Gifting a Car in Virginia

To gift a car in Virginia, bring the title to the DMV along with a bill of sale, a tax exemption statement, and a $15 title transfer fee.
Written by Sarah Gray
Edited by Pat Roache
To gift someone a car in
, you need to bring the title, a bill of sale or Vehicle Price Certification (Form SUT 1), and Purchasers Statement of Tax Exemption to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (VA DMV) office, along with a $15 title transfer fee.
  • The best way to gift a new car is to involve the recipient in the car buying process.
  • Decide with your recipient who will cover the upfront costs for the title transfer and vehicle registration and the ongoing costs of insurance and maintenance.
  • A gifted vehicle between family members is typically exempt from sales tax and use tax in the state of Virginia, so long as you submit all the necessary documents for the title transfer.

How to buy a car as a gift in Virginia

You can
buy a new car
as a gift in Virginia so long as it doesn’t have any
car liens
on the title.
What to do: It’s always best to bring your gift recipient to the dealership so they can pick out a car to their tastes and be involved in the financing process, if applicable. 
You have the following options if you need to take out a
car loan
when gifting a new vehicle in Virginia:
  • Involve the recipient in the financing process so they can co-sign their name to any financing agreements.
  • Pay off the car loan and request a lien release from your lienholder.
Key Takeaway Unless you can pay full price upfront, the best way to gift a new car is to involve the recipient in the shopping and financing process.

How to gift a used car in Virginia

You’ll need to follow the title transfer process at your local DMV to gift a vehicle that you already own. However, there are a few other steps to consider

1. Negotiate the terms of the gift with your recipient

Sit down with your gift recipient to talk about the ongoing expenses of car ownership and decide who will pay for what.
Keep in mind: In addition to upfront fees associated with transferring the title, and registering the vehicle, you’ll also need to consider ownership costs like
car insurance
and maintenance.
Here’s a table of the costs you should discuss with your recipient:
Virginia average
Title transfer
Registration fee
Use the
Virginia DMV’s fee chart
to determine your registration fee
$1,772 (liability only), $2,398 (full coverage) per year
$397 per year
$1,574 per year

2. Record of the gift with a bill of sale

Yes, this is a gift, but you still need to record the transaction through a bill of sale.
What to do: Mark the box on the bill of sale to indicate that the car is a gift rather than a private vehicle sale. You won’t need to enter a sale price, since no money is changing hands. 

3. Transfer the vehicle title

A vehicle title transfer is required to officially transfer ownership of a vehicle to a new owner.
To complete a Virginia title transfer, the recipient will need to bring the following to their local Virginia DMV Office:
Title transfer and
vehicle registration
can be completed on the same day at the DMV, but must be completed within 30 days of the gift exchange. For out-of-state titles, check out our guide to
buying a car in Virginia from out of state. 

4. Purchase Virginia liability insurance—or pay a fee

Before your gift recipient drives off in their new car, you both need to make sure they have enough
liability coverage
or have paid the $500 uninsured motorist fee required under Virginia law. You can use the
app to quickly find the insurance company with the lowest rates based on your driver profile. 
“I moved states recently and my old provider didn’t cover me anymore, so I tried using
. They handled everything from fetching the quotes to purchasing the new policy. Now I save $30 a month with Progressive!” —Kay J.
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