The Virginia bill of sale is a legally binding document drafted between the seller and buyer for recording personal property transfers.
The State of Virginia requires a bill of sale to be submitted with the motor vehicle title application. For other types of items, the bill of sale is not a required document. However, there are many benefits to having one, namely:
Reasons to Use Virginia Bill of Sale
Parties can use the bill of sale to record all the important details about their transaction
It can serve as proof of ownership for items that are not titles
The seller can use the bill of sale to limit their liability for the item after the purchase
It can be used as proof of purchase price for the tax purposes
Virginia Bill of Sale Parties
The main parties to the bill of sale are the seller and the buyer. They can also be referred to as the transferor and transferee.
A seller is a party to the bill of sale that transfers the ownership of their personal property to the buyer.
A buyer is a bill of sale party that becomes the new owner of the transferred item in exchange for the purchase price.
Buyer and Seller Disclosure
If selling the item as used, the seller should disclose any damages and flaws in the bill of sale. This protects the seller from any claims by the buyer related to the condition of the item, as long as they are disclosed in the bill of sale.
The bill of sale can also include warranties or the “as is” condition. The “as is” condition means that the buyer agrees to buy the item with all its damages and flaws and that the seller does not provide any warranty for the item’s condition.
Virginia Bill of Sale Description of Goods
This section describes all the key features of the transferred item. It helps the parties individualize the transferred item and differentiate it from other items of the same kind.
The crucial information in this section is the item’s identification number. It can have different names depending on the type of item, like the vehicle or hull identification number or serial number. For some items, like motor vehicles, sellers are required by law to include an odometer disclosure in this section.
In addition, you should provide a detailed description of all the characteristics and features of the transferred item, namely:
Item’s make and model
Size and color
Description of all the damages and flaws
Virginia Bill of Sale Purchase Price
A purchase price is a required element of the bill of sale since the sales tax is calculated according to it. Below are the three most common ways of compensating the seller for transferring the item.
With this method, the buyer transfers a certain amount of money to the seller in exchange for the transferred item. The payment can be made via bank transfer, cash, checks, credit cards, or debit cards.
This method is often used in motor vehicle transfers. The buyer trades in their old vehicle in exchange for the new one. If there is a difference in value between the two items, the buyer transfers a certain amount of money to cover the difference.
If the item is transferred as a gift, that means that there is no compensation due to the seller. This method is often used for transferring ownership of an item between members of the same family.
Virginia Bill of Sale for Motor Vehicles (Cars) Requirements
If you purchased a motor vehicle in Virginia, you must submit your title and registration application to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
If you purchase a motor vehicle from another state or you move to Virginia, you must title and register your vehicle within 30 days. When applying for the title, if your vehicle was purchased in the last 12 months, you must submit proof of purchase price, which can be one of the following:
Forms of Proof of Purchase
Bill of sale
Seller's declared sale price on the title
Abandoned or Junk Vehicles
If the cost of repair for the damaged vehicle is at least 75% of the vehicle's value, the owner can declare the vehicle a salvage and obtain a salvage certificate. The vehicle can then be sold to the party authorized to buy salvage or rebuilt vehicles.
Vehicles Sold by Dealers
Dealers in Virginia are authorized to apply for the title and registration on behalf of the buyer. Until the buyer gets a title in their name, they can use the bill of sale as proof of purchase and protect their rights.
Vehicles Sold by Private Parties
Private parties should sign the bill of sale to have a document that defines all the details about the purchase. Both parties can then use this document to prove their rights to third parties.
Virginia Bill of Sale for Boats (Vessel) Requirements
If you have just purchased the boat or vessel and you haven’t registered it in your name yet, you can still operate the boat. You will have to carry the registration from the previous owner and the bill of sale as proof of ownership. However, after 30 days from the purchase, you must register the boat in your name in order to operate it.
Virginia Bill of Sale for Firearms Requirements
Private parties are allowed to transfer firearms in Virginia as long as they are both residents of Virginia, and the buyer has passed the background check.
The state doesn’t provide a bill of sale form, and the bill of sale is not required. However, the parties choose to make a bill of sale when transferring the firearm in order to have a record of the transaction in case the firearm gets lost or is used in illegal activities.
Virginia Bill of Sale for Horses Requirements
A horse bill of sale in Virginia should include the following:
Names and addresses of the seller and buyer
Horse name and breed
Age and gender of the horse
Horse Identification number (if applicable)
Description of any flaws of the horse
Details about the additional accessories and equipment sold with the horse
Disclosures of the seller and buyer
Signatures of the seller and buyer
Virginia Bill of Sale for Trailers (RVs) Requirements
Trailers in Virginia must be registered. The registration can be done annually, biannually, or permanently.
It is important that you enter the gross weight of your trailer in the bill of sale since the trailer registration fee is calculated based on this information.
If you register your trailer permanently and transfer ownership of the trailer, the new owner must re-register the trailer in their name.
Virginia Bill of Sale Other Requirements
Although the bill of sale can be written in any language, it's necessary to include an official English translation when submitting it to the Virginia government office for item registration.
Every party involved in the transaction must retain a copy of the bill of sale. If registration is required, you must submit an extra copy to the relevant government agency.
Virginia Bill of Sale Taxes
The state of Virginia is charging a sales and use tax for every vehicle ownership transfer. The tax rate is 4.15% on the gross sales price or $75, whichever is greater.
Therefore, it is important to insert a sales price in your bill of sale or title so it can be used as proof of purchase price.
Every bill of sale should also include a warning on legal liabilities for false purchase price reporting.
If you make a handwritten bill of sale in Virginia, this document will still be legitimate as long as it contains all the necessary information.
A bill of sale should be signed by the seller and buyer. Exceptionally, they can authorize a third party to sign the bill of sale on their behalf by issuing a power of attorney.
Some governmental agencies, like the Virginia DMV, provide a bill of sale form that can be filled out and signed by the parties.
However, if you wish to provide additional details in your bill of sale that are not included in the bill of sale form, you should draft a custom document or simply download a bill of sale template available on our website.
All the parties to the bill of sale benefit from signing this document.
The seller can use this document to limit their liability after they've transferred the item to the buyer. On the other hand, a buyer can use this document as proof of ownership in case the item is not titled.