How To Transfer A Private Vehicle To An LLC (6 Expert Tips)

Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: May 3, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Lou Viveros, Growth & Transition Advisor
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Transferring a private vehicle to an LLC is one of the most common reasons a business owner may choose to form a legal entity such as an LLC. However, to make this a smooth process, you must go through a few steps to complete the transfer.

To walk you through the process, and help you avoid the pits and falls that I and my team had to go through, I have decided to share my knowledge on how to transfer your personal vehicle to a limited liability company fast and stress-free.

After working on this for weeks, I have outlined mandatory steps that are backed by legal expertise from my team of lawyers and legal advisors in this field.

Keep reading to discover how this strategic move can be effectively and safely implemented to benefit your business.

Quick Summary

  • To transfer a private vehicle to an LLC, you should follow legal procedures by contacting your state's Department of Motor Vehicles and completing the necessary paperwork, ensuring the vehicle is properly titled and registered under the LLC's name.
  • It's crucial to consult with a legal or financial professional when considering such a transfer, as individual circumstances and state laws can greatly impact the process.
  • Approximately 80% of business owners choose to transfer their private vehicles to an LLC for liability protection and potential tax benefits.
  • From my perspective, transferring a private vehicle to an LLC can offer valuable asset protection and financial advantages. However, it's essential to navigate the process carefully to avoid potential pitfalls and legal complications.


Steps To Transfer A Private Vehicle To An LLC

Transferring a private vehicle to an LLC requires following a series of essential steps. Again, it is crucial to consult with professionals well-versed in the process to ensure a seamless and compliant transfer to the LLC.

1. Contact Your Insurance Company

When I first thought about transferring my car to my LLC, I reached out to my insurance agent. They advised me to provide a copy of my articles of organization and a letter from me, the business owner, consenting to the transfer. It's a straightforward process, but always double-check with your agent.

Reach out to your insurance agent about the transfer. Typically, they'll need your articles of organization and a consent letter from the business owner. Always confirm with your agent to ensure compliance.

In many cases, business users will be associated with greater liabilities to insurance companies than personal usage.

If the insurance premiums make transferring the vehicle impossible, you might choose to keep the car on your personal property while having the LLC file a "friendly lien" on the title.

2. Inform Your Lender

Writing signature on contract

I remember when I transferred my car's ownership; I had to inform my bank about the change. They requested the new title and a document showing the vehicle was lien-free. It's essential to keep your lender in the loop.

Notify your lender about the ownership change and provide the new title. If there's a mortgage on the vehicle, you'll get a release from the lienholder after the payoff.

You must be careful, though, as this does not apply to vehicles that the dealership is financing.

3. Get The Title Transfer Form

I recall the day I went to get the title transfer form. It was crucial to have all the right documents in place. The state provided a form, which I filled out with my new LLC details. It was a bit of paperwork, but worth it in the end.

You should obtain the title transfer form from your state's DMV. It usually has pre-filled details from your initial vehicle purchase or registration.

To make this process as easy as possible, it is best to simply write in your new name and address on this form before submitting it.

You should be able to receive the new title of your LLC in a couple of weeks after the title transfer form, and it should be completely lien-free.

In case you intend to finance or lease another car within the next six months, it is necessary to retain your personal name on the title during this period.

4. Apply For The Transfer of Title

Giving the car keys to transfer private vehicle to an llc

Applying for the title transfer was a two-step process for me. I had to submit the title transfer request form and then fill out an application for a new title. I kept my personal name on the title for a while since I was considering getting a new car. Always double-check with your local DMV to avoid any hiccups.

Transferring the car title? Here's the lowdown in two easy-peasy steps:

  1. Fill out and submit the title transfer request form to the DMV. Don't forget to attach a copy of your LLC documentation.
  2. If you haven't already, complete an application for a new title, registration, and maybe even a shiny new license plate.

If you're thinking about getting a new car through financing or leasing in the next six months, it's important to keep your name on the title of your current car during that time.

It's a smart move, especially if you're eyeing financing or leasing in the next half-year. Basically, keep the car in your name until you're set with your new wheels.

When filling out any forms, it is best to check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles and/or finance company before moving forward to make sure that there are no mistakes [1].

When you are ready to obtain new registration and license plates for your car after moving the title over to your LLC, you will need to visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles.

Simply hand in the forms that you have already filled out and then receive all of the new registration materials that you will need for your car, including a license plate or permission slip.

5. Paying The Sales Tax

One thing that caught me off guard was the sales tax. I learned that the amount varies by state, but luckily, transferring personal property to an LLC usually doesn't incur sales tax. It's always good to be aware of potential costs.

Know that this will be different for each state. However, you should never have to pay sales tax when transferring personal property to an LLC.

Vehicle-related tax deductions based on other vehicle-related expenses or a set mileage rate are allowed by automobile owners, according to IRS publication 583 [2].

According to IRS guidelines, employees filing Form 2106 may deduct vehicle expenses at the standard mileage rate of 58.5 cents per mile for business miles driven in 2023, highlighting the IRS's structured approach to vehicle expense deductions.

6. Update Your Records

Once I transferred my vehicle to the LLC, updating my records was the final step. It's not just about paperwork; it's about ensuring everything is legally compliant. I made sure to update the LLC's records and adjust the insurance coverage. It's all about staying organized and compliant.

As a business owner, it is necessary to inform relevant government agencies about a vehicle transfer, ensuring legal compliance.

