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Overview

This page provides an overview of motor vehicle requirements and guides you to specific information to help ensure you successfully complete your transaction. To estimate your transaction costs, see our sales tax page and motor vehicle fees page. Please also review our payment policy and options.

Motor vehicle services include not only motor vehicles but also mobile homes, travel trailers, park models, boats, utility and boat trailers, and heavy trucks.

Depending on your scenario, you may be able to complete your transaction by mail or online. Title and registration service options are:

We also offer dealer services to Manatee County dealers.

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Title transfer

Signing over a title
To properly sign over a title, the buyer and seller must complete the following items in the "Transfer of Title by Seller" section:
  • Printed name and signature of buyer(s) and seller(s)
  • Selling price
  • Date of sale
  • Odometer reading (if applicable)
Complete these items carefully! Alterations and erasures, including strike-outs and white-out, may void the title.

Time frame requirements
If you have sold or transferred a Florida-titled motor vehicle, mobile home, or boat, to limit your liability you must notify the DHSMV within 30 days. You can do this by completing a Notice of SalePDF file or by detaching and completing the top third of the Florida title and mailing that form to the DHSMV at the address on the form.

If you have purchased a motor vehicle, mobile home, or boat through a private sale, to avoid late fees you must transfer the title into your name within 30 days.

Identification requirements
To complete your title transfer at one of our locations, all owners or purchasers must be present with a valid (unexpired) driver license or ID card issued by a state or US territory. We can also accept a valid (unexpired) passport from any country. If an owner or purchaser cannot be present, you may bring a copy of that person's identification and a completed Power of Attorney formNew window.

To obtain a title in a business name, you must submit documentation proving the business is valid. For this, you may use a SunBizNew window printout. If SunBiz does not list the person acting on behalf of the business as an officer, director, or registered agent, then you must also submit a statement on letterhead that authorizes that person to act on behalf of the business.

Liens
To record a lien at the time of your title transfer, you must provide the lienholder's name and address. In some cases, you may need to provide a completed Notice of Lien formNew window.

If you have paid off your lien and the lienholder has an electronic copy of your title, you can continue to store your title electronically until you transfer ownership to someone else. For information, read our electronic title FAQ.

Additional information
For full requirements, read our Florida title transfer publicationPDF file and out-of-state title transfer publicationPDF file.

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Duplicate title

If you have lost or misplaced your Florida title, you can obtain a duplicate title at any of our locations. For requirements, read our duplicate title publicationPDF file.

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Motor vehicle, motorcycle, boat registration

Renewal
Privately owned motor vehicle, motorcycle, and boat registrations expire each year at midnight on the first registered owner's birthday. You can renew up to three months in advance - you do not have to wait for the courtesy renewal notice to arrive in the mail.

Renewal service options are:
  • Online – You may be able to complete your transaction onlineNew window through the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), which is a separate agency from the tax collector's office.
  • By mail:
    • With renewal notice – If you receive a courtesy renewal notice in the mail, you may complete the renewal form and insurance affidavit (if applicable) and mail them to our office with your payment.
    • Without renewal notice – If you do not receive a courtesy renewal notice, you may complete a Renewal by Mail formPDF file and mail it to our office with your payment.
  • In person at one of our locations – Bring your proof of Florida insurance and your driver license or ID card.
Please review our payment policy and options to help ensure you successfully complete your transaction.

Military insurance exemption
Military members may be exempt from certain insurance and registration requirements. For information, read our military FAQ.

Specialty and personalized license plates
You may opt for a standard license plate, a specialty plate, a personalized plate, or even a personalized specialty plate. Additional fees apply to specialty and personalized plates. The DHSMV provides a list of over 100 specialty plates and their associated feesNew window. For information on personalized plates, read our license plate FAQ.

Military license plates
Military members may qualify for military-specific specialty plates. The DHSMV provides a list of military license plates and requirementsNew window.

Registration only
If you are moving to Florida from another state and are leasing or making payments on your motor vehicle or boat, you may be eligible to get a Florida license plate and registration without getting a Florida title. For requirements, read our registration only publicationPDF file.

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Mobile homes, travel trailers, and park models

Mobile homes
All mobile homes must bear a decal. If you own the mobile home and the land, the decal does not expire. If you own the mobile home but rent the land, the decal expires each year on December 31.

In addition, all mobile home attachments are subject to property taxes. Examples include air conditioners, screened porches, cabanas, and carports. When you purchase a mobile home, be sure to notify the Manatee County Property AppraiserNew window (a separate agency from our office) to update the property tax roll.

You may or may not have to pay sales tax when you purchase a mobile home, depending on its classification. For information, see our sales tax page.

Travel trailers and park models
All travel trailers and park models must bear a license plate. The registration expires each year at midnight on the first registered owner's birthday. If you are moving to Florida from another state and want to get Florida license plates for your travel trailer or park model, you must first transfer the title to Florida.

If a mobile home, travel trailer, or park model does not bear the appropriate decal or license plate, then both the unit and all attachments are subject to property taxes.

For more information about mobile homes, travel trailers, and park models, read our mobile home FAQ.

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Boats

All boats registered in Florida and operated on Florida waterways must bear a decal and an "FL" number. The registration expires each year at midnight on the first registered owner's birthday.

If you purchased a boat and outboard motor from the same seller, you may qualify for a partial sales tax exemption. For requirements, read our complete rig FAQ.

For more information, read our boat FAQ.

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Utility and boat trailers

1,999 pounds and under
Florida does not issue titles on utility and boat trailers weighing 1,999 pounds or less. These trailers receive a license plate and a registration that serves as the ownership document and contains a bill of sale. For registration requirements, read our boat/utility trailer publicationPDF file.

2,000 pounds and over
Utility and boat trailers weighing 2,000 pounds or more require a title and registration. If you have purchased a trailer that weighs 2,000 pounds or more, read our Florida title transfer publicationPDF file and out-of-state title transfer publicationPDF file for full requirements.

If the trailer is homemade and has never been titled or registered, you must obtain an inspection and an FLT number from a DMV Regional Office before applying for title and registration. To schedule an appointment, call the Palmetto DMV Regional Office at (941) 723-4551.

You can find a list of trailer weigh stations in our boat/utility trailer publicationPDF file.

For more information about utility and boat trailers, read our boat FAQ.

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Heavy truck registration

Trucks, tractors, and wreckers with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) over 5,000 pounds are classified as "heavy trucks." If you have a heavy truck, you must declare the vehicle's GVW and classification (our office cannot determine these for you).

Heavy truck registrations expire every year on December 31. In some cases, a heavy truck may qualify for a half-year registration, which expires each year on May 31 and December 31.

For information about fees, insurance requirements, heavy vehicle use tax, and license plates, read our heavy truck FAQ.

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Dealer services

Our DeSoto location provides dealer services. For information about dealer drop-off work and appointment requirements for dealer wait-on work, read our dealer appointment FAQ. If you have questions about your title work or need to update your information, you may email us at dealer@taxcollector.com.

Manatee County towing companies, title companies, and government offices may also use our drop-off service.

All transactions are subject to the $0.50 branch fee.

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Additional information

For more information about motor vehicle, mobile home, trailer, and boat titles and registrations, including changes of address, read the appropriate FAQ:

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