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Title and Registration FAQs
Why do I need new plates?

Idaho Statute 49-443(2) states that license plates shall be valid for a period of seven years beginning with the date of issuance of new plates. This law was passed based on the fact that the reflectivity of the plates deteriorates over time and the supplier of the reflective material does not guarantee it beyond seven years. It is important to Law Enforcement and all citizens to maintain the reflectivity of the plates for safety and identification purposes.

I just bought a vehicle and the seller didn't give me a title; what do I do?

You should go back to the seller and ask him for the title. Section 49-501(2), Idaho Code, requires the seller to provide a title in his name that has been properly assigned to you.

If the seller has lost the title and needs to obtain a duplicate or replacement title, have him arrange to have it mailed to you when issued, and obtain a power of attorney from him to sign it off on his behalf. 

If the seller doesn’t have the title and refuses to get one, ask for your money back. 

If the seller refuses to return your money or can no longer be found, you may be able to pursue either a conditional title – a title issued with the brand “ISSUED ON STATEMENT OF APPLICANT” – if the vehicle is at least 10 years old, or a bonded title if it is newer than that. Among other requirements, bonded titling would require you to obtain a surety bond worth one-and-a-half times the appraised value of the vehicle for three years. The title would carry the brand, “BONDED TITLE”. For these situations, contact your county assessor’s motor vehicle office for additional instructions.

If I bought a vehicle from someone who was not the titled owner, what do I do?

If that person is an Idaho resident and does not have an Idaho dealer’s license, he is required by Section 49-502(3), Idaho code to title the vehicle in his name first before it can be transferred to you. If you contact the seller and he refuses to title or can no longer be found, contact your county assessor’s motor vehicle office for guidance. You may be able to obtain a regular title if you have the last title, the seller released his interest to you, and you have met all other requirements for titling. If you do not have the title and/or do not have a release from the seller, you may be able to pursue a conditional title or bonded title (see #2 above.) 

If a seller who refuses to title is in Idaho, the Idaho Transportation Department and State Tax Commission will contact the seller to ensure he pays tax and any fees due along with any applicable interest and penalties.

Why do I need a VIN inspection?

A vehicle identification number inspection is required by section 49- 504(2), Idaho Code to title any vehicle not currently titled in Idaho. This inspection is to ensure that you have the correct ownership document for your vehicle, and that the title issued to you will have an accurate vehicle description. The inspection may also identify if there has been any potential VIN tampering which could cause ownership issues for you.

Why do I have to pay sales tax?

State law [section 63-3623(l) & (m), Idaho code] restricts issuance of a title or registration until sales or use tax has been paid. This is a tax which applies each time a vehicle is transferred or upon first use in Idaho unless an exemption applies.

I lost my title; how do I get a duplicate?

If you are the titled owner of record in Idaho, you may apply for a duplicate or replacement Idaho title by completing an application for duplicate title and submitting the $14.00 filing fee. The form is available on ITD’s website at (go to “Vehicle Services” and then under “Forms and Other Information”, select “Vehicle Titling”) or at any county assessor’s motor vehicle office. If you complete and submit the form through the mail, you will need to have your signature on the form notarized. If you complete the form at the county’s office, a county deputy can witness your signature in lieu of notarization.

Please note, if you owe money to a lienholder recorded on the title, that lienholder is likely holding the title and will not release it until the loan has been paid in full. If there was a lien recorded on the title that was paid off, the lienholder should have reported to the department that the lien was satisfied. If they did not do so, you will need to obtain a “satisfaction of lien” or lien release from the lienholder in order to receive a duplicate title. If you apply for a duplicate title and there is no evidence the lien was satisfied on record or in the documentation, the title will be sent to the lienholder when issued.

Why do you need my ID#?

