Buying a Vehicle

You have 30 days from the date of purchase to title and pay sales tax on your newly purchased vehicle. If you do not title the vehicle within 30 days, there is a title penalty of $25 on the 31st day after purchase. The penalty increases another $25 for every 30 days you are late with a maximum penalty of $200.

When you purchase your vehicle, you may obtain a temporary permit, transfer license plates from a vehicle you already own, or you may purchase new license plates. Our online sales tax calculator may help you estimate the taxes and fees you will pay.


Obtaining a Temporary Permit

Upon purchase of a newly acquired motor vehicle, trailer, or motorcycle/motortricycle, you may purchase a temporary permit to operate the vehicle when no plates are available for transfer. (Missouri dealers can sell temporary permits to out-of-state residents only if they are purchasing motor vehicles, trailers, or motorcycles/motortricycles from their dealership).

To obtain a temporary permit, please bring the following items with you to any Missouri license office:

  1. One of the following ownership documents:
    1. The Certificate of Title, properly signed over to you (see instructions), or Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO);
    2. Bill of Sale (Form 1957);
    3. Notice of Sale (Form 5049); or
    4. A Missouri Application for Title and License (Form 108) signed by the dealer.
  2. A safety inspection (not more than 60 days old), unless:
    1. you have an MSO;
    2. you are a resident of a state other than Missouri; or
    3. you are obtaining a temporary permit for a trailer.
  3. A current insurance identification card (original, copy, or electronic if legible) or other proof of financial responsibility. This requirement does not apply to trailers.

You will pay:

The temporary permit must be securely placed on the rear of the vehicle, trailer, or motorcycle consistent with the placement of regular license plates so it is visible and not obscured in any way.

back to top


Transferring License Plates

Credit of registration is available for many types of vehicle-to-vehicle registration transfers. And, in limited situations, the actual license plates may also be transferred to the new vehicle without having to obtain new license plates.

NOTE: When there is a complete change of ownership, the seller's license plates cannot be transferred to (or used by) the purchaser.

If you are TRANSFERRING license plates from your old vehicle to your new vehicle, please bring the following items with you to any Missouri license office:

  1. The Certificate of Title, properly signed over to you (see instructions), or Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO);
  2. A signed Application for Missouri Title and License (Form 108);
  3. A safety inspection not more than 60 days old, if applicable unless you have an MSO;
  4. A current insurance identification card (original, copy, or electronic if legible) or other proof of financial responsibility. This requirement does not apply to trailers; and
  5. An emissions inspection not more than 60 days old, if you reside in St. Louis City or the following counties: Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles, or St. Louis (unless you have an MSO).

NOTE: You may be required to submit separate proof of an Identification Number/Odometer Reading Inspection (ID/OD) if ownership of the motor vehicle was transferred to you on a title issued by another state or country.

You will pay:

Estimate your taxes & fees:

NOTE: If you purchased a vehicle from an out-of-state dealer and had a trade-in, you must present proof of the trade-in in order to receive a tax credit when you title the vehicle in Missouri. This proof may be in the form of:

The amount allowed for the trade-in should either be recorded on the title assignment if a space is provided or on the dealer invoice.

If you are unsure what transfer options you may have, please ask the clerk at any Missouri license office or you may contact our staff by e-mail at mvbmail@dor.mo.gov.

back to top


Buying New License Plates

If you are purchasing NEW license plates for your vehicle, you will need to bring the following items to any Missouri license office:

  1. The Certificate of Title, properly signed over to you (see instructions), or Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO);
  2. A signed Application for Missouri Title and License (Form 108);
  3. An original (or copy) paid personal property tax receipt or a statement of non-assessment from your county of residence (or city of St. Louis) for the previous year.
  4. A safety inspection not more than 60 days old, if applicable unless you have an MSO;
  5. A current insurance identification card (original, copy, or electronic if legible) or other proof of financial responsibility. This requirement does not apply to trailers; and
  6. An emissions inspection not more than 60 days old, if you reside in St. Louis City or the following counties: Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles, or St. Louis (unless you have an MSO).

NOTE: You may be required to submit separate proof of an Identification Number/Odometer Reading Inspection (ID/OD) if ownership of the motor vehicle was transferred to you on a title issued by another state or country.

You Will Pay:

Estimate your taxes & fees:

NOTE: If you purchased a vehicle from an out-of-state dealer and had a trade-in, you must present proof of the trade-in in order to receive a tax credit when you title the vehicle in Missouri. This proof may be in the form of:

The amount allowed for the trade-in should either be recorded on the title assignment if a space is provided or on the dealer invoice.

back to top


How Do I Pay?

Payment may be made by cash or money order at any Missouri license office. Personal checks, credit cards (Discover, American Express, and Master Card only), and debit cards are accepted at some license offices. Please contact your local office for payment options.

The department's Central Office accepts cash, personal check, cashier's check, money order, credit cards (Discover, American Express, and Master Card only), and debit cards. Personal checks must be made payable to the Missouri Department of Revenue. Personal checks must be preprinted with the check writer's name, address, bank code, and account number. The personal check must also include the following information regarding the check writer:

The Missouri Department of Revenue may electronically resubmit checks returned for insufficient or uncollected funds.

Credit / Debit Card Transactions - The "convenience fee" charged by the credit/debit card vendor for transactions up to $33.00 is $1.00. For transactions over $33.00, please see the table below.

Transaction Amount Convenience Fee
$0.00 - $33.00 $1.00
$33.01 - $100.00 3.00 %
$100.01 - $250.00 2.95 %
$250.01 - $500.00 2.85 %
$500.01 - $750.00 2.85 %
$750.01 - $1,000.00 2.80 %
$1,000.01 - $1,500.00 2.75 %
$1,500.01 - $2,000.00 2.70 %
$2,000.01 or more 2.60 %

back to top


Verification of Purchase Price

Under Missouri law (144.070, RSMo), the Department of Revenue must assess taxes based on a satisfactory appraisal of the vehicle’s value. If the purchase price is unusually low, unusually high, or the applicant fails to submit satisfactory proof of vehicle purchase price, the applicant will be required to obtain a notarized bill of sale from the seller, or pay taxes on the fair market value of the vehicle as determined by Kelley Blue Book.

back to top


Don't Become A Victim of Curbstoning!

Curbstoning is the sale of used vehicles by unlicensed dealers who pretend to be private parties in order to evade regulation. Their customers often get saddled with damaged, dangerous, or uninsurable vehicles – by which time the curbstoner is long gone with their cash. Curbstoning is illegal in many states, yet defrauds thousands of unwary consumers every year.

Click here for more information about curbstoning.

If you would like to report a suspected curbstoning operation to the Department of Revenue, please submit a completed Complaint (Form 4683).

back to top