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Title Information

Auto Title Information FAQ

The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Please click on the question to find the answer.
Address any questions not covered here to: taxoffice@smith-county.com

1. I lost my title. How do I get a duplicate?
2.  I just bought/sold a car. How do I transfer the title?
3. I applied for a title and neither my lien holder nor I have received it yet.
4. Why does the state show a lien on my car if I paid it off?
5. I sold my vehicle several months ago, but the registration and title have not been changed to reflect the new owner's name and address. I'm getting notices about parking tickets involving that vehicle -- and the registration renewal notice has also come to me. What can I do?
6. How do I sell a vehicle that is registered and titled in my ex/late spouse's name?
7. My title was issued incorrectly. What should I do?
8. How do I register and title a rebuilt/salvage vehicle?
9. Why can it be difficult to change a vehicle title to my name?

Q: I lost my title. How do I get a duplicate?
A: Complete the Application for Certified Copy of Title (Form 34) which is available at VTR Regional Offices and county tax offices. Make sure it has been signed by the registered owner(s) or lien holder (if a lien is indicated in the department's files). Mail the form and the $2 fee (no cash) to the address shown on the bottom of the form. For same-day service, an owner, lien holder, or verified agent of either may apply at a VTR Regional Office, and pay a $5.45 fee. These applicants must provide valid personal identification that includes a photograph issued by this state or the United States. If the person is acting as an agent, he or she must provide proof, verifiable by telephone, that they are authorized to pick up the copy of the title. Otherwise, the application must be held for four days before the copy is issued and mailed.
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Q: Answer # 2: I just bought/sold a car. How do I transfer the title?
A: The seller should indicate the purchaser's name and address, and the odometer reading and certification in the title assignment and then sign both the title and the title application (Form 130-U). These should be given to the purchaser, along with the registration receipt. The purchaser should then go to the county tax assessor-collector office within 20 working days of purchase and file the title application (proof of insurance required). The fee is $13 plus motor vehicle sales tax (6.25%). There will also be a $2.50 registration transfer fee, or possibly a registration fee, if the license is not current. If you buy a vehicle from a licensed Texas dealer, the dealer is required to file your title application with the county tax assessor-collectorís office within 20 days of the date you bought the vehicle.
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Q: Answer # 3: I applied for a title and neither my lien holder nor I have received it yet.
A: Contact the county tax office and ask them to check the record. Statewide installation of the Registration and Title System (RTS) has been completed, and customers should receive their titles within two weeks of the date the department receives the application.
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Q: Answer # 4: Why does the state show a lien on my car if I paid it off?
A: This occurs if you have not advised the state that your lien has been satisfied. To remove the lien information, go to the county tax office, fill out a Title Application (Form 130-U), and submit it along with the title and the release of lien. The fee for this service is $13. The state will mail you a title that does not show a lien.
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Answer # 5: I sold my vehicle several months ago, but the registration and title have not been changed to reflect the new owner's name and address. I'm getting notices about parking tickets involving that vehicle -- and the registration renewal notice has also come to me. What can I do?

A: It is probable the new owner has not transferred title to their name. Contact the county tax office or VTR Regional Office and fill out the Motor Vehicle Transfer Notification (Form VTR-346). Or write a letter to: Texas Department of Transportation, Vehicle Titles and Registration Division, Attention: Customer Information Services Branch, Austin, TX 78779-0001. The letter must provide the vehicle description (year, make, VIN), date of sale, and purchaserís name and address. Upon receipt of the fee and the form or letter, we will place a notation on the motor vehicle record indicating that the vehicle has been sold. The fee for this service is $5. Checks or money orders should be made payable to the Texas Department of Transportation.
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Q: Answer # 6: How do I sell a vehicle that is registered and titled in my ex/late spouse's name?
A: 1) If the divorce decree awards the vehicle to you, contact the county tax assessor-collectorís office with a certified copy of the decree and apply for title. If the decree does not award the vehicle to you, a properly assigned title will be required.
2) In the case of a deceased spouse, the ownership will be determined as to whether there is a will, trust, etc. Contact the county tax office or a VTR Regional Office for help.
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Q: Answer # 7: My title was issued incorrectly. What should I do?
A: Contact any of the VTR Regional Offices or the Customer Help Desk at (512) 465-7611. You can also contact your local county tax office.
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Q: Answer # 8: How do I register and title a rebuilt/salvage vehicle?
A:
For information about rebuilt and salvage vehicles, contact the VTR Regional Office, or the Customer Help Desk, at 512/465-7611.
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Q: Answer # 9: Why can it be difficult to change a vehicle title to my name?
A: The title law protects ownership rights for more than 15 million vehicles in Texas. Therefore, the statutes require transfer of ownership by proper execution of certain ownership documents. When these specific documents are incomplete or unavailable, Texas statutes provide for the applicant to apply for a tax collectorís hearing or bonded title in most situations.
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