You need to provide your Idaho driver’s license number, identification card number, social security number, or individual taxpayer identification number as required by law (sections 49-401A and 49-504, Idaho Code) so that your title and registration records can be associated with your customer record under the future DMV system. This way, your records can be identified separately from records relating to other people with the same or similar name. For example, if you have a common name such as “James Smith”, having your number associated with your title, registration, driver license, etc. records will enable them to be identified and separated from the records for the hundreds of others with the same name, and associated with your customer record. This will benefit you in the future by, for example, enabling DMV to easily identify all your vehicle registrations so when you come to their office to renew one, they can quickly let you know when the others expire and possibly save you future trips there.

Ho do I find out if certain county's motor vehicle office is open?

Go to and scroll to the county office table, and you will find information for each county motor vehicle office in the state. Physical and mailing address, phone number, fax number, and hours of operation can be found for each office.

When I renew my registration and there's less than a year until my expiration date, why do I have to pay for an entire year of registration?

Idaho Statute 49-401 imposes registration fees that are to be collected in lieu of property tax for the entire year. This means that the registration fees are due for the full registration period, even if the vehicle was not used for the entire year in order to be exempt from personal property tax on the vehicle.

I just moved to Idaho.What do I need to do?

Within 90 days of your move to Idaho, you will need to apply for and/or obtain titles and registrations for all of your vehicles. If you are a driver, you will also need to obtain an Idaho driver’s license within 90 days. If you have already established Idaho as your domicile – your true home - you do not need to wait 90 days to obtain Idaho registrations, titles, and driver license. For more information, go to and scroll to “New Residents”.

How much does it cost to get a registration and title?

Registration fees vary widely based on the age, use or combined gross weight of a vehicle as well as variable administrative fees and other fees charged by county DMV offices and Idaho Transportation Department DMV. For this reason it is difficult to quote an exact fee without additional information. It is always best to contact your local county assessor or Idaho Transportation Department for a quote. You can find the contact information for your local county at The base prices for passenger car registration are defined in Idaho Code 49-402 as $48.00 for vehicles 1-2 years old, $36.00 for vehicles 3-6 years old and $24.00 for vehicles 7 years and older. Other fees will also apply and are added to this base cost. More information for passenger vehicles and some other vehicles may be found at (scroll down and select “Registration Fees”). For vehicles with a gross weight over 8000 pounds, the fees depend upon the maximum weight of the vehicle and load. Those fees range from $48.00 to $515.40 per year. More information may be found here: 

Title fees are $14.00. In some cases, other fees and sales tax may apply. More information may be found at (scroll down and select “Registration fees” and then scroll to the bottom.)

Why do I have to pay an extra fee for using a credit card?

All credit card companies charge a fee to the entity accepting their cards for payment. In retail businesses this extra fee is contained within the price of the items being purchased, rather than a separate line item. We must disclose these extra fees because they are separate from the cost of the government services we provide, so they are shown as a separate cost. The Idaho Legislature has set specific fees by statute and has further provided specific instructions on depositing the collected fees into specific accounts. If the DMV did not charge the extra credit card fee, it would be collecting less than what was required by statute to be deposited into the specific accounts. Additionally, the Legislature has provided that when a DMV office contracts with a third party to provide DMV services, such as Access Idaho, the third party is allowed to collect an additional fee to cover the cost of its services. Using a credit card to purchase DMV items is an option provided for customer convenience, but it is not a requirement.

I'm trading vehicles with someone else, why do I need to pay tax?

When you trade vehicles with another individual who does not have an Idaho dealer’s license, both of you owe tax on the full value of the vehicle you are receiving according to the State Tax Commission’s administrative rule Each of you will need to pay tax on the clean retail value as established in the NADA Official Used Car Guide or by a licensed dealer’s appraisal.

I was just given a vehicle; what do I need to do to get an exemption from sales tax?

