Back to Whatcom County home page Whatcom County | Departments | Contacts |  Help |  Search
 Auditorheader image
  Auditor Home  | Elections  | Licensing  | Recording

   
Licensing / Vehicle Title Transfers
Vehicle Title Transfers

Note on Vessel Titles: The procedure for obtaining a vessel title can vary depending on many factors. Please contact a the Auditor's office or a subagent office for more information.

Out of State Vehicles

If this is the FIRST TIME your motor vehicle is to be registered in Washington, the following fees apply to you:

  • License fee for passenger cars: $30
  • Weight fee $10 to $30
  • Filing fee: $7
  • Trauma care fee: $6.50
  • Title application fee: $5
  • Reflectorization fee: $4
  • License service fee: $.75
  • License fee for trucks based on gross vehicle weight
  • Inspection fee: $15

Other fees listed above may apply.

Vehicles With a Washington Title

If you buy a used vehicle that has a Washington title, you are required to transfer the title within 15 days from the date of sale. You will need the following documents: 

  • The Washington title
  • A receipt specifying the purchase price
  • A federal odometer statement, from the previous owner on vehicles less than 10 years old, stating the number of miles on the vehicle
  • A penalty fee will be applied if the title is not transferred within 15 days of purchase. The penalty is $25 on day 16 and $2 per day each day after to a maximum of $100.

Vehicles Received as a Gift

Vehicles received as a gift from another party may be exempt from sales and use tax. To obtain an exemption you must:

  • Provide proof that the donor paid sales or use tax in Washington state.
  • Bring a signed statement with you from the donor that states the vehicle is a gift. This rule also applies to all out-of-state vehicles given as gifts.
  • This exemption can only be used once for a vehicle.

Inherited Vehicles

How the assets are handled when one or more of the owners is deceased determines the documentation required (i.e. legal action – administered, probated, court ordered, current ownership is JTWROS, community property agreement or not administered – no legal action).

Wills are not adequate documentation for transfer requirements. An executor appointed in a will is not recognized unless court appointed.

The chart below shows what documentation you need to submit when transferring ownership from the deceased person. The person who inherits the vehicle/vessel may sell it or keep it. You will need to supply a release of interest if the inheritor is not keeping the vehicle/vessel.

Action Taken With Assets Documents Needed for New Title Application
Legal Action (administered, probated, court ordered) Certified letter of testamentary, or letter of administration, or Certificate of County Clerk TD 420-041
Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship A copy of certified death certificate
Community Property Agreement A copy of certified death certificate and Copy of Community Property Agreement
Estate not administered A copy of certified death certificate andAffidavit of inheritance (release of interest if required), or affidavit of succession (optional if the estate is under $60,000

The above information is in addition to other documents required for title transfers, such as an odometer statement if the vehicle is less than 10 years old and the current title.

Back to Licensing Home