A Florida bill of sale is a document drafted between the seller and the buyer that serves as a record of the transaction between them.
Many states require a bill of sale for registering motor vehicles, boats and vessels, firearms, trailers, and more. However, even when not required by law, parties choose to make the bill of sale for various reasons, namely:
Reasons to Use Florida Bill of Sale
As a way for the seller to limit their liability after the purchase
For the buyer to prove the ownership over the items that have no title attached to it
As proof of purchase price used for calculating the sales tax
For creating a paper trail of the ownership transfer
Florida Bill of Sale Parties
The main parties to the bill of sale are the buyer and the seller. Every bill of sale should include the full legal name of the seller and the buyer, their address, ID number, and contact details.
This person transfers the ownership of a certain item to the seller. In some bills of sale, they are also referred to as the transferor.
The buyer, or transferee, is a person who obtains the item from the seller in exchange for the purchase price.
Buyer and Seller Disclosure
Most of the bills of sale contain an “as is” disclosure. This limits the seller's liability for any damages that were present at the moment of the purchase. By signing the bill of sale, the buyer agrees to buy the item with all its flaws and damages. However, the “as is” disclosure will not protect the seller from the damages that were not properly disclosed in the bill of sale or hidden from the buyer.
Florida Bill of Sale Description of Goods
This section describes the transferred item. The description will mostly depend on the type of item you are buying or selling.
For motor vehicles in Florida, this section shall include the following:
Make/Manufacturer and model of the motor vehicle
Vehicle body type, production year, and color
Vehicle identification number
Description of any damages (for used vehicles)
For any other type of item, you should include all the relevant information that makes it distinguishable from other items of the same kind. The most useful information in this category can be any identification number related to the item, if applicable.
Otherwise, you can just give a detailed description of the item.
Florida Bill of Sale Purchase Price
The purchase price section outlines the details of the compensation that is due to the seller for transferring ownership of the item. Below are the three most commonly used compensation methods.
With this method, the buyer transfers money in cash or by using a credit or debit card, check, or bank transfer.
Here, the buyer will transfer the ownership of their item to the seller and, in some cases, pay a certain amount to cover the difference between the values of the two exchanged items. This is mostly used in the motor vehicle market, where the buyer is exchanging their old car for a newer one.
With this method, no compensation is due to the seller. This is often used for transferring ownership between family members. Even when the item is transferred as a gift, the parties should provide the estimated item value for tax reasons.
Florida Bill of Sale for Motor Vehicles (Cars) Requirements
After buying your motor vehicle, you should submit your bill of sale and other documents to the local Florida DMV office and register your vehicle.
If you bought a vehicle outside of Florida, you will have to register it with the Florida DMV. Although not explicitly required for the registration of the out-of-state vehicle, the bill of sale might be requested in some special cases.
Abandoned or Junk Vehicles
The junked motor vehicle in Florida does not have a title or registration. Therefore, when selling a junk vehicle, you can use a general bill of sale.
Vehicles Sold by Dealers
Dealers in Florida are licensed to do the registration on your behalf. Most dealerships will issue a bill of sale for the purchased vehicle as proof of purchase until you get the title in your name.
Vehicles Sold by Private Parties
The Florida DMV recommends that the private sellers sign the bill of sale. By signing it, the seller will not be liable for any actions associated with the vehicle after the sale.
Florida Bill of Sale for Boats (Vessel) Requirements
All the boats and vessels in Florida must have a title and be registered. To get a title for a new vessel, you must show the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO) or a bill of sale if you bought the boat in a state that doesn't require an MCO.
The bill of sale will also serve as proof of ownership that is to be submitted when applying for a Florida title, in case you purchased a vessel from a state that doesn’t require a title for a vessel.
Florida Bill of Sale for Firearms Requirements
The state of Florida does not require firearm registration. However, the bill of sale can be a valid proof of ownership for the buyer and limit the seller’s liability after the purchase.
The firearm bill of sale should include the following:
Names and addresses of the seller and buyer
Made, model, and caliber of the firearm
Firearm identification number
Signatures of the seller and buyer
Florida Bill of Sale for Horses Requirements
The Florida Administrative Code (FAC) requires every horse transaction to be recorded on a bill of sale that contains the following:
Name, address, and signature of the seller and buyer or their authorized agents
Name of the horse and its sire and dam (if known)
Horses breed and registry status (if applicable and if known)
The age of the hose
Date of the sale
Statements of the seller and buyer, as provided in the FAC
Florida Bill of Sale for Trailers (RVs) Requirements
Trailers in Florida must be registered at the local DMV.
If you purchased a trailer from a state that doesn’t require a title, you must submit the bill of sale as proof of ownership.
Also, trailers that weigh less than 2,000 pounds don’t need to be titled. Therefore, you can use the bill of sale as proof of ownership.
Florida Bill of Sale Other Requirements
Florida law doesn’t have specific requirements about the language that must be used when drafting the bill of sale.
However, when submitting the bill of sale to the local DMV, you should submit the bill of sale in English or attach an official English translation to a bill of sale drafted in another language.
In practice, you should make at least one copy of the bill of sale for each party to keep in their records. Additionally, if the item must be registered, you should submit at least one additional copy to the governmental agency responsible for registration.
Florida Bill of Sale Taxes
The bill of sale can be used as proof of the purchase price for sales and tax purposes.
The Florida bill of sale should include a warning about the legal consequences of providing a false purchase price.
Florida Bill of Sale FAQ
Yes, the bill of sale that is handwritten can also be used as proof of ownership transfer in Florida.
The bill of sale must be signed by both the seller and the buyer of an item. The Florida DMV also recommends that the parties notarize their bill of sale when transferring ownership of a motor vehicle.
You can find a bill of sale form at the local government office in charge of item registration, draft the bill of sale on your own, or download one of the bill of sale templates available on our website.
All parties to the bill of sale benefit from signing it. The buyer has proof that the seller transferred ownership to them. For the seller, the bill of sale limits their liability over the item after the purchase.