You may complete a form ST-133 Sales Tax Exemption Certificate – Transfer Affidavit if the vehicle qualifies as a gift. To qualify as a gift, no money, services or property can be exchanged between the donor and the recipient at any time with regard to the vehicle, and there can be no assumed indebtedness, e.g., a prior lien on the donor’s title cannot remain on the recipient’s title. The donor cannot remain on the recipient’s title as lienholder. For other requirements, see the instructions on form ST-133. Go to and select “Forms/Pubs” then “Sales & Use Taxes” where you will find "Form ST-133 Sales Tax Exemption Certificate - Transfer Affidavit" in the list of forms or you can look under the DMV- Motor Vehicle Forms on our web page.

Why can't I use the seller's license plates?

Idaho Code 49-431 states that license plates remain with the seller of the vehicle and may be transferred to another vehicle by that seller. The exception to this is the Restricted Use plate which does stay with the ATV, UTV or off road motorcycle rather than the seller.

I have a vehicle that was left on my property. How do I get a title?

To obtain a title to a vehicle that was left on your property, you should contact the last titled owner, if known, and ask him to provide and assign the title to you. If a lien is shown on the previous title, it must be released by the lienholder. To find who may be the owner of a vehicle, you should check to see if there is a registration in the vehicle. 

Personal information shown on the vehicle’s title and registration records, such as the owner’s name and address, are protected under the federal Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). Only those who are authorized to receive this information under DPPA may obtain the vehicle’s title and registration records from a county assessor’s motor vehicle office or the Idaho Transportation Department Vehicle Services Section. Categories of authorized parties are listed on the back of a motor vehicle record request form (ITD 3374) which can be found on ITD’s website at (scroll down and select “Forms and Publications”) or at any county assessor’s motor vehicle office. 

“Court Proceedings” is one category under which someone may obtain a vehicle’s title and registration records. This category may apply if, for example, someone intends to file a quiet title action in court to obtain title to a vehicle. For more information regarding such proceedings, contact competent legal counsel.

Why do I need to file a release of liability when I sell a vehicle?

Properly filing a release of liability, as required by law (section 49-526, Idaho code) may protect you from liability for death or injury, property damage, motor vehicle infractions, towing, storage, repair or service charges involving the vehicle that may occur after delivery of the vehicle to the purchaser. If the buyer fails to transfer title into his name, you remain the owner of record and are presumed responsible and liable for incidents and expenses associated with the vehicle after delivery to the buyer. Filing a release of liability may help you to overcome this presumption.

I didn't get my registration renewal notice. Why?

The DMV database holding the information for renewal reminders uses the exact address on the existing registration record. If the address on the registration is outdated, the card will go to the old address. For this reason, it is very important to make sure to report address changes for each DMV record. In the future we will operate with a “One Person, One Record” system and at that time one address change request will update all DMV records. For now, please report address changes for each vehicle. An address change request is available online here: and can also be reported through your local County DMV office.

Why do I need a bill of sale?

A bill of sale serves a number of purposes: • It can serve as a release of interest from the seller if he did not sign off his interest on the title; • It can act as a 72-hour permit to operate the vehicle when purchased from someone other than an Idaho vehicle dealer; and • It provides a value that may be used for collection of sales or use tax, provided the selling price is representative of the fair market value of the vehicle which is generally recognized as the clean retail value established by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). 

A bill of sale is not necessary if the seller has entered the vehicle’s selling price in the space designated on a title and has signed off the title and entered the date, as the title would serve all of the purposes mentioned above including the 72-hour permit, effective July 1, 2014. 

Note: Sellers and buyers should be cautioned that entering a false selling price on the bill of sale or title is a felony under section 49-518(5), Idaho code.

I have an affidavit in lieu of sale from Washington. Why can't I get an Idaho title with this?

In Idaho, Washington’s affidavit in lieu of sale (ALOT) form is acceptable only as a release of interest from the lienholder. A certificate of title is still required as proof of ownership because county motor vehicle offices in Idaho have no connection with Washington’s title database to verify title status and ownership. Also, the ALOT does not show any title brands that may appear on Washington’s ownership record, and Idaho currently does not have an automated way to check for these brands to ensure they are carried forward on Idaho titles as required by law.