Wisconsin Bill of Sale

Use our bill of sale templates to document transfers of personal property ownership in Wisconsin. Learn how a bill of sale can offer legal protections for buyers and sellers of cars, boats, horses, firearms, and other high-value items.

Wisconsin Bill of Sale Forms by Type

Important Terms for a Bill of Sale

  • Seller: The person or party that is releasing the property. 
  • Buyer: The person or party that is taking possession of the property in exchange for a consideration, such as a purchase price. 
  • Date of sale: This notes when the transaction took place. 
  • Price: The amount paid by the buyer for the property. 
  • Sales tax: This indicates whether or not sales tax was collected, and may also indicate if said taxation is included in the purchase price or if it should be paid separately. 
  • Description: Details of the property being sold. For example, vehicle bills of sale often include a car’s make, model, year, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • As-is: Indicates that the item was sold without any warranties and with the buyer being aware that it was not in perfect condition.  
  • Signature/Certification: The signature of the seller and/or buyer. In-person signatures are always valid, but you can also draft bills of sale online using tools like PandaDoc document templates to accommodate legal electronic signatures

1. Wisconsin Bill of Sale Requirements

When buying or selling a big-ticket item in Wisconsin, such as a vehicle or vessel, you are not required to sign a bill of sale to complete the transaction. However, you can and should use one to have a written record of the deal in case any liabilities follow the transfer of ownership. 

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation provides a sample bill of sale form in its official instructions for selling a vehicle, although it’s noted that the template is not valid and should be used for record-keeping purposes only. To create a bill of sale, you can also use a standard vehicle bill of sale template provided by PandaDoc or draft your own. 

Why Use a Bill of Sale?

In Wisconsin, the law doesn’t require you to use a bill of sale when transferring ownership of personal property. However, the document may provide legal protection for all parties involved. 

For example, the buyer will be able to prove that the transaction took place if there is an ownership dispute. The seller may also need protection if the new owner fails to register the vehicle and gets involved in an accident, incurs parking tickets, or commits other types of violations.

Additional Considerations

Language Requirements

Bills of sale in Wisconsin are provided for your convenience, so it can be in any language you choose. 

Number of Copies

When you complete a bill of sale in Wisconsin, you’ll only need two copies: one each for the buyer and seller. The state doesn’t require a copy of your bill of sale for its records. 

Junk Vehicles

If you sell a vehicle that is classified as “junk,” and don’t want it to be driven again, write the word “junk” across the title before giving it to the salvage dealer or buyer. Once a vehicle is junked in Wisconsin, it can’t be licensed or titled again, even if someone restores or repairs it. 

After Purchasing a Vehicle

When you purchase a vehicle from a licensed dealer in Wisconsin, the seller handles the paperwork for your new title and registration. 

If you purchase a vehicle from a private party, you will need to put in some additional footwork to get your vehicle licensed and titled.

Here’s what to do:

  • Use the state’s online application guide to begin the process of procuring a title and license plate for your vehicle. 
  • Bring the transferred title to your local DMV office. 
  • Pay taxes and registration fees. 
  • Receive your new registration, title, and license plates (or transfer your old plates).

2. Wisconsin Car (Vehicle) Bill of Sale 

In Wisconsin, purchasing a vehicle from a licensed dealer leads to receiving and signing a Motor Vehicle Contract form, which is the dealer’s version of a bill of sale. Once signed by both parties, it becomes a binding contract. 

When purchasing from a private party in Wisconsin, you can choose to use a bill of sale, but it isn’t required. You can use the state’s sample form or another online template. 

Your vehicle bill of sale should include the following:

  • Buyer’s name and address
  • Seller’s name and address
  • Vehicle make, model, and year
  • Vehicle Odometer reading
  • VIN
  • Current registration number
  • Transaction date and purchase price
  • Signatures of both parties

3. Wisconsin Boat Bill of Sale

You do not need a bill of sale to register and re-title a boat in Wisconsin, but the state recommends having one to document an ownership transfer and to protect against possible liabilities. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides a sample boat bill of sale that you can use, but you can also create your own.

