:
  • Complete the back of the certificate of title
  • Give the signed title to the recipient
  • Give the recipient a current emissions inspection certificate
  • Give an
    Odometer Disclosure Statement
    (essentially a current odometer reading) if the car is 9 years old or younger
  • Provide the recipient with the current
    vehicle registration
  • Provide the recipient with basic vehicle information, like the vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Remove the license plates (these do not transfer)
  • Notify the Utah DMV of the sale/gift
If you’ve lost your title, you should first
request a duplicate title
from the DMV.
To notify the DMV of the “sale” (i.e., gift), you will need to send a letter including the full description of the vehicle to: 
Division of Motor Vehicles
Suspended Transaction Unit
PO Box 30412
Salt Lake City, Utah 84130
Once all that tedious paperwork is finished, you can bring it to the DMV to register the vehicle in the recipient’s name. Registration fees vary based on the age of the vehicle but range from $74 to $214 as of 2023.

Make sure the vehicle is properly insured

The last—and perhaps most important step—of gifting a vehicle is making sure the car is covered with car insurance that meets
Utah’s minimum requirements
. Without insurance, the gift recipient won’t be able to drive the car!
Either you or the giftee will need to secure
liability coverage
and
personal injury protection (PIP)
. But if possible, it’s better to carry
full-coverage car insurance
. Lienholders/lenders will require this if you took out a car loan for the vehicle.
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