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Registry of Motor Vehicles - Vehicle Transfer

Transfer of vehicle ownership is a legal process. The fee is $12.80.

The signature of the registered owner as seller is required on the reverse of the Certificate of Registration (Transfer of Ownership). The seller must also fill out the section headed Transfer of Title Certificate of Sale (Part 1) and give it to the new owner.

The seller must sign the notice of sale portion of Certificate of Registration, indicating to whom the vehicle was sold, and immediately return the Notice of Sale to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Within 30 days of the date of purchase, the purchaser must complete an Application for Certificate of Registration (Part 3), including the tax declaration, to register the vehicle. Any applicable tax, along with the appropriate transfer, and/or registration fee must be remitted to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Remember -- all blank spaces in Part 1 and Part 3 of the certificate of registration must be completed. Part 2 is only to be completed when the vehicle is sold through a licensed dealer.

Identification Requirements

Plates originally assigned to the seller are to be removed from the vehicle. These plates may either be re-assigned to a new vehicle or returned to the Registry of Motor Vehicles for a refund on the unused portion.

Whenever a vehicle is sold, the vehicle shall be deemed to be registered under the name of the purchaser or transferee (providing there are displayed valid plates assigned to that person) for a period not exceeding 30 days from the date of sale. After this time, it remains expired until it is re-registered by the new owner. The vehicle must also display a valid Motor Vehicle Inspection Number.

* For vehicle inspection requirement see Safety Inspection.

Note: Effective January 1, 2004, any time a vehicle registration (plate) is issued or renewed for a motorized vehicle (excludes off-highway vehicles, trailers, semi-trailers and miscellaneous towed vehicles), insurance information is required.  A Statement of Insurance form must be completed.   For more information, click here.

Applicable tax must be paid to the Registry of Motor Vehicles at the time of the transfer, except when purchased through a licensed dealer. When a vehicle is purchased through a licensed dealer, all applicable taxes are paid to the dealer.

Tax is based on the Red Book Value of the vehicle or the purchase price, whichever is greater.

For additional information, see “Tax on Privately Purchased Vehicles” brochure.

If it is felt the vehicle is not worth its Canadian Red Book Value, the vehicle may be appraised by a new or used dealer who has a valid registration under the Motor Vehicle Act, or an appraisal firm recognized by Service Nova Scotia. If the vehicle is appraised tax is charged on the greater of the appraisal or purchase price.

To pay tax on the appraised value, you must have the appraisal completed before the vehicle is transferred.

Appraisals must be completed on form "Motor Vehicle Appraisal Record".

Vehicles being registered as out of province gifts are taxable on the Red Book Value or appraisal if proof is not provided which reflects Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) or Nova Scotia Sales Tax (NSST) having been originally paid on the gifted vehicles.

If an appraisal is not completed before the vehicle is transferred, tax is based on the Red Book Value and the appraisal must be obtained and a refund applied for through the Provincial Tax Commission within 30 days of the date of registration.

Tax to be paid on motorcycles, motor homes, all terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, trailers, buses, (heavy over 3000kg) commercial trucks, antiques and classic cars will be based on the declared purchase price and reviewed by the Provincial Tax Commission to establish the fair market value for taxation purposes.

All private sale vehicles not having a valid tax exemption are taxable at the rate of 15% Nova Scotia Sales Tax (NSST) based on the greater of the purchase price or Canadian Red Book value at the time of registration.

If it is a private sale of a vehicle and the purchaser does not have valid plates to attach, a temporary permit is available from any of the Registry of Motor Vehicle offices throughout the province. For documentation required to obtain a temporary permit, see Temporary (Vehicle) Permit, Application Forms & Process. Temporary permits are valid for 30 days and the fee is $12.80.

Note: Effective January 1, 2004, any time a vehicle registration (plate) is issued or renewed for a motorized vehicle (excludes off-highway vehicles, trailers, semi-trailers and miscellaneous towed vehicles), insurance information is required. A Statement of Insurance form must be completed.

Tax may not be payable in certain situations.

To be eligible for the tax exemption, you must show acceptable proof when the vehicle is transferred.

Only one tax exempt gift transfer is permitted per vehicle within a twelve month period.

Tax Exempt Situations:

If a vehicle is transferred as a gift between immediate family members in province, tax is not payable. Immediate family members are defined as:

Father Step Parents Father-In-Law
Mother Spouse Mother-In-Law
Son Grandfather Son-In-Law
Daughter Grandmother Daughter-In-Law
Step Child Grandson Granddaughter
Brother Sister

Common-law partners and same-sex partners co-habitating for at least one year are also considered to be immediate family members. A vehicle bought by a Status Indian living on a reserve is tax exempt provided possession of vehicle takes place on the Reserve. A vehicle bought by a diplomat is tax exempt. A vehicle brought into Nova Scotia as part of Settlers Effects is tax exempt.

For more information on the tax that must be paid on the private sale of a vehicle, call:

1-800-898-7668 (toll-free) or
424-5851 (Halifax Metro)

NOTE: The V.I.N. (serial number) must be provided at the time of inquiry.

Vehicle Registration and Plates Information Index


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