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: The seller’s information will include name and address, as well as any other pertinent details. This section can also list any additional sellers.
- Buyer: This details the buyer’s information and 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 of 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. Witnesses can include a public notary as well as any other parties agreed upon by the buyer and seller.
- As-is: 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. Maine Bill of Sale Requirements
While drafting a bill of sale is good standard practice for the purchase of most big-ticket items, they are required for the purchase of boats or motor vehicles in the state of Maine. You can use the vehicle bill of sale form the state of Maine provides, or you can draft your own.
If you do decide to draft your own bill of sale, be aware that there are a number of requirements you need to satisfy in the state of Maine.
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 concerns over how an item is used after the sale.
You may create your own bill of sale in any language you choose, but bill of sale forms from the Maine government are only provided in English.
Number of Copies
It’s a legal requirement to provide a copy of the bill of sale for a motor vehicle transaction to the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The buyer and seller will also want to retain a copy, so a total of three copies would be required in these cases.
For all other transactions, it’s enough for the buyer and the seller to each keep a copy.
In the state of Maine, the Secretary of State may issue a certificate of salvage upon surrender of a certificate of title. However, you’ll have to supply evidence that a vehicle was declared a total loss by an owner or an insurance company.
At the time the salvage vehicle is transferred, either the insurer, the insurer’s designee, or the owner endorse the assignment of ownership on the certificate of salvage. They then surrender it to the transferee of the salvage vehicle.
After Purchasing a Vehicle
A bill of sale is not enough to complete a vehicle transfer in Maine. Several additional documents are required before the transaction is official.
If You’re the Seller
Sellers have comparatively few things to do to complete a vehicle transfer. They must provide the vehicle title to the buyer within 48 hours of the transaction. If the title has been lost, Maine residents can apply for a duplicate title.
If the vehicle is 10 years old or younger, sellers must provide an Odometer Information form along with current copies of the inspection and emissions certificates and the current registration.
Finally, sellers must report the sale to the Maine DMV. This can be done by mail, fax, or online. Sellers must provide some basic information about the vehicle, including:
- Year of production
- Plate number
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
If You’re the Buyer
Buyers have 30 days to title and register their new vehicles in Maine. To complete the registration process, buyers must provide a:
- Vehicle title
- Certificate of inspection
- Bill of sale
- Proof of insurance
- Registration and titling fees
- Excise tax receipt
Buyers must also pay a 5.5% sales tax on their vehicles before the transfer is complete.
2. Maine Car (Vehicle) Bill of Sale
It’s important to get or give a bill of sale when buying or selling an automobile in Maine to avoid being defrauded during the process.
While the bill of sale doesn’t constitute ownership on its own — only the title can do that — it does provide proof of transfer of the title. This proof is helpful for your records and important for resolving tax issues, should they arise, or even when dealing with legal recourse and civil matters at the DMV.
You can find the official template for a motor vehicle bill of sale here. The date of sale, seller and buyer contact information, and signatures provide documentation of the transfer of possession.
3. Maine Boat Bill of Sale
The process for completing a boat or vessel transaction in the state of Maine is slightly more complicated than for other types of vehicles. The category of “vessel” includes motorboats, sailboats, and jet skis. While dealers will often take care of the paperwork for you, private sales will require you to assemble some forms on your own.
Vessel bills of sale are required to be notarized by a notary public and include statements from the seller about the vessel’s condition and details about the machine specifics of the vessel.
4. Maine Firearm Bill of Sale
In Maine, firearm bills of sale collect identifying and contact information for the buyer and seller, as well as details of the firearm and the transaction.
It is highly recommended that all firearm transactions produce a bill of sale to have an accurate record of where and when the firearm was purchased. It is illegal under federal law for Maine residents to sell firearms outside of the State of Maine.
Firearm bills of sale also require the buyer to assert that they do not meet one of the disqualifiers for owning a firearm, such as a history of violence, a criminal record, or certain records of mental health disorders.
5. Maine Livestock Bill of Sale
Unlike other states, Maine does not have an official form for livestock bills of sale. However, it is a good idea to draft your own bill of sale for any livestock purchase to record the transaction.
You can use a template or draft your own bill of sale for a livestock purchase. The bill of sale should include specific facts pertaining to the sale, such as the contact information for both parties and the livestock breed, quantity, details, and purchase amount.
6. Maine Aircraft Bill of Sale
Maine does not have its own aircraft bill of sale, but you can find the FAA requirements for an aircraft bill of sale online (Form AC 8050-2). The form collects details about the buyer and seller, as well as information about the aircraft.
7. Maine 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 that is required in any bill of sale:
- Purchase price
- Contact information
The Maine general bill of sale requires notarization. You can either use the vehicle bill of sale provided by the state as a template, or you can create your own
FAQ: About the Maine Bill of Sale
What is a bill of sale?
A bill of sale establishes the terms of a transfer of property and provides proof of the transaction. Bills of sale are almost always drafted by the seller.
Most bills of sale include some or all of the following information:
- Date of purchase
- Contact information of buyer and seller
- Purchase amount
- Description of the sold item
- Guarantee that the asset is cleared of any liens or claims
- Ongoing terms, such as warranties
- Signatures of buyer and seller
- Signature of a notary public
How does a bill of sale benefit the buyer?
In some cases, contests and liabilities may arise even after purchase. Someone may have taken out a lien against the property being transferred, or the seller may try to make false claims after the fact. A bill of sale gives the buyer recourse against being held responsible for undisclosed or fabricated information.
Bills of sale often become relevant during aspects of government compliance, including vehicle registration or taxation.
How do I get a bill of sale?
Anyone can create and present a bill of sale, however bills of sale in Maine require a notary to witness the signatures.
In general, a bill of sale is not a complicated legal document. You can use online services to create a perfectly usable bill of sale or draft one yourself. For more sensitive assets such as firearms, professional services can make sure you aren’t missing important information.
What information do I need for a bill of sale?
If you’re buying or selling a general item that requires no licensing, you won’t need anything beyond the basic information common to all bills of sale. Items like automobiles or appliances will often only require the standard documentation plus a description and identifying information for that specific vehicle, such as registration or serial number.
However, regulated items like livestock or firearms will require more specific information. Most professional services that generate the bill of sale forms will tell you specifically what information is relevant to your situation.