Experience with a late title transfer? (MA)

So in retrospect this was dumb of me, but back in 2014 I picked up a project car that wasn’t running and started tearing it down. I was in no rush to get the title officially transferred over because it wasn’t drivable, and wasn’t aware that the state (Massachusetts) wants titles transferred within 10 days of purchase (now i know why people leave the date blank).

So now I have no time for the project and i’m selling it to someone else. Am I totally screwed with the title? Do I have to track down the original seller and go through that whole process again?

I’m hoping that they’ll just fine me? I can live with that. It would be much less of a pain than getting the original seller to get a duplicate title and sign in over to me all over again… has anyone else dealt with this before?

Kris , this is not a legal site and what good would an answer from any unknown person do you ? None , that’s what . Go to the DMV web site for your state or just go in person because that is the only way you will get an accurate answer.


Yep, you’re right. It’s sunday so the registry isn’t open and I was just curious if anyone else has had a similar experience. I can try calling to get the answer from the horse’s mouth tomorrow.

Nope. You’ll have to confess to DMV and see what they say for see a lawyer. I always transfer titles immediately and if I sell a car and they don’t register it, I see DMV to do a forced title change. Maybe you don’t have any documentation either and paid cash, huh? Maybe the person you bought it from never owned it? Have fun.

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Unfortunately our DMV’s website was of no help, it points out that there are penalties, but neglects to give specific information on what they actually are.

So I did a little more digging and I think the major penalty is paying the interest on the taxes the state would have collected at time of purchase. MA State law says that penalty on unpaid taxes is 1% per month (capped at 25%). So looks like I’m paying the tax + 25%.

This is an old Beetle from '72, so while the 25% penalty isn’t the best, it’s manageable. If it ends up being any harsher than that I’ll be parting it out and scrapping the rest.

Either way, lesson learned. Don’t sit on paperwork for 5 years :upside_down_face:

It’s hard to say given the quirky nature of DMV policies. I had a small, beat-up, dented-all-over utility trailer I would pull behind my truck maybe 3 or 4 times a year to take a few extra garbage cans to the dump, haul compost for the garden, stuff like that. Due to a change of circumstances and address I kept it off the road for 6 years, and the change of address caused the DMV to not send me the renewal notice to pay the $10 annual DMV fee each year for non-use. They knew my new address b/c they sent my other vehicle’s renewal notices, driver’s license renewal notice, but nadda for the utility trailer. Go figure.

When I tried to renew it on year 7, they told me I’d have to pay for the 6 years of non-use fees I hadn’t paid yet (provided I gave them a notarized affidavit signing I hadn’t used it on any California roads), plus I’d have to pay some penalties. When I said “ok, what’s the total bill then?”; the DMV replied with a 7 page itemized bill: $760 … lol … that’s more than the trailer was worth.

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I live in georgia I had a truck I did not not tag for 3 year’s & all they did was charge taxes for the 3 year’s.

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You should do some research on websites that are forums for people who are rebuilders and collectors of older cars and bikes and search there for some clues for your State. The story of California charging $700 to title it is pretty common, but California does have a provision where a collector can ask for a waiver of those fees. I’ve used that provision, and it works, but it takes months. You can also inquire whether you can apply for a title in New Hampshire or Vermont instead, and avoid all the penalties.

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I went to the DMV today and they processed the title transfer completely normally, no one said anything about the date of purchase… so much for that worry :man_shrugging: Thanks for the input everyone.

Happy things worked out well for you. Thanks for the feedback, good to know. I wonder if I try to re- register my little 'ol utility trailer here at the Calif DMV they’ll relent and apply some common sense? hmmmm … I’m thinking not … lol …

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I you know anyone from Nevada, use their address and register it there.