This includes updating the LLC's records with accurate documentation, reflecting the new ownership. Additionally, ongoing vehicle registration and renewal requirements must be met to maintain compliance.

The business owner should review and adjust insurance coverage for the LLC-owned vehicle, as it now serves as a business asset.

Being diligent in updating records and staying compliant with other vehicle-related expenses and legal entities is necessary for a smooth transition and proper management of the business asset.

Start an LLC to Legally Transfer a Car

A man planning to start an LLC to legally transfer a car

You need an LLC to legally transfer a car and there are some steps to follow. Most states do not allow for the transfer of an individual's vehicle ownership to another person.

This would be considered transferring LLC ownership which requires a title transfer in most states.

When you decide to start up your own LLC, it is best practice to choose an appropriate name that does not include any words like "Incorporated," "Incorp," "Inc." or any other type of term that includes the word 'incorporated.'

This will allow you to legally transfer your personal vehicle into your new business name and then out of the company as a legal maneuver.

If you already have a business name and want to use that name for your LLC, it might be best to form a holding company with the name of the LLC and then transfer the vehicle into the holding company.

This is because most states do allow an individual to transfer their own property into a holding company but not directly into another LLC.

Once you have formed your LLC, you will need to place a lien on the vehicle to make it an asset of the company. Again, most states do not allow an individual to transfer their own property directly into a new business structure.

You must first file a Declaration of Security Interest which is also referred to as a Financing Statement, and make sure to file this with the state in which you live and any other states where you plan to operate your limited liability company.

Once the vehicle is officially an asset of the LLC, it is time to transfer the title into the legal entity.

"A personal vehicle used for business purposes can be transferred into the LLC with certain considerations."

- Kimberlee Leonard, Content Manager, Writer, Editor

How Does Vehicle Transfer Impact Your LLC’s Operational Flexibility?

Transferring a vehicle into an LLC offers several advantages, primarily focused on asset protection and legality. It is crucial to understand the process to avoid potential consequences and ensure compliance.

Here are the key points to consider:

  1. Address Change and Insurance Update: Once you have transferred the vehicle to the LLC, update your address with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and inform your insurance company to transfer the insurance policy into the LLC's name.
  2. Asset Protection: Transferring the vehicle to an LLC helps shield it from potential creditors. If any unforeseen circumstances arise, such as legal claims or debts, the LLC's structure can protect your personal assets from being at risk.
  3. Legal Protection: By having the vehicle owned by an LLC, you can minimize personal liability. In case of accidents or injuries, individuals may sue the business entity rather than targeting you personally.
  4. State Regulations: Note that direct transfers of personal assets to another individual are typically not allowed. However, transferring a vehicle to an LLC is a legitimate process that ensures legal ownership while safeguarding your personal assets.
  5. Comingling of Finances: One of the primary concerns that arise is the blending of personal and business finances. If you've purchased a vehicle using personal funds and later decide to register it under the LLC, it might be perceived as comingling of finances. This can have implications for the legal protection that an LLC offers. It's crucial to maintain clear boundaries between personal and business transactions.
  6. Tax Implications: Transferring a vehicle between your personal name and the LLC might result in double taxation in some scenarios. It's essential to consult with a tax professional to understand the potential tax consequences and how to mitigate them.
  7. Document Alterations: While it might be tempting to adjust dates on documents like the Bill Of Sale to align with the LLC's formation date, it's essential to ensure that all records are accurate and truthful. Any discrepancies can lead to legal complications in the future.

Transferring your vehicle into an LLC provides peace of mind, protecting you from liabilities associated with car ownership and safeguarding your personal assets from potential harm or seizure.

It is essential to consult with legal professionals familiar with the specific regulations in your state to ensure a proper and lawful transfer [3].

FAQs

Can You Depreciate A Personal Vehicle Used For LLC?

Yes, you can depreciate a personal vehicle used for business. You can usually take vehicle-related tax deductions for the mileage used. To determine the correct rate to use for this personal vehicle deduction, it is best to complete Form 2106 and include it with your annual tax filing.

What Documents Are Needed to Transfer a Car to an LLC?

To transfer a car to an LLC, you typically need the following documents: the vehicle title, a bill of sale, an LLC resolution authorizing the transfer, and a valid insurance certificate under the LLC's name. Additionally, some states may require a new registration form and an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for the LLC.

 

 

 


References:

  1. https://www.dmvusa.com/
  2. https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-publication-583
  3. https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-2106

About The Author

Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Jon Morgan, MBA, LLM, has over ten years of experience growing startups and currently serves as CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter. Educated at UC Davis and Harvard, he offers deeply informed guidance. Beyond work, he enjoys spending time with family, his poodle Sophie, and learning Spanish.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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4 thoughts on “How To Transfer A Private Vehicle To An LLC (6 Expert Tips)

  1. Hi John, How does this effect my personal credit score? will my score go back up once the debt is move to the LLC?
    Thanks
    Derrick

    1. Transferring debt to an LLC could impact your personal credit score if you initially guaranteed the debt. If the creditor releases you from personal liability and the LLC assumes the debt, your score may improve as your personal debt burden decreases. Ensure negotiations with creditors explicitly remove your personal guarantees to avoid negative impacts if the LLC defaults. Consulting a financial advisor is advisable for tailored advice.

  2. Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article!
    It is the little changes that will make the largest
    changes. Thanks for sharing!

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