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How to Gift a Car in Maryland

How to Gift a Car in Maryland: A Comprehensive Guide

Gifting a car in Maryland can be an incredibly thoughtful and generous gesture. Whether you are passing down a family heirloom or simply want to help someone in need, understanding the process of gifting a car is essential to ensure a smooth and legal transfer of ownership. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to gift a car in Maryland, along with frequently asked questions to address any concerns you may have.

Step 1: Determine the Value of the Vehicle
Before gifting a car, it is important to establish its value. This will help you determine if any taxes need to be paid on the transfer. In Maryland, if the vehicle is over seven years old, you can use the purchase price or the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) value as a reference. For vehicles under seven years old, the excise tax is calculated based on the purchase price.

Step 2: Obtain Necessary Documents
To transfer ownership of the vehicle, you will need to gather the required documents. These include the vehicle’s title, a bill of sale, and a gift letter. The gift letter should include the donor’s name, the recipient’s name, the vehicle identification number (VIN), and a statement indicating that the vehicle is being gifted with no expectation of payment.

Step 3: Complete the Title Transfer
Both the donor and the recipient must sign the back of the car’s title. The recipient will then need to complete the buyer’s section on the title. If there is a lien on the vehicle, you will need a lien release from the lender. It is also important to ensure that the title is notarized.

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Step 4: Submit the Necessary Paperwork
Once the title transfer is complete, you will need to submit the necessary paperwork to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). This includes the signed and notarized title, a completed bill of sale, the gift letter, and a completed Application for Certificate of Title. You will also need to pay any applicable fees, such as the excise tax.

Step 5: Notify Insurance and Update Registration
After the title transfer is processed, it is crucial to notify your insurance company of the change in ownership. The recipient should also update the vehicle’s registration to reflect the new owner’s information. Failure to do so may result in complications or legal issues in the future.


Q: Do I need to pay taxes when gifting a car in Maryland?
A: Yes, you may be subject to excise tax on the vehicle’s value. However, if the vehicle is being gifted to a close family member, such as a spouse, child, or parent, you may be exempt from paying taxes.

Q: Can I gift a car without a title in Maryland?
A: No, you cannot gift a car without a title. The title serves as proof of ownership, and both the donor and recipient must sign it to transfer ownership legally.

Q: Do I need to notify the MVA when gifting a car?
A: Yes, it is essential to notify the MVA by submitting the required paperwork, including the signed and notarized title, bill of sale, gift letter, and Application for Certificate of Title.

Q: Can I gift a car to someone who lives out of state?
A: Yes, you can gift a car to someone who lives out of state. However, they will need to follow the title transfer process in their respective state.

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Q: Are there any age restrictions for gifting a car in Maryland?
A: No, there are no age restrictions for gifting a car in Maryland. However, the recipient must meet the eligibility requirements for obtaining a driver’s license and registering a vehicle.

In conclusion, gifting a car in Maryland involves several important steps, including determining the vehicle’s value, gathering the necessary documents, completing the title transfer, submitting the paperwork to the MVA, and updating insurance and registration information. By following these steps and understanding the associated regulations, you can ensure a seamless transfer of ownership and provide a truly meaningful gift to your loved ones.

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