How to transfer car ownership in Australia

Whether you’re getting rid of Mum’s old car or passing on a beloved family vehicle to a friendly face, transferring car ownership is a pain for most Aussies.

Depending on which state you live in, you will have to follow different protocols and procedures in order to sell or obtain a used car.

Here we share how to transfer vehicle ownership in each state.

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New South Wales

In New South Wales, you can transfer car ownership online or at a Service NSW Centre.

To start, the previous owner/seller of the vehicle must lodge a Notice of Disposal (NOD).

Once that’s complete, the new owner/buyer must transfer the vehicle registration to themselves within 14 days of purchase to avoid a late transfer fee.

To complete the transfer online, you will need the following details:

  • A MyServiceNSW Account
  • Your concession details
  • The purchase date of the vehicle
  • The purchase price or market price of the vehicle (whichever is higher)
  • Payment for the transfer fee and registration stamp duty, number plates fees (if applicable) and motor vehicle tax

Those planning to visit a local service centre will need:

  • A completed ‘Application of Transfer of Registration’ form
  • Proof of identity
  • Your concession details
  • The vehicle’s certificate of registration (Completed and signed on the back by the seller)
  • Your payment

For further details and instructions, or to transfer your vehicle ownership, see the Service NSW government site.

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In Victoria, the transfer process must be initiated by the seller with their myVicRoads account.

Both the buyer and seller must have active myVicRoads accounts in order to complete the transfer online.

Once the seller has completed their section, the buyer will receive an email alerting them that the vehicle has been transferred to their myVicRoads account.

To complete their side of the bargain, they will need to do the following online:

  • Pay the motor vehicle duty (if applicable)
  • Pay the transfer fee

The Victorian government encourage every used-car buyer to check if the vehicle is registered before negotiating or purchasing, and to ensure they have an active myVicRoads account.

Click here for more information or to start transferring vehicle ownership.

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In Queensland, transferring vehicle ownership includes trailers, cars, motorhomes, motorcycles, heavy vehicles, caravans, and boats.

Similar to Victoria, the seller must instigate the online transfer process before the buyer can finalise it from their end.

A buyer must finish the transfer within 14 days of purchase.

If completing the transfer online is too stressful, you can also finish it in person.

To do so, the seller needs to lodge an ‘application to transfer’ online. Once this is complete, you can finalise the transfer at your nearest Transport and Motoring Service Centre.

If you live in rural areas of Queensland, your QGAP office, Magistrates Court, or local police may be able to help – call before visiting.

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Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

In ACT, transferring car ownership only requires a few pieces of evidence:

  • Proof of identification – like an ACT licence
  • A debit or credit card that can be used to pay for the registration and transfer fees.

Additionally, depending on your vehicle and the type of registration you’re applying for, you may need to present additional documentation that proves your vehicle’s type and model.

You will need to transfer your vehicle registration within 14 days of purchase to avoid any late fees, and ensure all forms are correctly signed and completed by you and any other registered operators.

Click here for more information regarding additional documents, transferring fees and registration guides.

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Western Australia

Transferring vehicle ownership in Western Australia isn’t complicated.

As a seller, you need to contact the Department of Transport (DOT) within seven days, alerting them you have sold your vehicle.

As a buyer, you need to contact the DOT within 14 days of purchasing, letting them know you own a new vehicle.

Penalties may apply if you surpass the 14 day period.

Both sellers and buyers can complete the required forms online, or can post the forms to a Drivers and Vehicle Services Centre and regional agent.

To find out more about where to post your forms and the required details, check out the Western Australian government site.

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Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, there are several ways to register your vehicle or transfer registration between parties.

These methods include via email, post (mail), and in-person. Regardless of how you apply, you must do the following:

  • Fill out a ‘R11 Apply to Register a Vehicle in the Northern Territory’ form – which can be found online.
  • Provide evidence of your identity and residency in the Northern Territory.
  • Proof of vehicle ownership.

In addition to these documents, be prepared to pay an ownership fee and stamp duty (if applicable).

Take a look here for more information.

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In Tasmania, you can only transfer vehicle ownership online if both the buyer and seller possess Tasmanian licences.

The seller must also be a registered operator of the vehicle before commencing the process.

To transfer car ownership online, you need:

  • The vehicle registration number
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN) or chassis number
  • Surname of both buyer and seller or organisation’s name
  • Date of purchase
  • Purchase price or market price (whichever is higher) of the vehicle
  • Payment

If you’re not a tech-whizz, you can head over to your nearest Service Centre. You will need:

  • A completed transfer application form (can be located on Tasmania’s Government website)
  • Your current Tasmanian licence or proof of identity forms.
  • Proof of exemption from duty (if applicable).
  • To pay a fee

Check out the Tasmanian Service website for more information and instructions.

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South Australia

South Australia follows a similar protocol to Tasmania, in that you can transfer vehicle ownership online and it must be completed within 14 days of purchase.

In order to transfer ownership online, you must have a mySAGOV account. Otherwise, you will have to visit a ServiceSA centre or complete and send the required forms via post.

When transferring online, ensure you have the vehicle’s plate number, the seller’s South-Australian driver’s licence or client number, and full name, ready to go.

Want to sell your car? Do it fast and hassle free with CarExpert.
MORE: Used car sales April 2024: Hybrids and EVs defy slow market

Note: There are different procedures in place for transferring vehicle ownership across state lines – for example, as a Victorian selling to a New South Wales buyer. Check your state government website for more information.

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