Travis County Tax Office

Vehicle title transfer fees and penalties

Transfer requirements

You have 30 calendar days from the date the seller signed the vehicle over to you to apply for title and registration at the tax office. If you miss the deadline, Texas requires that you pay a financial penalty that can reach up to $250. Financial penalties are required in state law and the tax office can never waive or not collect what you owe for being late. Note: Active duty military personnel must file transfers within 60 days after the date of sale or pay a delinquent transfer penalty.

Filing period

The 30-day grace period (60 days for military) begins the day after the seller signed the title over to you. These are calendar days so you must include weekends when determining how long you have before financial penalties for applying late to transfer the title begins.

Filing date

When you apply for the title, the date on your receipt is your official filing date for title transfer.

You will find the filing date on: Tax Assessor-Collector’s receipt for Title Application/Registration/Motor Vehicle Tax (Form VTR-500-RTS) or Tax Assessor-Collector’s Receipt for Texas Title Application/Registration/Motor Vehicle Tax (Form VTR-31-RTS) and on the title application.

Penalty amounts general public

When you apply for a title after 30 days (military has 60 days) from the sale, the state requires you pay financial penalties.

You will pay:

  • $25 if you file for a title transfer on the 31st day
  • An additional $25 for each 30 day period in which you fail to apply for the title
  • A maximum of $250

Sales tax penalty

We collect sales tax for the State Comptroller of Public Accounts. You will owe a financial penalty if you fail to pay sales tax within 30 days (military has 60 days) of purchasing the vehicle. You will automatically pay an additional five percent on what you owe if you are late. If you do not pay within the next 30 days, the state will add ten percent on what you owe. The minimum penalty amount is $1.

These financial penalties apply whether or not it is registered and titled, and applies to motor vehicle buyers, operators and dealers. State law requires us to collect these penalties and we have no authority to waive payment. Unfortunately, this means you must pay the penalty even if the delay is beyond the control of the purchaser, operator or dealer.

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