Your boat bill of sale should include:

  • Boat’s year, make, and model
  • Boat registration and Hull Identification Number (Hull ID or HIN)
  • Seller’s name and address
  • Buyer’s name and address
  • Purchase price and transaction date
  • Signatures of both parties

The only vessels that must be registered in Wisconsin are:

  • Sailboats larger than 12 feet in length and used on state waters
  • All motorized vessels used on state waters

Registering a vessel in Wisconsin is done through the DNR. You will need the signed original title from the seller to register your boat. You must apply for a new registration within 10 days of purchase and can do so at a DNR Service Center, online, or via mail. 

4. Wisconsin Firearm Bill of Sale

Wisconsin does not require that gun owners register their firearms. However, buyers are required to fill out an application and wait 48 hours before picking up a new firearm purchase from a dealer. There is no background check requirement for a private party purchase. 

Even though your purchase isn’t recorded by the state, it’s always a good idea to have a detailed record of firearms transactions. Dealers, retailers, and even pawnbrokers already keep meticulous records of purchases and sales of firearms. If you are completing a private party sale, you should fill out a bill of sale for personal record-keeping.

Wisconsin doesn’t provide a standard firearm bill of sale, but you can find a suitable template on PandaDoc or create your own. A firearm bill of sale should include the following information:

  • Seller and buyer’s information (name, address, driver’s license number)
  • Firearm details (make, model, caliber, serial number)
  • Purchase price and transaction date
  • Signatures of both parties

5. Wisconsin Horse Bill of Sale

When you own, buy, or sell a horse in Wisconsin, it doesn’t have to be reported to the state. However, horses are significant investments. It makes sense to use bills of sale to document transfers of ownership involving horses. 

Your bill of sale is the best way to trace the ownership of the horse and protect all parties from liability. The owner might need the bill of sale to prevent paying a fine, to prove ownership for a breed registry, or to document the sale for tax purposes. 

Your horse bill of sale in Wisconsin should include the following information:

  • Buyer’s name and address
  • Seller’s name and address
  • Horse age, name, breed, and gender
  • Horse registration number, if applicable
  • Horse physical description
  • Transaction date and purchase price
  • Signatures of both parties

6. Wisconsin General Bill of Sale

You can prove and document any purchase of non-regulated or big-ticket items in Wisconsin with a general bill of sale. You’ll want to provide information that describes your transaction and the people involved, such as:

  • Buyer’s and sellers’s name and contact information
  • Sale date
  • Sales price
  • Item description
  • Signatures

FAQ: About the Wisconsin Bill of Sale

Is a bill of sale required in Wisconsin? 

No. You aren’t required to use a bill of sale in Wisconsin to register a car or a boat. However, it can be a useful document to protect your rights and verify the sale of personal property.

How do I sell my car privately in Wisconsin?

Once you’ve sold your vehicle to another party in Wisconsin, you should do several things. First, fill out and sign the title in the owner’s section to transfer ownership. Next, complete and send in a seller notification form to the state.

Does a Wisconsin bill of sale have to be notarized?

Your Wisconsin bill of sale does not need to be notarized, but it is always an option. Doing so may help it hold up in court, should you need to use it to settle a legal dispute. If you choose to notarize your bill of sale, don’t sign it until you are in front of a notary public.

Can I sell a car without a title or a bill of sale in Wisconsin?

Bills of sale are not a legal requirement for vehicle ownership transfers in Wisconsin, but you can only sell a vehicle without a title in hand if you are a state-licensed dealer. If you are making a private sale, you must get a duplicate title from the state or pay off any liens before you sell your vehicle so that you will have a title to transfer to the new owner.

Bill of Sale Forms by State

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