Gifting a Car in West Virginia

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Sarah Gray
· 5 min read
To avoid the taxes and fees associated with private vehicle sales in the state of
West Virginia
, car owners can gift their vehicle by paying a title transfer fee and submitting an Affidavit of Transfer of Ownership Without Consideration, certifying the car is a gift.
  • When gifting someone a brand new vehicle, bring them to the dealership to make them part of the car-buying process.
  • To gift a car you already own, be sure to record it with a bill of sale before you transfer the title.

How to buy a new car as a gift in West Virginia

If you want to gift a new car to someone, but you’re not able to pay full price for the vehicle upfront, the easiest way is to bring the recipient with you to the dealership and involve them in the selection and financing process. 
This is because you can only gift a vehicle if you own it outright. 
So, if you want to buy your daughter a car but you can’t afford to pay cash outright, embrace the opportunity to make her a part of the car-buying process. This ensures she gets the car she really wants while you avoid any legal or financial troubles.
Key Takeaway Unless you can pay full value for the vehicle outright, the best way to gift a new car is to involve the gift recipient in the vehicle purchase process. 

How to gift a used car in West Virginia

Whatever the reason or occasion for gifting a vehicle in West Virginia, the process involves the following major steps: 

1. Negotiate the terms of the gift with your recipient

Even though the car is a gift, there are still some fees associated with the
title transfer
, and, of course, forms that need to be filled out. Even if you plan to pay the fees yourself, you’ll still need some signatures from the recipient to complete the title transfer.
Transferring a title in
West Virginia
requires a $15 transfer fee, so you’ll need to determine whether you or your gift recipient will pay it.
Remember other ownership costs: Beyond that initial purchase price, vehicle ownership comes with maintenance and insurance costs—regardless of whether the car is a gift or not. You’ll need to discuss who will be responsible for the costs of ownership associated with the vehicle to ensure you’re not overburdening you or the new owner with your so-called gift.
Here’s are some of the key costs you should discuss with the recipient:
West Virginia average
Title transfer
Registration fee
$1,731 (liability only), $2,019 (full coverage) per year
$373 per year
$1,136 per year

2. Record of the gift with a bill of sale

Even if no money is changing hands, you still need to make a legal record of the transaction, and the
West Virginia Bill of Sale
does that. Be sure to keep a copy of the notarized bill of sale in your records to protect yourself from any potential legal snafus down the line. 
Both the vehicle owner and the gift recipient must sign the bill of sale. You’ll need to get it notarized before taking it to the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to complete the title transfer. 

3. Transfer the vehicle title

This is the most important step in the gifting process: Without a transfer of title, your recipient does not legally own the vehicle you’re giving them. Fortunately, the West Virginia title transfer process is relatively straightforward.
Both you and your recipient should fill out the ownership transfer section on the back of the title and sign it. 
Remember: You can only gift a West Virginia vehicle if you own it outright. If you still have a car loan on a vehicle you want to gift, you’ll need to pay off the balance and have the lien release reflected on your title before you can transfer it.
If you don’t have the original vehicle title: You will both need to fill out an
Application for Duplicate Title (DMV-4-TR)
You and your recipient should fill out and sign the vehicle title, or an
Application for Replacement or Transfer of Title (REG-227)
if you don’t have the original. Be sure to indicate that the car is being transferred as a gift. 
If it’s an out-of-state title: The recipient would present the title of the out-of-state vehicle to the West Virginia DMV along with a completed
Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle (DMV-1-TR)
You’ll need to provide information such as:
  • The odometer reading
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • The vehicle make and model year
In addition to the title, you will need to fill out an
Affidavit of Transfer of Ownership Without Consideration (DMV-5-TR)
for sales tax exemption. 
Per West Virginia law, no affidavit is required for transfers of title between parents and children or between spouses—but if you choose not to submit the affidavit, you will be charged tax on the book value of the vehicle, no matter what your relationship is to the gift recipient.
Now that your paperwork is completed, bring it and the title transfer fee to your nearest WV DMV office where you’ll be able to complete the vehicle registration. Title transfer and registration must be completed within 30 days of the gift.

4. Purchase West Virginia liability insurance—or full coverage

No matter who’s paying for the insurance, be sure your gifted car is covered with at least the
minimum car insurance required in West Virginia
. Once this step is complete and the vehicle registration is taken care of, your gift recipient is ready to hit the road!
“When using
, I was impressed at how their representative took care of my situation. He was so knowledgeable about my state’s insurance laws!” —Rabi B. 
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As long as you submit a complete Affidavit of Transfer of Ownership Without Consideration, you’re not required to pay use tax on a vehicle you receive as a gift in West Virginia.
The DMV has a gift process for a reason—it’s the most legitimate way to transfer a car as a gift in West Virginia and the safest bet if you’re not planning to sell the car for a fair market price.
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