Roane County Government
The State of Tennessee requires all motor driven vehicles, regardless of age, to be titled and registered upon purchase or transfer to a Tennessee resident. Every owner of a vehicle, except a licensed auto dealer, must obtain a title in his or her name. Tennessee does NOT allow for titling of motor vehicles with a bill of sale only.
Alterations, erasures or white out voids a title document and you will be required to get a replacement title. If you make a mistake or a signature is in the wrong spot do NOT mark through it or scribble it out. Bring the title in for the Title Clerk to review and often we can put an Affidavit of Correction with the title explaining the error and still be able to use that title.
Motor vehicles, motorized bicycles, and certain trailers, when driven or moved upon a highway, are subject to the registration and certificate of title provisions of TCA Chapters 1-6 or Title 55 of the Tennessee Code Annotated. Basically this means Tennessee is considered a “tag and title” state, meaning that all road worthy vehicles MUST have a license plate assigned to them at the time a Tennessee title is issued.
State law requires the owner(s) to visit the County Clerk’s office in person to title a vehicle, or transfer a title from another state, or apply for a license plate or transfer a plate from one vehicle to another. If an owner or co-owner cannot process their motor vehicle transaction themselves, they may designate someone else to process the title and/or registration for them. The designated party must be provided with a Power of Attorney in order to complete this transaction for the owner. The Power of Attorney form must identify the vehicle by make, model and identification number (VIN) and the individual presenting the Power of Attorney will need to come in with a drivers’ license for identification purposes.
NOTE: Power of Attorney designations cannot authorize a person to sign the odometer certification both as the seller and the buyer of a vehicle on 2011 or NEWER model vehicles.
There is no “minimum” age in Tennessee to be listed as an owner or co-owner on a title and registration. However, we encourage those seeking to title vehicles in the name of someone under the age or eighteen (18) to check with their insurance company first, as this can sometimes be cost prohibitive due to the high cost of insurance for minors.
Proof of Roane County residency is required to title and register your vehicle in Roane County whether it is a new vehicle purchase, a used vehicle purchase, a transfer of ownership from a relative or transfer of title and registration from another state.
Proof of residency must be a physical street/residence address and NOT just a Post Office or Private Mail Box service address. A PO Box or PMB Number is acceptable for mailing but there must be proof of actual residence in Roane County as well.
A valid photo identification or driver licenses with the Roane County address OR two (2) pieces of recent mail with your name and Roane County address will be acceptable as Proof of Residency.
In the case of a commercial vehicle if the main business is located outside of Roane County there must be proof of a physical presence for the business in Roane County. While a bona fide commercial business owner may use a mail service provider (post office box or private mail box service such as UPS Store, etc.) to receive incoming mail, they may not use this address as the sole basis for establishing a bona fide physical presence.
To title and register a new or used vehicle purchased from a dealership, you will also need to submit to your county clerk the following:
NOTE: If the vehicle is purchased out of state the dealership may or may not collect sales tax. If sales tax is collected the dealership will usually provide a check either to the County Clerk or the customer transferring the amount collected or provide an affidavit confirming the amount of taxes kept in the dealer state so Tennessee can recognize that amount as tax credit. If the sales tax collected in the other state is lower than the Tennessee sales tax, the difference will be collected by the County Clerk Office at the time of title and registration.
To title and register a used vehicle purchased from an individual, you will also need to submit to your county clerk the following:
NOTE: When purchasing from a private individual, a vehicle can only be legally sold to you by the person shown on the front of the title. If the registered owner had previously sold the vehicle to someone else that buyer can NOT reassign the title to you. They must first title and register the vehicle in their name. Only legally licensed vehicle dealers can transfer a vehicle more than one time on the back of a title.
To transfer a vehicle already titled and registered in your name from another state, you will also need to submit to your county clerk the following:
NOTE: When providing the lienholder address it is advisable to actually contact your lienholder and explain you are moving to a new state. Ask the lienholder to provide the address from where the new state should request your current title. Sometimes people provide the address where they send their payments but this is not normally the same agency or place that handles the actual title requests and this could delay the approval of your Tennessee title application.
The cost for transferring a vehicle with an active lien is currently $56.00 when obtaining the standard license plate.
If your car is financed and titled in one of the following states, you must have your title:
The above states are not title holding states; the titles are mailed to the owner rather than the lien holder.
