A bill of sale in Alabama is a legal document used to record the transfer of goods from the seller to the buyer. It is typically used to transfer ownership of cars, but it can also be used for boats, trailers, horses, furniture, and any other items.

Even if a bill of sale is not required in some Alabama counties, having one on hand is always a good idea to ensure a problem-free transaction every time.

Also, the bill of sale protects the seller's and buyer's rights and interests in the case of a possible dispute.

Alabama Bill of Sale Parties

The buyer and seller are the two main parties to the bill of sale. 


The seller is a person or legal entity (if it is an authorized dealer) who transfers the ownership of certain goods to the buyer. Their main obligation is to hand over the sold item to the buyer and sign the bill of sale.


The buyer is the person to whom ownership of the item they bought is transferred. They must pay the seller the price for the purchased item or hand over the item if payment is made in the form of trade.

Buyer And Seller Disclosure

For every motor vehicle purchase in Alabama, the seller must fill out an odometer information statement if the vehicle is less than 10 years old or weighs less than 16,000 pounds.

The bill of sale can also contain the “as-is” condition, meaning that the buyer is accepting the item in its current condition without any guarantees or warranties from the seller regarding the item's quality, functionality, or condition.

Alabama Bill of Sale Description of Goods

This section should provide a detailed description of the item being transferred, including the make, model, year, and any distinguishing features that may be relevant. Of course, the information entered in this section varies based on the type of item being transferred.

By adding information on the item being purchased, the bill of sale guarantees that both parties understand the terms of the transaction and can eliminate potential disputes or misunderstandings.

Alabama Bill of Sale Purchase Price

There are several methods for the buyer to fulfill his main obligation, and those are:

#1. Payment

The buyer most often purchases an item by paying the price in cash, credit card, or check. The parties enter the amount the buyer pays, the mode of payment, and whether the price will be paid in installments or all at once.

#2. Trade

With this method, the buyer offers their own item as payment for the seller's item. The trade-in value of the buyer's item shall also be documented in the bill of sale, along with other important information about the transaction. 

This enables the buyer to lower the amount of money required for the purchase by exchanging their item for the seller's item or by offering an item and additional payment to make up the difference.

#3. Gift

When the seller transfers the item to the buyer as a gift, the bill of sale should define the value of the gifted item and its condition. On the other hand, the buyer has no obligation to pay any price in return.

Alabama Bill of Sale for Motor Vehicles (Cars) Requirements

The Alabama Department of Revenue (DOR) requires a bill of sale if you want to legally transfer ownership of an untitled car.

Aside from the above-mentioned, the state of Alabama does not generally require a bill of sale for private motor vehicles, but certain counties may demand one.

However, you should create one as documentation of your purchase, with the following information:

Mandatory Information

  • Date of the sale

  • Names and addresses of the buyer and seller

  • Vehicle description, including the make, model, year, and VIN number

  • Purchase price

  • Odometer reading at the time of the sale

  • Signatures of both the buyer and the seller

Out-of-State Vehicles

To register a car bought outside of Alabama, you do not need a bill of sale.

Abandoned or Junk Vehicles

Alabama State Law requires a bill of sale for the sale of an abandoned vehicle. It should include the following details:

Mandatory Information

  • Vehicle description, including the make, model, year, and VIN number

  • The day the vehicle was abandoned

  • The sale price

  • Repair expenses

  • Towing charges

  • Storage costs

However, for the purchase of such a vehicle to be lawful, the buyer must follow certain procedures in accordance with Section 32-13-3.

Vehicles Sold by Dealers

When purchasing a vehicle from a dealer in Alabama, the dealer typically provides a bill of sale as part of the transaction.

Vehicles Sold by Private Parties

When purchasing a vehicle from a private party in Alabama, it is important to ensure that you receive a bill of sale from the seller as proof of the purchase and the agreed-upon items.

Alabama Bill of Sale for Boats (Vessel) Requirements

To properly complete a bill of sale for a boat (vessel) in Alabama, you should include the following details:

Mandatory Information

  • Each party's name and address

  • The date of the sale

  • The make, model, year, and HIN of the vessel

  • Any warranties or guarantees made by the seller

  • A statement declaring that the seller is the legal owner of the vessel and has the right to sell it

  • Buyer and seller signatures (optional witness signature)

Note that a bill of sale is a mandatory document for registering new boats in Lee County.

Alabama Bill of Sale for Firearms Requirements

A bill of sale is not legally required for the sale of firearms in Alabama.

However, create a bill of sale that includes the following information as proof of the transaction:

Mandatory Information

  • Contact details for the seller and buyer

  • The firearm's make, model, and serial number

  • The cost of the firearm

  • The seller's warranties or guarantees

  • Both the buyer's and seller's signatures

Alabama Bill of Sale for Horses Requirements

Alabama does not require a bill of sale for horse transactions.

But, for the safety of both the buyer and the seller, you should clarify the terms of the sale in a bill of sale with the following:

Mandatory Information

  • Buyer and seller names and addresses

  • The horse's description, including breed, color, age, gender, and any distinguishing marks or characteristics

  • Purchase cost

  • The sale and possession dates

  • Both the buyer's and seller's signatures

Alabama Bill of Sale for Trailers (RVs) Requirements

Create a bill of sale for trailers that includes information on the parties involved, the trailer type, and the terms of the sale, as follows:

Mandatory Information

  • Names and addresses of the buyer and seller

  • Description of the trailer or RV, including the make, model, year, and vehicle identification number (VIN)

  • Purchase price

  • The date of the sale

  • Signatures of both the buyer and seller

Alabama Bill of Sale Other Requirements

When making a bill of sale, there are other requirements you need to be aware of, such as language requirements and the number of copies.

For example, if you are required to submit a bill of sale to the Alabama Department of Revenue, it must be written in English since DMV forms are only available in English. Therefore, if you don't speak English very well, you might need to hire a translator.

If the bill of sale is for the protection of private interests, the parties may draft it in any language so long as they understand its terms.

Lastly, keep a copy of the bill of sale for DMV purposes and at least one copy for each buyer and seller's records.

Alabama Bill of Sale Taxes

In Alabama, a bill of sale generally does not include sales tax. However, when registering a vehicle or ship, sales tax is charged.

  • Yes, a handwritten bill of sale is generally considered legitimate in Alabama as long as it includes the required information and both parties agree to the terms. 

    However, it is important to note that Alabama has specific requirements for the bill of sale for motor vehicles and boats. It is necessary to specify certain information, such as the year, make, and model, the VIN or HIN number, and the buyer's and seller's names and addresses.

  • Both the buyer and the seller must sign the bill of sale, as their signatures signify their acceptance of the transaction's terms. In certain counties of Alabama, in addition to the signature, the bill of sale must be notarized or witnessed to be valid. 

    Therefore, please consult the county's regulations before making a transaction.

  • You can download one of the templates available on our website for any type of item transfer in Alabama.

  • The bill of sale benefits both parties because it provides written evidence of ownership transfer from seller to buyer and can help prevent disputes between them.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Newest legal practices, savvy tips and insightful articles.