Tennessee Bill of Sale

You need a bill of sale for an ownership transfer of a boat, car, or firearm in Tennessee. A bill of sale provides legal protection whenever you buy or sell any high-value items. Learn more about what a bill of sale is and how to draft one that will work.

Tennessee Bill of Sale Forms by Type

Important Terms for a Bill of Sale

  • Seller: Bills of sale should include primary seller information, such as their name and address, as well as that of any additional sellers.
  • Buyer: The person taking ownership is the buyer. Their name and address should also be included, along with details on 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 transferred is the “property.” The bill of sale should list the date of transfer and a description of the property. 
  • Property location: This is the property’s whereabouts, which is particularly important if it’s out of state or far away from the buyer or seller.
  • Witness information: Some bills of sale must be witnessed to be legally binding. The witness can be a notary public or an agreed upon third party.
  • As-is: If a bill of sale lists the item as being sold “as-is,” then the buyer agrees to buy the item in its current state with no holds on the seller. 
  • Gift: A gift bill of sale can help both the recipient and giver file taxes for the year.
  • Certification/Signature: All parties involved must sign a bill of sale in order for it to be legally binding. Physical signatures are always valid. Digital signatures are legal if they are received through a certified digital signature provider, such as PandaDoc.

1. Tennessee Bill of Sale Requirements

In Tennessee, a bill of sale is helpful if you’re buying or selling a boat or a motor vehicle. However, it’s always advisable to transfer ownership of high-value items with a bill of sale, even if it’s not legally required. You can create your own bill of sale or use a template provided by the state of Tennessee.

If you decide to draft a bill of sale by yourself, be aware that there are a number of requirements the document needs to satisfy in the state of Tennessee.

Why Use a Bill of Sale?

Beyond any legal necessity, bills of sale offer several benefits. A bill of sale helps protect sellers from liability concerns and gives buyers a means of proving ownership. This is helpful in avoiding legal disputes for both parties.

Additional Considerations

Language Requirements

You can write a bill of sale in any language. However, the state of Tennessee only provides bills of sale in English. 

If you would like to draft your bill of sale in another language, you can work with a state-certified interpreter to get it officially translated. The State of Tennessee provides a list of certified translators in this online directory

Number of Copies

You need a copy of the bill of sale to give to the titling agency for registered items like a boat or motor vehicle. These transactions must involve three copies of the bill of sale, so the buyer and seller can also keep a copy. 

Otherwise, two copies of the bill of sale are enough: one for the buyer and one for the seller.

Junk Vehicles

In Tennessee, any vehicle that’s been declared totaled or otherwise marked as “salvage” must have a salvage title if the owner wishes to keep it. Even after the vehicle has been rebuilt, the title remains “branded.”

Anyone who wishes to sell a salvage or rebuilt motor vehicle in Tennessee must give the buyer a Disclosure Of Rebuilt Or Salvage Vehicle along with the bill of sale. The buyer must sign both forms for the transaction to be official. This is to protect buyers from potentially buying a vehicle that is uninsurable or dangerous to drive.

After Purchasing a Vehicle

You need more than a bill of sale to transfer ownership of a car in Tennessee. Whether you’re selling or buying, you’ll need to provide several other documents in order to make the transaction official.

If You’re the Seller

In Tennessee, selling a car is simpler than buying it. The seller must fill out the back of the title with the buyer’s information, odometer reading, sales price, and date of sale. They must also provide an Odometer Disclosure Statement

If the title is lost or destroyed, the seller can request a new one through their local county clerk’s office. The seller should also give the buyer notice of any liens on the vehicle.

If You’re the Buyer

Buyers have 90 days to title and register new vehicles in Tennessee before facing late fees. To complete the registration process, buyers must provide:

  • Vehicle title
  • Owner’s identification
  • Odometer Disclosure Statement from previous owner
  • Proof of insurance
  • Registration and titling fees

The buyer must also pay sales tax based on the purchase price of the vehicle.

2. Tennessee Car (Vehicle) Bill of Sale

A bill of sale offers important legal protections during the transfer of a motor vehicle in Tennessee. Each county has its own guidelines for selling and buying a car, but most—including Davidson County, the seat of which is Nashville, the state capital—recommend getting a notarized bill of sale.

A Tennessee motor vehicle bill of sale must include:

  • Buyer and seller’s names and addresses
  • Date of sale
  • Make
  • Model
  • Year of production
  • Color
  • Sale price
  • Vehicle serial number

3. Tennessee Boat Bill of Sale

In Tennessee, any boat that is powered by a motor must have a title. In order to get the boat’s title transferred to a new person, the state requires a boat bill of sale. The buyer must present the bill of sale and the previous owner’s registration card in order to officially take ownership of the boat. 

If you choose to draft your own boat bill of sale, it should include:

  • Seller’s name and addresses
  • Date of sale
  • Make
  • Model
  • Year of production
  • Tennessee registration number
  • Number of motors and horsepower (if applicable)
  • Sale price
  • Hull ID number

4. Tennessee Firearm Bill of Sale

Firearms are not required to be registered in Tennessee. However, a bill of sale offers important liability protection for both the buyer and the seller. 

For example, it is illegal to sell any firearm to a minor or anyone who is barred by law from owning a firearm. A bill of sale modeled after the federal Firearms Transaction Record protects all parties because it provides a detailed record of ownership and includes questions designed to confirm whether or not the buyer can legally buy the weapon. 

5. Tennessee Horse or Livestock Bill of Sale

Livestock bills of sale in Tennessee should contain information about the animals sold, such as:

  • Description of livestock
  • Brands
  • Genders
  • Number of animals
  • Breed

Animals that are intended for consumption require more rigorous documentation during the sale process, while individual horses or similar animals do not require the same level of thoroughness. 

6. Tennessee General Bill of Sale  

A general bill of sale documents the transfer of an item that does not need to be legally registered. The information required is often the bare minimum found on any bill of sale, such as the following:

  • Purchase price
  • Date
  • Buyer and seller information
  • Signatures

FAQ: About the Tennessee 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.

How does a bill of sale benefit the buyer? 

It’s possible for legal issues to follow an asset even after changing owners. For example, the seller may make a false claim about the sale or a third party may try to put a lien on the item. In either case, the bill of sale helps prove the buyer’s ownership. 

Additionally, a bill of sale is often legally required if the asset must be registered with the state.

How do I get a bill of sale? 

Anyone can draft a bill of sale in Tennessee. As long as the document has been signed by all involved parties, it can be legally binding. Having your bill of sale notarized can help it hold up in court. 

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 platforms like PandaDoc can make sure you aren’t missing important details.

What information do I need for a bill of sale?

If an item is regulated or registered by the state, the bill of sale will likely include specific information. For example, vehicle bills of sale require the VIN. 

Otherwise, bills of sale generally include some or all of the following information: 

  • Date of purchase
  • Buyer and seller’s contact information
  • Purchase price
  • 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

Bill of Sale Forms by State

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