If you are to be awarded a vehicle by divorce decree and you need to transfer the title registration, please bring a certified copy of the final marital dissolution agreement and final divorce decree signed by the presiding judge. Your attorney should present the Court with the year, make, model and vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle you are to receive in order to get it properly entered onto your marital dissolution agreement. If you do not have a copy of your Divorce Decree and marital dissolution agreement, the court where you received your divorce will be able to furnish you with a certified copy.
If you are involved in the transfer of a vehicle due to inheritance, please call the County Clerk’s office to discuss the matter with one of our deputy clerks. These situations vary and require individual attention based on how the estate is being processed.
Multiple Owners: The signature of ALL owners is required on a title if titled to two or more owners regardless of whether the names are joined by the conjunction “OR” or “AND”.
Selling of Vehicle: Registered owner(s) of the vehicle signs his/her name as signature of seller/transferor. Individual(s) obtaining ownership of the vehicle signs their name(s) as buyer/transferee with complete address.
Gift or Even-Trade Affidavits: The State of Tennessee Sales Tax Office now requires the signature of BOTH parties on gift or even-trade affidavits. If you are obtaining a vehicle from an INDIVIDUAL as a gift; or if you are even-trading your vehicle for their vehicle both of you will have to sign this affidavit.
Title Only Applications: County Clerks are allowed to issue “title-only” for trailers that are not required to be registered (pop-up campers, boat trailers and utility trailers under 8′ X 20′) and other types of vehicles that are not required to be registered, such as
provided the applicant can supply the requisite proof of ownership of the vehicle. Eligibility determination is made on a case by case basis and may require approval from Nashville if Title-Only is requested for any reason not listed above.
Certificate of Ownership Applications: A notarized bill of sale is not sufficient proof of ownership. A properly endorsed title showing the chain of title is needed to show requisite ownership of a vehicle. In cases where a title does not exist, depending on the age of the vehicle, the owner may need to furnish a certificate of ownership and/or surety bond application.
If no title is available, depending on the vehicle’s age or value, the registrant would have to go through a surety bond or certification of ownership process. This is true even if a signed and notarized bill of sale exists. As a general overview the qualifications for:
The surety bond process is meant for individuals who do not have a motor vehicle title or proper proof of ownership. The surety bond obtained through this process will allow an applicant to apply for a title. This protects the State of Tennessee in issuing the title and protects previous parties listed on the title who may still have an interest in the vehicle.
These situations vary greatly, so please call County Clerk’s Office to speak with one of our deputy clerks.
Sales Tax Calculation:
A Tennessee title is the only title that may be replaced. No out of state titles can be replaced by Tennessee County Clerks.
If there is not a lien on a vehicle, the owner(s) may replace a lost or damaged motor vehicle title at County Clerk’s office. However, for the Clerk’s office to issue a replacement title, the vehicle record must be in the State’s computer system and eligible for replacement.
If a lien is recorded against the vehicle, a discharge of lien must accompany the application. If state record permits and if the data system does not indicate a lien, owner(s) will be issued a replacement title at the time application is made and appropriate documents submitted.
To obtain a replacement title the following is required:
The vehicle must be titled in Tennessee. In order to note a lien the following is required:
The Tennessee Department of Revenue sends out renewal notice postcards as a courtesy. If you do not receive a notice, you are still obligated by law to renew your registration by your vehicle’s expiration date. These notices come from Nashville and not from the local Roane County Clerk’s Office.
You are NOT required to have the renewal postcard with you to renew as long as you provide the license plate number that you are wanting to renew. You may renew up to 90 days before the expiration date shown on your license plate.
“Customers need to renew in their own county, where they legally reside” (as required by statute T.C.A. 55-4-105e)
If your County of residence has changed since your last renewal, and/or you purchased a vehicle in the last year and the plate was issued by a different County, you will need to renew IN PERSON and provide acceptable proof of your Roane County residence address. This is necessary to transfer the vehicle information from the previous county and is required by the Department of Revenue because of wheel taxes in some counties.
When renewing in person, please bring one of the following to ensure the proper license plate/tag is renewed:
Renewals are processed at all locations, however some specialty and personalized plates are only available for pick up at the main County Clerk’s Office at the Courthouse in Kingston.
Instead of traveling to one of our locations, this system allows you to renew your eligible vehicle registration quickly and easily online.
Vehicles eligible for online renewal:
Vehicles not eligible for online renewal:
You may print your renewal transaction and payment receipt from the online system; however keep in mind that the printed paperwork is NOT an official registration document. An email will be sent to confirm that your online vehicle renewal has been accepted and completed. Please allow 5-10 business days to receive your renewed registration by mail.
