Important Terms for a Bill of Sale
- Seller: The person selling the item is the primary seller. The bill of sale should include their information, such as name and address.
- Buyer: The person paying for the item is the buyer. The bill of sale should include their name and address, along with the information about any additional buyers.
- Sales tax: If the sold item is subject to sales tax, the bill of sale should explain how much sales tax should be paid and whether the tax is included in the price.
- Property: The item that’s being sold is the property. The bill of sale will list the date of sale and a description of the property.
- Property location: Where the sold item is located, such as county or state.
- Witness information: Some bills of sale must be witnessed to be legally binding. A witness may be a third party agreed upon by the seller and buyer or be a notary public.
- As-is: If a bill of sale lists the item as being sold “as-is,” then the buyer agrees to purchase the item in its current state with no holds on the seller.
- Gift: A gift bill of sale is useful for filing taxes on the transfer during the next year if someone is giving another person a large gift.
- Certification/Signature: For a bill of sale to be valid, all parties need to sign it. Physical signatures are always valid. Digital signatures are valid when completed through a certified digital signature provider such as PandaDoc.
1. Pennsylvania Bill of Sale Requirements
Getting a bill of sale is always a good idea when buying or selling something valuable. In Pennsylvania, a bill of sale is recommended if you’re buying a motor vehicle, boat, or livestock. You can use a template provided by a tool like PandaDoc or you can draft your own.
If you decide to draft a bill of sale for your use, you must be aware of the requirements the document must meet in the state of Pennsylvania.
Why Use a Bill of Sale?
In some cases, a bill of sale is legally required. Outside of those scenarios, a bill of sale can also provide legal protections.
A bill of sale helps the buyer prove their ownership of the item and gives the seller a record stating that they are no longer responsible for the sold asset. Both parties avoid legal disputes about the property in the future.
Pennsylvania doesn’t have any language requirements for a bill of sale. However, the state only offers documents in English. You can work with a state-certified translator to get your bill of sale officially translated.
The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania provides an Interpreter Roster containing a list of certified translators that can help you.
Number of Copies
If you’re buying or selling a boat, a copy of the bill of sale should go to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Since the buyer and the seller should also have copies of their own, boat sales should involve three copies of the bill of sale.
For other sales, only two copies are required: one for the buyer and one for the seller.
If a person sells a salvage vehicle in Pennsylvania, the seller must inform the buyer of its title in writing. The buyer and the seller must also sign a bill of sale. This is to protect buyers from unknowingly purchasing a vehicle that’s dangerous and unlikely to be fully insurable.
After Purchasing a Vehicle
You need more than a bill of sale to transfer ownership of a vehicle in Pennsylvania. Additional documents will need to be presented to make the transaction official.
If You’re the Seller
To sell a motor vehicle in Pennsylvania, the seller must fill out the back of the title with the buyer’s correct information and the odometer reading while in the presence of an authorized PennDOT agent. Both the seller and the buyer must sign the title.
If the car’s title is lost or damaged, the Pennsylvania Department of Transport can furnish a new copy upon request.
If You’re the Buyer
Buyers have 30 days to title and register new vehicles in Pennsylvania before they face late fees. To complete the registration process, buyers must provide the following:
- Vehicle title
- Owner’s identification
- Proof of insurance
- Registration and titling fees
The buyer must also pay the sales tax on the purchase price of the vehicle.
2. Pennsylvania Car (Vehicle) Bill of Sale
Whether you’re buying or selling a car in Pennsylvania, a bill of sale can help protect you from legal trouble. The state of Pennsylvania provides a summary of your responsibilities for the transaction, whether you’re the seller or the buyer.
3. Pennsylvania Boat Bill of Sale
In Pennsylvania, any boat that is powered by a motor is required to have a title. If your boat does not already have a title, you will need a bill of sale to prove your ownership when applying for one.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission provides an affidavit of purchase form (Form PFBC-734), which can establish ownership of a boat without a bill of sale. The form is valid only when used to apply for boat registration in the state.
4. Pennsylvania Firearm Bill of Sale
In Pennsylvania, you must undergo a PICS check when buying a firearm. Furthermore, the bill of sale form must be requested from the Pennsylvania State Police.
It’s illegal to sell long guns to anyone under the age of 18 and handguns to anyone under the age of 21. Furthermore, it’s illegal to sell any firearm to anyone legally barred from owning one. By using a bill of sale, the seller can have the buyer declare under oath that they are allowed to purchase a firearm.
5. Pennsylvania Horse or Livestock Bill of Sale
A horse bill of sale in Pennsylvania should include information essential to identifying the horse, such as:
- Brands, marks, or descriptions
Anyone who buys or sells a horse or other livestock should insist on a bill of sale. The use of the legal document is recommended to help clarify ownership and responsibility in case of a dispute down the road.
6. Pennsylvania General Bill of Sale
Even for items where bills of sale are not legally required, a general bill of sale can help you prove ownership. A general bill of sale can be more basic than similar documents for boats or firearms.
These bills of sale need to include:
- Item description
- Purchase price
- Date of sale
- Contact information
FAQ: About the Pennsylvania Bill of Sale
What is a bill of sale?
A bill of sale explains the agreement made during the ownership transfer of a piece of property. It also acts as proof of the sale for both the seller and the buyer. Generally, the seller drafts the bill of sale.
How does a bill of sale benefit the buyer?
Even after the item has been sold and ownership has been transferred to the buyer, legal issues may still arise.
For example, the seller may attempt to make false claims about the sale or a bank may try to place a lien on the asset. In cases like these, the buyer can use a bill of sale as legal proof of ownership. Furthermore, for assets like boats or cars, a bill of sale may be legally required to register a title or pay taxes.
How do I get a bill of sale?
Anyone can write a bill of sale in Pennsylvania. Any bill of sale that has been signed by all involved parties can be legally binding. Getting a bill of sale notarized can help a bill of sale hold up in court.
In general, bills of sale are not complicated documents. You can draft your own or work with an online service like PandaDoc to create a streamlined bill of sale. Working with a company may be a better choice for transactions involving high-value assets like vehicles and boats. Getting professional help can guarantee that a bill of sale won’t be missing any required information.