Important Terms for a Bill of Sale
- Seller: The seller is the party transferring property to the buyer.
- Buyer: The buyer is the person receiving the sold item or property.
- Property: This section includes a description of the property to be transferred as well as any special conditions to the sale like “under warranty” or “as-is.”
- Sales tax: This specifies whether sales tax will be included and how much it will be.
- Witness information: If a witness is present, their full name, address and other contact information will be listed here. In North Carolina, bills of sale presented for registration of a motor vehicle or vessel must be notarized.
- Certification/Signature: The signature of the seller and/or buyer, depending on the form, finalizes the transfer. In-person signatures are always valid. Digital signatures require a certified digital signature provider to be valid. PandaDoc documents offer the option for legal digital signatures.
1. North Carolina Bill of Sale Requirements
While drafting a bill of sale is good, standard practice for the purchase of many big-ticket items, they are required for any vehicle purchased from a dealer in the state of North Carolina.
You can draft your own bill of sale, but be aware that there are a number of requirements you need to satisfy in the state of North Carolina.
Why Use a Bill of Sale?
Besides satisfying state legal requirements, a bill of sale can prove useful for several other reasons. It provides proof of ownership for the buyer, which can help avoid legal disputes. For the seller, a bill of sale can protect them from liability related to how an item is used after the sale.
You may create your own bill of sale in any language you choose, but bills of sale in North Carolina can only be submitted in English for registration purposes.
Number of Copies
It’s a legal requirement to provide a copy of the bill of sale for a motor vehicle transaction from a dealer to the state Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The buyer and seller will also want to retain a copy, so a total of three copies is required.
For all other transactions, it’s enough for the buyer and the seller to each keep a copy.
In the state of North Carolina, a motor vehicle that is incapable of operation or use and has no resale value is considered a “junk” vehicle and cannot be titled or registered.
After Purchasing a Vehicle
A bill of sale is not enough to complete a vehicle transfer in North Carolina. Several additional documents are required before the transaction is official.
If You’re the Seller
Sellers in North Carolina must transfer ownership of a vehicle through a title transfer. The North Carolina DMV has a guide to title transfers that lists the reporting requirements for sellers.
To transfer a title, the seller and buyer must complete information on the back of the original title and have it notarized. The information required matches what is typically noted on a bill of sale, including the buyer’s and seller’s personal information, the date of sale, a description of the vehicle, and the odometer reading.
If You’re the Buyer
Buyers have 28 days to title and register new vehicles in North Carolina. The documents required for the registration process depend on the context of the purchase. The North Carolina DMV has outlined the requirements on its website.
Regardless of the circumstances under which a vehicle is purchased, the buyer will need to provide:
- Vehicle title
- Application for North Carolina Title (Form MVR-1)
- Proof of insurance
- Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form MVR-180)
- Damage Disclosure Statement (Form MVR-181)
- Registration and titling fees
Buyers must also pay sales tax on their vehicles before the transfer is complete. Sales tax is based on the amount shown on the bill of sale as well as the current fair market value for the vehicle.
2. North Carolina Car (Vehicle) Bill of Sale
When purchasing a car from a dealership in North Carolina, a bill of sale is required to document the sale. Although the bill of sale is not required for a privately purchased vehicle, it’s important to get or give a bill of sale when buying or selling an automobile to protect your interests and investment.
The bill of sale doesn’t constitute ownership on its own — only the title can do that. It does, however, provide proof of transfer of the title. This proof is helpful for your records, important for resolving tax issues, and vital for resolving ownership disputes.
3. North Carolina Boat Bill of Sale
Vessels in North Carolina are registered with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and require a vessel bill of sale.
The bill of sale must be notarized by a notary public and include identifying information about the vessel, information about the buyer and seller, the date of the transaction, and the sale price. The category of “vessel” includes motorboats, sailboats, and jet skis.
4. North Carolina Firearm Bill of Sale
Bills of sale are not legally required to transfer ownership of a firearm in the state of North Carolina, but they provide proof of ownership for the buyer and document the transaction for the seller.
It is highly recommended that all firearm transactions produce a bill of sale to have an accurate record of where, when, and to whom a firearm was sold. It is illegal under federal law for North Carolina residents to sell firearms outside the state of North Carolina.
A firearm bill of sale should include:
- Buyer’s and seller’s name, address, and driver’s license number
- Description of the firearm
- Serial number of the firearm
- Date of the transaction
- Purchase price
- Signatures of buyer and seller
It should also require the buyer to assert that they do not have a history of violence, a criminal record, or certain records of mental health disorders that would disqualify them from owning a firearm under North Carolina law.
5. North Carolina Horse or Livestock Bill of Sale
Bills of sale are not required in North Carolina for horses or livestock. However, it’s a good idea to draw up a bill of sale for horse and livestock purchases that includes the following information:
- Registration number
- Description of the animal and its condition
- Date of transaction
- Buyer and seller contact information
- Signatures of buyer and seller
Livestock bills of sale should also include the number of animals sold if many are transferred at once. While individual horses don’t require rigorous inspection, sales of large quantities of livestock intended for human consumption, such as hogs, cattle, and sheep, require a more exhaustive documentation process.
6. North Carolina Aircraft Bill of Sale
The state of North Carolina does not have an official form for an aircraft bill of sale. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does. You can find the aircraft bill of sale that complies with FAA regulations on their website (Form AC 8050-2).
7. North Carolina General Bill of Sale
A general bill of sale is used to prove the purchase of any non-regulated item. The information required is often the general and bare minimum information required in any bill of sale:
- Purchase price
- Description of the item to be sold
- Contact information of buyer and seller
FAQ: About the North Carolina Bill of Sale
What is a bill of sale?
A bill of sale serves as documentation of a transaction and establishes terms for the transfer of property. Most of the time, bills of sale are drafted by the seller and signed by both parties.
Why is a bill of sale important?
Bills of sale are often required for government compliance, such as registering purchased vehicles. They also serve as a protection for the buyer and seller by documenting all terms and aspects of a transaction. If ownership is contested after purchase, the bill of sale acts as proof of ownership.
What information should be included in a bill of sale?
Bills of sale typically include some or all of the following information:
- Transaction date
- Contact information for both buyer and the seller
- Purchase price
- Description of the item or property being transferred
- Guarantee that the asset is cleared of any liens or claims
- Ongoing terms, such as warranties
- Buyer and seller signatures
- Notary public signature and seal
Purchases of highly regulated items like firearms require more detailed information.