Important Terms for a Bill of Sale
- Property location: This specifies the location of the item being sold, which can be especially important if the item is in a different state.
- Seller: This includes the seller’s information, such as name and address. This section can also list any additional sellers.
- Buyer: This specifies the buyer’s information. This section can list any additional buyers.
- Sales tax: This specifies whether sales tax will be included, how much it will be, and whether or not it is included in the price.
- Property: This section includes the date of the property transfer as well as any special conditions to the sale like “under warranty” or “as-is.” The VIN, plate number, and odometer reading for vehicles are listed here.
- Witness information: If a witness is present to sign the bill of sale, their full name, address and other contact information will be listed here. The witness can be either a public notary or a party agreed upon by the buyer and seller.
- As-is: This term means that the buyer is agreeing to purchase the item in its current state at the time of sale. By signing a bill of sale agreeing to purchase something as-is, the buyer is agreeing that they’ve had the opportunity to inspect the item and found it to their satisfaction.
- Gift: This identifies whether the item is being sold as a gift to the recipient, which will be important for tax purposes the following year.
- Trade-In: In the event one item is being traded for another, this section of the bill of sale will verify that the two items are equal in value.
- 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 are valid if they are done through a certified digital signature provider. PandaDoc documents offer the option for legal digital signatures.
1. Georgia Bill of Sale Requirements
A bill of sale is required in Georgia for all vehicle and vessel transfers. The document needs to include detailed information about the seller, the buyer, the item being transferred, and the transaction itself.
Vehicle bills of sale should be turned in to the Department of Revenue, and vessel sales should be registered with the Department of Natural Resources.
Why Use a Bill of Sale?
If you sell a vehicle, you want to be sure you won’t be held liable in case of an accident. A bill of sale protects you from that liability, even while you’re waiting for a new title to be issued, by specifying the date you gave up possession and ownership.
The bill of sale is also useful for the buyer to prove ownership while they’re waiting for the new title to be issued.
Georgia doesn’t specify a language for the bill of sale form. Using the English language — or providing a translation in English — will help state employees process and file the form correctly.
Number of Copies
Make three copies of the bill of sale: one for the buyer, one for the seller, and one for the state. Usually, the buyer retains the original and the photocopies are filed with the state and retained by the seller.
When your car is totaled by an insurance agency or becomes too expensive to repair, the State of Georgia refers to it as “salvage”. If you sell the vehicle to a salvage yard or donate it to charity at this point, you’ll use a standard bill of sale. The salvage yard or charity can file the proper forms to register the car as unusable and surrender the title and plates.
After Purchasing a Vehicle
If you buy a car from a dealership, you have 30 days to register your vehicle with the state.
If you’re buying from an individual, you have seven business days to register.
You should bring the following documents to your local tax commissioner’s office to register the vehicle:
- MV-1 title application form
- The original title, properly signed over, and the registration
- Your bill of sale
- The manufacturer’s certificate of origin
- Your valid Georgia driver’s license or state ID card
- A signed lien release form if there is a lien on the title
- The current mileage figure for the vehicle
- Proof of insurance for the buyer
- Emission test results (if applicable)
It’s best if the buyer and seller can go to the tax office together to register the vehicle in case any documents need to be signed on the spot.
2. Vehicle Bill of Sale
For a vehicle, the bill of sale needs to include:
- The seller’s name, contact information, and signature
- The buyer’s name, contact information, and signature
- The year, make, and model of the vehicle, plus the VIN
- Date of ownership change
- Purchase price (or statement that it is a gift)
- Information about any liens on the vehicle
Ideally, the bill of sale should be notarized, although it’s not required by law.
3. Boat Bill of Sale
If you’re selling a boat in Georgia, you’re required to issue a vessel bill of sale. The document doesn’t need to be witnessed or notarized — it just needs to be signed by the parties involved in the sale. Your vessel bill of sale needs to have:
- The seller’s legal name and contact details
- The buyer’s legal name and contact details
- The vessel’s year, make, model, and length
- The hull ID number (HIN) that identifies the boat
- Information about construction materials and colors (primary and trim) of the vessel
- The date of the transaction
The seller must also provide the buyer with the boat’s registration card.
All mechanically propelled vessels and sailboats over 12 feet long need to be registered with the state. Submit your bill of sale, along with the Georgia Vessel Registration Application, to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
4. Firearm Bill of Sale
Georgia law doesn’t require you to register or carry a permit for a gun that is not legally classified as a handgun, so a bill of sale isn’t necessary for many gun transactions. However, signing a firearm bill of sale gives the buyer proof of ownership and could help the seller avoid liability if the gun is used illegally after it leaves the seller’s possession. Your firearm bill of sale should include the following information:
- The legal name and address of the buyer
- The legal name and address of the seller
- Make, model, caliber, and serial number of the firearm
- The agreed-upon price (or indication it is a gift or trade)
- The date you want the ownership to be officially transferred
- Any statements about the condition of the firearm
- Signatures of both the buyer and seller
5. Technology Bill of Sale
If you’re selling or giving away a computer or mobile phone, you might want to issue a bill of sale to record the transaction. In addition to providing proof of ownership for the buyer, this document could protect the seller if the device is used in a digital crime. A technology bill of sale should include:
- The full names of both the buyer and the seller
- The manufacturer, model number, and serial number of the device
- Information about the features and condition of the device
- The date that control of the device is being transferred to the buyer
You may also consider having the document notarized.
6. Horse Bill of Sale
If you are buying or selling a horse in Georgia, your bill of sale should include some information specific to equine transactions. This includes:
- The names and addresses of the buyer, seller, and/or their agents
- Ownership statements
- The name of the horse
- Registration number, if applicable, and any identifying characteristics
- The date and results of the horse’s last Coggins (anemia) test
- Any information represented by the seller that impacts price, such as the dam and sire, prior medical treatments, and health and condition of the horse.
- Statement of the payment arrangements and date of transfer
- Signatures of the seller and buyer or their agents
7. Other Bills of Sale
You might choose to create a bill of sale for any significant purchase in Georgia, such as collectibles, antiques, art, or sporting equipment, even if it’s not required by law.
Include information about:
- The buyer and seller (full names and addresses)
- The exact goods being sold
- Provenance or other information that impacts the price
- Warranties or conditions for refund both parties have agreed upon
- Statements about “as-is” condition or “final sale” if there are no warranties or promises attached to the same.
Having a general bill of sale notarized is optional and up to the parties involved.