Vehicle Licensing

 Title & Transfer Information

First Time or Out-of-State Title and Registration

A person who purchases a vehicle or brings a vehicle from another state is required to title the vehicle(s) within 15 days. If the owner of a motor vehicle does not reside in Kentucky, the vehicle shall be registered with the County Clerk of the county in which the motor vehicle is principally operated (KRS 186.020).

New residents titling vehicles in Kentucky must present the current out of state title. In some states, if the money were borrowed to purchase the vehicle, the lien holder would keep the title. In those cases, the County Clerk's office must contact the lien holder and have the title sent directly to the County Clerk. Information concerning the lien holder must be submitted to the Clerk. While waiting for the title to be sent, a temporary (30 day) license plate may be issued. The owner must provide proof of insurance and current out of state registration before the temporary "tag" may be issued.

The following documents & information are required:

  • Out of state title--a photocopy is not acceptable.
  • If purchasing from out of state dealer or individual, assignment portion of title must be properly completed.
  • Proof of sales tax paid in another state. A credit equal to the amount paid in the other state will be applied to amount owed in Kentucky. The proof must identify taxpayer, type of tax paid, dollar amount paid and serial number of vehicle.

The following types of proof are acceptable:

  • Tax shown on certificate of title
  • Dealer purchase contract
  • Financing statement from lender
  • Receipt or letter from tax agency

If proof of sales tax paid is not available, presumed credit can be given on vehicles that are being titled in the same name. The owner must show proof of current registration from the other state. The credit is the same percentage charged in the other state and is applied toward the amount owed in Kentucky, which is 6% of the current trade-in value as listed in the NADA (National Auto Dealers Assoc.) Official Used Car Guide.

  • Application for title/registration (VTR form #TC96-182) must be completed, signed by all registered owners and notarized. Persons that have power of attorney for the owner(s) may sign, but a copy of the power of attorney must be submitted with the application. If County Clerk staff notarizes signatures, identification must be presented.
    Note: Titles that contain AND (instead of OR) between the names of owners requires the signature of all owners.
  • Certified Sheriff's inspection of serial number (Sheriff's inspection section is on the application for title/registration VTR form #TC96-182. The Sheriff will not do the inspection until the VTR is signed and notarized.)
  • Proof of insurance on the vehicle being titled and registered
  • Social Security Number of each individual listed on title or Federal ID number for companies.
  • Title Lien Statement, if applicable.

Transfer of a Kentucky Titled Vehicle

A person who purchases a vehicle or brings a vehicle from another state is required to title the vehicle(s) within 15 days. If the owner of a motor vehicle does not reside in Kentucky, the vehicle shall be registered with the County Clerk of the county in which the motor vehicle is principally operated (KRS 186.020).

Currently, there are several types of Kentucky Titles that have been issued. The procedures followed are based on what type of title the seller was issued. Titles issued after February 2000 have the assignment portion and vehicle transaction record form combined on the back of the Certificate of Title. These titles would not require the VTR form # TC96-182 in order to transfer a vehicle.

Titles issued prior to February 2000 only have the assignment portion on back of the Certificate of Title and would require the VTR form # TC96-182 submitted along with the Title.

The following documents and information are required:

  • Kentucky Certificate of Title clear of all liens, with assignment portion properly completed by buyer & seller. Depending on what year your title was issued determines the procedure that you follow for a transfer.
  • Application for title/registration: If title issued before February 2000 must be completed, signed by all registered owners and notarized. Persons that have power of attorney for the owner(s) may sign, but a copy of the power of attorney must be submitted with the application. If County Clerk staff notarizes signatures, identification must be presented.
    Note: Titles that contain AND (instead of OR) between the names of owners requires the signature of all owners and/or requires both to sign & notarize.
  • Buyer Proof of Insurance (in their name) for vehicle purchasing. Title Only transfers may be done if insurance is not available or if vehicle is inoperable, but license plate must be surrendered.
  • Social Security Number for each party appearing on the title or Federal ID Number for companies.

Notes

Property tax: The owner of a vehicle as of January 1st of each tax year is responsible for the tax for that year. If at the time of transfer, the property tax has not been paid, the seller will be responsible for the tax. To avoid delinquent tax, it is recommended that the seller pay taxes at the time of transfer. If not, the seller will be sent notification by the Kentucky Revenue Cabinet of the tax due. This does not relinquished responsibility to pay property tax timely.

Usage Tax

A six percent (6%) motor vehicle usage tax is levied upon the "retail price" of vehicles transferred in Kentucky. On used vehicles, the usage tax is 6% of the current average retail as listed in the NADA Used Car Guide or 6% of total consideration paid. On used vehicles, total consideration paid is the total given less any trade-in allowance, if applicable. Trade- in allowance applies to used vehicles only and the vehicle being traded must be previously registered in Kentucky.

Usage Tax Exemptions are on the following types of Kentucky transfers:

 Charitable/Education Organization  Corporation/Proprietorship (LLC)*
 Corporation/Subsidiary (LLC)*  Court Order/Will*
 Dealer Registration  Grandparent/Grandchild
 Husband/Wife  Local Government
 Military Exempt*  Name Change
 Parent/Child  Repossession*
 State Government  Stepparent/Stepchild
 US Government  

*Documentation must be provided

Fees

Kentucky Title Fee:
$9.00

Notary Fee:
$2.00 (The title is mailed to the owner by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Title Branch, Frankfort, KY 40601. Expect the title in about 4-6 weeks.)

Kentucky Speed Title:
$25.00 (A speed title is mailed to the owner the following business day by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Title Branch, Frankfort, KY 40601.)

Transfer Fee
$8.00.

Yearly Renewal Registration Fee:
$21.00

Usage Tax:
6% of "retail price" (See Usage Tax definition above)

Title Lien Statement recording fee:
$22.00​