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Jefferson County Tax Office
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
State law requires private sale vehicle buyers to title in 30 days or face financial penalties
J. Shane Howard, Jefferson County Tax Assessor-Collector, has announced that not transferring a vehicle in 30 days can cost Jefferson County residents big money.
A new state law requires those who purchase vehicles in a private sale, whether it’s in or out of state, to obtain a new title within 30 calendar days or face financial penalties.
“In some counties people are finding they owe hundreds of dollars in title penalties for failing to title within a month of purchasing their new car or truck,” said Howard, the tax assessor-collector for Jefferson County.
“Please don’t let this happen to you,” Howard added.
Failure to title within the 30 days results in an automatic $25 penalty, plus another $25 for each month the title is late. There are no waivers for these penalties, which means the Jefferson County Tax Office and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles cannot reduce or forgive what you may owe. The law does grant an additional 30 days to active-duty military personnel, which gives them 60 days to transfer the title before facing late title penalties. While the penalties may seem harsh, it’s important to remember this helps to protect you when you go to sell a vehicle.
“When vehicle buyers don’t put the title in their name when you sell them a car or truck, anything they may do with that vehicle is going to trace to your name,” Howard explained. Sellers don’t have to rely solely on the buyer to do the right thing.
Whenever you sell a vehicle yourself or even trade one in to a dealer, it is important to file the free Vehicle Transfer Notification on the TxDMV website, www.TxDMV.gov.
“Sellers must file the Vehicle Transfer Notification within 30 days to receive the state- guaranteed protection from liability,” Howard said. “This way you cannot be held responsible for anything the buyer does with your old vehicle.”
Buyers need to realize that titling the vehicle in their name also offers protection. “When a vehicle is titled in your name it gives you proof of ownership,” Howard said.
The public can call the Jefferson County Automobile Department at (409) 835-8459 for assistance with title transfers.
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