The Rhode Island bill of sale is a document that outlines the relevant details about the transfer of personal property from a seller to a buyer.
Although a bill of sale is not required by law in many cases, parties still choose to draft and sign one when transferring personal property because:
Reasons to Use Rhode Island Bill of Sale
It provides a record of a purchase price that can be used for tax purposes.
A buyer can use it as proof of ownership in case the title is not available.
It limits the liability of the seller after the purchase.
Serves to prevent the parties from misunderstanding and disputes.
Rhode Island Bill of Sale Parties
The main parties to the bill of sale are the buyer and seller. On one bill of sale, more than one person can be listed as the buyer or seller.
The seller, or transferor, is a person who transfers ownership of their personal property to the buyer.
The buyer, or transferee, is a person who pays the purchase price and obtains personal property from the seller in exchange.
Buyer and Seller Disclosure
The seller should disclose all the damages and flaws of the item and insert them in the bill of sale. The bill of sale should also include the “as is” condition. This way, the seller discloses that there are no warranties for the item's condition since the item is sold “as is.” This is not valid for the damages that were not disclosed in the bill of sale.
There are additional disclosures that must be included, especially for the transfer of motor vehicles. The Truth in Mileage Act requires every motor vehicle seller to insert an odometer reading in the bill of sale.
Rhode Island Bill of Sale Description of Goods
This section describes all the relevant features of the transferred item. What features you should include largely depend on the type of item you are transferring.
For example, when transferring a motor vehicle, you should include the following:
Make, model, and production year of the vehicle
Vehicle identification number (VIN)
Body type and color of the vehicle
Description of any damages or flaws (for used vehicles)
Details about any additional equipment that is sold with the vehicle
For other types of items, it is important to provide all the details that will individualize the transferred item. The best way is to provide any identification number attached to the item. Otherwise, a detailed description of the item is also sufficient.
Rhode Island Bill of Sale Purchase Price
A purchase price section contains information about the amount and method of compensation due to the seller for transferring the item. Below are the three most commonly used methods of compensation:
This is the simplest and most commonly used method. The buyer transfers a certain amount of money to the seller in exchange for the purchased item. The money can be transferred via bank transfer, by using credit or debit cards, checks, or cash.
Trade includes the exchange of items between the seller and the buyer. This method is often used for motor vehicle purchases. The buyer transfers the car to the seller in exchange for the new car. The buyer often has to pay an additional amount of money to cover the difference in value between the two cars.
If the seller transfers the item to the buyer as a gift, the buyer is not obliged to compensate the seller in any way. This method is usually used between family members to transfer personal property ownership.
Rhode Island Bill of Sale for Motor Vehicles (Cars) Requirements
The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is a governmental agency in charge of motor vehicle registration and titling.
If you purchase the car outside of Rhode Island and bring it to the state, you must title and register it with the local DMV office within a 30-day period. If the vehicle is 2000 or older, you can provide the bill of sale instead of the title to register it.
Abandoned or Junk Vehicles
A vehicle that is declared a total loss by the insurance company can apply for a salvage title. For vehicles older than 2001, the transfer can be made using the bill of sale.
Vehicles Sold by Dealers
The dealer issues a bill of sale to the buyer that can be used as proof of purchase and ownership until the registration and title are issued.
Vehicles Sold by Private Parties
Private parties can use the bill of sale for transferring vehicles that are not titled or if they want to provide clauses that are not included in the motor vehicle title.
Rhode Island Bill of Sale for Boats (Vessel) Requirements
If you purchased a boat or vessel longer than 12 feet or powered by a motor, you must apply for registration and a title. When registering your boat or vessel, you must submit a bill of sale and other documents to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.
The bill of sale for a new boat must be issued on the dealer's letterhead. When buying a used boat or vessel, the bill of sale must be notarized.
Rhode Island Bill of Sale for Firearms Requirements
Rhode Island doesn’t require firearm registration. However, for the purchase of rifles or shotguns, the seller must issue a bill of sale to the buyer. (R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-35.2)
Even when not required by law, the parties should make a bill of sale for the firearm ownership transfer. This way, the seller protects themselves from liability after transferring ownership.
Rhode Island Bill of Sale for Horses Requirements
The horse bill of sale in Rhode Island should include the following:
Details about the parties
Name, breed, age, and gender of the horse
Registration number (if applicable)
Details about the flaws of the horse
Information about any additional equipment sold with the horse
Signatures of the buyer and the seller
Rhode Island Bill of Sale for Trailers (RVs) Requirements
Trailers that are newer than 2,000 and have a loaded weight of 3,001 pounds or more must be titled, and the bill of sale must be submitted for the title application unless it’s a homemade trailer.
All recreational vehicles newer than 2,000 must be titled and registered, and a bill of sale must be submitted with the title application.
Rhode Island Bill of Sale Other Requirements
A bill of sale in Rhode Island can be drafted in any language that both the seller and buyer understand. However, when submitting a registration or title application, the bill of sale must be submitted in English, or an official English translation must be attached.
When drafting a bill of sale, each party should have at least one copy for their records. Moreover, additional copies should be provided for the title or registration application.
Rhode Island Bill of Sale Taxes
The sales tax is often calculated based on the item’s purchase price, so ensure you include it in your bill of sale.
The bill of sale should contain a warning about the legal consequences of false purchase price reporting.
Yes, the Rhode Island bill of sale can be handwritten as long as it contains all the necessary elements.
Both the seller and the buyer should sign the bill of sale. In some special cases, additional witness signatures can also be included.
You can get a bill of sale form from your local DMV, draft your own bill of sale, or simply download the Rhode Island bill of sale template available on our website.
Both parties to the bill of sale benefit from signing this document. The bill of sale can serve as a way to prevent misunderstandings and disputes and to serve as proof of ownership.