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All Topics > Expired Tags > What To Do If Late To Transfer Title on a Gifted Vehicle

What To Do If Late To Transfer Title on a Gifted Vehicle

 
Question 
My girlfriend and I were given a car in May as a gift. The registration expired in July. Due to financial difficulties we were unable to complete the title transfer in the allotted amount of time. This is a first for both of us and we are really confused as to how to handle the situation now.

Answer 
You will want to complete the title transfer as soon as possible, even though late. The DMV will apply a penalty for not having transferred the vehicle to your name within the 30 days allowed. The vehicle's registration renewal fees will be due as well. Those fees will also have accrued penalties. Registration and title transfer fees would normally be calculated based on the Vehicle License Fee (VLF) (.65% of vehicle value) and Use Tax (7.5%–10.25% depending on the county in which you reside). In your case, since you received the vehicle as a gift, you will be exempt from Use Tax. The best way to learn the exact cost of transferring your vehicle's title to your name now is by using our online title transfer fee calculator.

On a side note regarding registration renewal fees owed during a title transfer, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will not apply registration renewal late fees if a transferee acquires a vehicle, the registration subsequently expires, and the transferee pays the renewal fees within 20 days from the transfer date. Unfortunately however, it appears in this specific case you may not be eligible for this penalty exemption due to it having passed the 20 day grace period. None the less, you are still allowed to transfer the vehicle's title over to you and complete the change of ownership. Just keep in mind, the longer you wait, the greater the penalties will be. With that said, and for our readers, if you purchase a vehicle with expired tags, please know that the DMV will give you a 20 day grace period to transfer title and pay registration renewal fees without penalty. The grace period does not apply to the vehicle's previous owner; only to you, the buyer.

DMV late fee structure for Certificate of Title Transfers

Late title transfer penalty for purchase, gift, family transfer after 30 days:

Transfer (CVC §9255) Original Fee $15
—Penalty (CVC §9553.7) $15

Late registration fee penalties during title transfer after 20 days:

—21 to 30 days $15
—31 days to (and including) one year $30
—More than one year to (and including) two years $50
—More than two years $100

Late VLF (Vehicle License Fee) penalties during title transfer after 20 days:

—21 to 30 days 20%
—31 days to (and including) one year 60%
—More than one year to (and including) two years 80%
—More than two years 160%

Late CHP fee penalties during title transfer after 20 days:

CHP Fee (CVC §9250.8) Original Fee $25
—21 to 30 days $15
—31 days to (and including) one year $30
—More than one year to (and including) two years $50
—More than two years $100


 
 



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