The Tennessee bill of sale is a document drafted to serve as a record of ownership transfer between the buyer and seller

The bill of sale is often used as a complementary document to the title, providing all the details about the transfer that are not included in the title. This document is also used as proof of sale for items that are not titled.

The parties often make a bill of sale to provide the necessary disclosures about the item condition, especially when it’s sold as used. In addition, the bill of sale contains details about the purchase price and can be submitted to the tax authorities.

Tennessee Bill of Sale Parties

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


A seller is a party that transfers ownership of their personal property to the buyer. There can be more than one seller listed in the bill of sale, and they are often referred to as the transferor.


A buyer is a party that pays the purchase price and obtains ownership of the purchased item. They are also referred to as the transferee, and there can be more than one buyer listed in the bill of sale.

Buyer and Seller Disclosure

If you are transferring a used item, you should include the “as is” condition in the bill of sale. This condition provides that the buyer can't make a claim about the item's condition if the damage was listed on the bill of sale. 

Therefore, it is important to include a detailed description of any damages and flaws of the purchased item in the bill of sale.

Tennessee Bill of Sale Description of Goods

This section contains different information based on the type of transferred item. A universal rule when writing this section is to include all the details that help the parties to differentiate the transferred item from other items of the same kind.

In the case of the motor vehicle, you should include the following information:

Mandatory Information

  • Vehicle make, model, and year of production

  • Horsepower of the vehicle

  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)

  • Body type and color of the vehicle

  • Registration number (if applicable)

  • Odometer reading

  • Details about the condition of the vehicle

  • Information about the additional equipment that comes with the vehicle

In some cases, a local DMV will provide a bill of sale form that contains all the necessary details that need to be filled out for the vehicle.

Tennessee Bill of Sale Purchase Price

The purchase price provides information about the method of compensating the seller for transferring the item. Below are the three most commonly used methods.

#1. Payment

With this method, the buyer transfers a certain sum to the seller in exchange for the purchased item. The payment can be made in cash, using a credit or debit card, a check, or via bank transfer.

#2. Trade

With the trade, the buyer transfers one of the items from their possession in exchange for the seller’s item. The buyer often pays additional money to cover the difference in value between the two items. 

#3. Gift

This method is often used between parties that are members of the same family and there is no compensation due to the transferor. However, the parties should enter the estimated price of an item in the bill of sale. In that way, such a bill of sale can be used for tax purposes.

Tennessee Bill of Sale for Motor Vehicles (Cars) Requirements

The bill of sale is often a required document for motor vehicle registration and titling in case there is no vehicle title available. A local county clerk’s office is the body that processes the title and registration application.

Out-of-State Vehicles

All the vehicles brought from another state should be titled and registered in Tennessee. If the state from which the vehicle is brought does not issue a title, a proper bill of sale can serve as proof of ownership.

Abandoned or Junk Vehicles

Authorized towing firms or garage keepers must follow a specific procedure before obtaining the abandoned vehicle.

Vehicles that are less than ten years old and are declared a total loss by an insurance company are eligible for the salvage certificate. A seller of such a vehicle should disclose that the vehicle is salvaged or rebuilt in the bill of sale.

Vehicles Sold by Dealers

If you buy a car from an authorized dealer, the titling and registration will be handled by them. In the meantime, you can use the bill of sale as a valid proof of purchase until you get an official vehicle title in your name.

Vehicles Sold by Private Parties

Since customer protection rules can’t be implemented for transactions between private parties, one of the best ways to secure your rights is to make a bill of sale.

Tennessee Bill of Sale for Boats (Vessel) Requirements

All mechanically powered vessels and sailboats that are primarily used in Tennessee must be registered

To obtain the registration, you must submit the bill of sale, which includes the following:

Mandatory Information

  • Name, address, telephone number, and signature of the buyer and the seller

  • Date of sale

  • Purchase price

  • Vessel description that includes the make, model, year, and HIN

Check the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency website to see the full procedure for registering your vessel.

Tennessee Bill of Sale for Firearms Requirements

The seller is not allowed to sell the firearm to a person who is legally not allowed to own a firearm. 

Therefore, when drafting the bill of sale, make sure to include the buyer's disclosure that they are not prohibited from owning and purchasing the firearm. This prevents the seller's liability.

Tennessee Bill of Sale for Horses Requirements

The horse bill of sale in Tennessee should include the following:

Mandatory Information

  • Information about the seller and buyer

  • Name, breed, gender, and age of the horse

  • Registration number (if applicable)

  • Purchase price

  • Description of the horse’s condition

  • Details about the additional equipment that comes with the horse

  • Signatures of the seller and buyer

Tennessee Bill of Sale for Trailers (RVs) Requirements

If you own a boat, farm, utility, or pop-up/fold-down trailer in Tennessee, you are not required to apply for registration

The bill of sale can be used if the parties wish to provide additional details about the transaction that are not included in the title. You can also use this document instead of the seller’s invoice.

Tennessee Bill of Sale Other Requirements

The Tennessee bill of sale can be drafted in any language that both the buyer and seller are using. However, when registering your vehicle or vessel, include the bill of sale drafted in English or attach an official English translation.

Each party to the bill of sale should have one copy of the document for their records. If the item needs to be registered, you should make an extra copy to give to the government agency in charge.

Tennessee Bill of Sale Taxes

Motor vehicle and boat sales are eligible for the sales and use tax, unless:

  • It is a gift

  • The item is transferred to the Tennessee-qualified nonprofit entity

  • It is transferred to the federal government or the state of Tennessee

  • The sale occurred between the spouses, siblings, linear relatives, or spouses of linear relatives

If the item is transferred as a gift or between the spouses and relatives mentioned above, the parties should submit the Affidavit of Non-Dealer Transfers of Motor Vehicles and Boats.

  • A handwritten bill of sale is considered valid in Tennessee as long as it contains all the necessary details and information.

  • The buyer and the seller are both required to sign the bill of sale in Tennessee. In some cases, the authorized agent can sign the bill of sale on behalf of the parties after presenting a valid power of attorney.

  • The best way to get the Tennessee bill of sale for any kind of item transfer is to download one of the bill of sale templates available on our website.

  • All the parties benefit from signing the bill of sale by securing their rights and having proof of all the details connected to the ownership transfer.

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