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Vehicle Resources

WA State Department of Licensing




Information You May Want to Know


Report of sale

The report of sale does NOT transfer ownership, but will release you from legal liability if you file the report properly. If you do not file a report of sale, you may be held liable for parking tickets, impound fees, and other financial liabilities incurred by the new owner until they transfer the title into their name. See WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF LICENSING for more detailed information.

Renew your car tabs

The State of Washington will send you a notice when your vehicle tabs and registration are due for renewal. Your address must be kept updated on your records so the notice can be mailed to you.

How to renew your tabs

You do not need your renewal notice to renew your tabs. You can renew your tabs:

  • Online
  • in person at a vehicle licensing office
  • by mail

Requirements before you renew

  • Pay any unpaid parking tickets and related penalty fees.
  • If your vehicle has a declared gross weight over 55,000 pounds, pay Federal Heavy Vehicle Use Tax.
  • If you live in a county with emissions standards, you must pass an emissions test.

When you renew

  • You must verify your residence street address or your principal place of business address.
  • All registered owners of the vehicle must present an unexpired driver license.
  • You must pay all fees related to the renewal of your vehicle tabs and registration.

If you have a special license plate, you may have additional requirements or fees when you renew.

When to renew your tabs 

You can renew your vehicle tabs and registration up to 6 months before the expiration date. 

For more detailed information, see RENEW CAR TABS.

Emissions testing

Some counties in Washington require emissions testing every 2 years. If you live in the following counties, you may have to have your vehicle tested:

  • Clark
  • King
  • Pierce
  • Snohomish
  • Spokane

Certain hybrid vehicles that have an efficiency rating of at least 50 mpg for city driving are exempt from emissions testing. For locations and hours of emissions testing, see the Department of Ecology emissions website.

Transferring ownership into your name 

  • If you buy a vehicle from a dealership, they will complete the paperwork to transfer ownership into your name for you. 
  • If you buy a car, motorcycle, or other vehicle from a private party, you are responsible for transferring ownership of the vehicle into your name within 15 days.

What you’ll need 

When you finalize the sale, make sure you receive all the documents required to transfer the title. These documents may include the following:

  • Odometer Disclosure Statement—If the vehicle is less than 10 years old, BOTH the buyer and seller must fill out and sign this form. You can get this form at any vehicle licensing office.
  • Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (title)—The seller must release ownership of the vehicle by signing in the appropriate place on the title. All persons listed on the title must sign it.
  • Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest—If the title is lost, the seller must complete an Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest and sign it in the presence of a notary public, county auditor, or licensing subagent. All persons listed on the vehicle record must sign it.
  • Bill of sale—This receipt is needed to calculate the use tax you must pay when you purchase a vehicle from a private party.
  • Emissions testing report—Emissions testing is required in urban areas of Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Spokanecounties.
  • Vehicle Title Application—If you mail your documents to The Department of Licensing, you must include a notarized Vehicle Certificate of Ownership Application. If you transfer the vehicle into your name in person at a licensing office, complete the Vehicle Certificate of Ownership Application form when you come to the office.

How to transfer ownership into your name 

Mail your notarized Vehicle Certificate of Ownership Application with all supporting documents and the fee to:

    ATTN: Vehicle Licensing Department of Licensing

    PO Box 9909

    Olympia, WA 98507-9909


Visit a vehicle licensing office. (An additional service fee may apply.)

Deadlines and penalties

You must transfer ownership into your name within 15 calendar days from the date of purchase, or pay the following penalties:

  • $25 on the 16th day.
  • $2 per day for each day after the 16th day, up to a maximum of $100.