Gifting a car between family members and states *CLOSED - Questions answered*

Hi all,
My brother has offered to give his 2008 Nissan Altima to me as a gift. He lives in Louisiana, and I live in Maryland.

Has anyone had experience with this? There are a lot of logistical issues, and I don’t really know what order to tackle them. For example, we’ll need to: transfer the title, register the car in my name, and get insurance. I’ll also need to drive it from LA to MD.

Both states have forms to complete when gifting a car between family members, which I think I can complete in lieu of a bill of sale.

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

You need to contact the respective DMV offices. They’ll be able to properly advise you.

My Dad (PA) gifted my daughter (NJ) his 03 Taurus. I first added the car to my NJ insurance policy using the VIN number. I took the signed title and proof of insurance to the NJ DMV to transfer the title, get a NJ registration, and pick up the tags. I didn’t treat it as a gift though, I gave it a nominal value and paid the sales tax at time of the transfer.

Once I had the registration and tags I picked up the car in PA. I had 14 days to get the NJ Emission inspection done.

In most states, you just treat it like any other sale…Except in the amount paid box, you write “gift”…You could check with Maryland and ask how they want the bill of sale handled so you don’t have to pay sales tax…They might want a notarized statement from the seller stating it was indeed a gift…Then again, they might not…

I would just drive the car up to Maryland on the Louisiana plates, signed off title and bill of sale in hand, and do the transfer in Maryland…

Since you are going to register it in MD, you just need to go to the MD DMV and get the proper forms. You also need to be covered by insurance. Until you register it in your name, the car legally belongs to your brother so he needs to keep his insurance coverage on it, but if he gives you the VIN, you maybe able start a policy before you go get it. He may be more comfortable with you doing that.

If you already have insurance for another car, it will cover you while you are transporting this car back to your home. Most insurance companies have a grace period, check with your agent.

While traveling, you will need something that shows you have permission to drive this vehicle while it is still registered to your brother. A signed title transfer should cover this in case you have a problem along the way, such as an accident or a traffic violation. In most states you will also need some proof of insurance, if you go through TN, you better have it if you are stopped for any reason.

Best bet is to be on your absolute best behavior while transporting the vehicle. BTW, I have done this a few times myself.

A look at the state of Maryland site shows that a bill of sale is asked for if the price of the car is 500 dollar below actual value. Since this is a freebie you may need that BOS, gift or not.

The state always gets their cut so if there are any hopes that you will catch a break on taxes because of the gift status those hopes may get dashed to the tune of 6% of value.

You might peruse the state of Louisiana fee schedule and determine if it would be more financially viable to register it in LA and then transfer to your name back in MD.
I didn’t work through the numbers to see what’s what but 6% of value seems a bit steep.

You can get most if not all the information and forms you need on line at the DMV web site. I live in MD too, and I believe that you will have to pay taxes on the fair market value of the car when you register it. The car may also need a safety inspection before registration as well.

Thank you all for your advice and input. I spoke with the MD MVA today for more information (by the way, their social media team is phenomenal - reached out to them by twitter and had all my questions answered within an hour).

MD advised that it’s not really possible to gift a car titled in another state, and they have to charge the minimum excise tax ($38) regardless, even if the sale is for $0. They advised that we drive the car from LA to MD with the LA plates, and then go through the process of re-titling, safety inspection, registration, and plates.

Your feedback was invaluable. Thanks for your help.

DMV on social media? Who would have thunk? Too bad I’m not.