When renewing by mail, please include one of the following:
When renewing by mail, only checks or money orders will be accepted and should be made payable to the Roane County Clerk’s Office. Please ensure your payment is for the correct amount including postage. This amount is shown on the renewal notice postcard or you may call the Clerk’s Office to confirm the amount by phone.
Additionally, please include your current Driver License number and daytime phone number on your check.
When renewing a specialty license plate, some specialty plates require membership or eligibility credentials. Please visit the Department of Revenue’s specialty plate page, to determine eligibility.
NOTE: for the Fiscal Year of July 2022 through June 2023 the State of Tennessee is waiving the $23.75 State portion of the renewal fee on regular passenger vehicles and motorcycles. Does not include trailers, commercial or agricultural plates or ATV’s.
This will temporarily make the yearly fees reduced to $5.25 for standard plates and $41.25 for specialty, cultural or personalized plates from the normal fees shown below.
The standard yearly renewal fees are as follows:
$29/year for standard license plates plus $2.oo postage for a total of $31.00.
$65/year for regular personalized or cultural plates plus $2.00 postage for a total of $67.00 .
$100/year for personalized cultural or specialty plates plus $2.00 postage for a total of $102.00.
Additional fees that may apply to your renewal include:
$2.00 Lease Fee if you have a leased vehicle.
$100.00 Electric Vehicle fee if you have a FULLY electric vehicle. Does NOT apply to Hybrid vehicles.
Disabled individuals must have the Application for Disabled Person License Plate or Placard form completed by a physician to obtain plates or placards.
The State allows for a maximum of 2 placards per person regardless of the number of vehicles the person has registered in their name. Placards are assigned to the PERSON and not the vehicle so they can be moved to ANY VEHICLE in which the disabled person is riding. The disabled person will receive a paper registration for the placard assigned to them and this registration paper should be carried in any vehicle where the placard is being used. The placard itself does not have the disabled person’s name on it so the registration form is the only proof of who the placard belongs to and whether it is eligible to be used if an officer is checking for illegally parked vehicles.
Placards should ONLY be hung from the rearview mirror when the vehicle is parked; they should not remain hanging from the mirror while the vehicle is being driven for safety purposes.
There are 3 types of disability that can receive a disabled person placard as follows:
NOTE: For temporary disabilities a maximum of 2 placards for a total of 12 months are all that is allowed. If the disability persists the doctor will have to re-evaluate to see if you qualify for a permanent disability placard or plate.
NOTE: An agency that transports disabled clients, may apply for a placard to be used for the sole purpose of transporting disabled clients. The Application for Disabled Person License Plate or Placard form must be completed in the agency name but does NOT require the physician signature. The number of placards issued to the agency may not exceed the number of vehicles owned and operated for the purpose of transporting the disabled clients.
In order to obtain an actual Disabled Person License Plate, the individual has to be a registered owner or co-owner of the vehicle for which they want the plate assigned. There is no limit to the number of Disabled License Plates a person can have as long as they are shown as a registered owner on each of the vehicles for which the plates are being requested. Disabled License Plates cost the same amount as standard plates at $29.00 per year.
If an individual is permanently confined to a wheel chair, they are eligible for ONE (1) plate free of charge, upon receipt of the Application for Disabled Person License Plate or Placard form properly marked as “permanently confined to wheelchair” and signed by a physician. If they have additional vehicles they can have the regular disabled plate assigned at the normal fee of $29.00 annually.
PERSONALIZATION: Regular Disabled License Plates are available to be personalized. Maximum characters available to personalize: 5 Annual renewal fee for personalized disabled plates is $65.00
To personalize a plate, the applicant must complete the Online Application for Tennessee Personalized License Plate.
Any person having served in the military, naval, marine or air services of the United states, AND having any service connected disability that is determined by the veterans’ administration to constitute a one hundred percent (100%) permanent total disability or compensated at 100% OR a letter from the United States Department of Veteran Affairs verifying that the veteran was rated permanent and totally disabled with an effective date (The precise language may vary slightly, but a permanent and total rating always means that the veteran is being compensated at 100%).
Licensed auto dealers are the ONLY parties legally allowed to transfer a vehicle on the back of a title more than one time. Once the assignment of the title by the registered owner (shown on front of title) is completed to the dealership the dealership is allowed to transfer the title to another licensed dealership or sell the vehicle to a private individual. Tennessee dealerships are required by law to collect the sales tax at the time of sell/transfer to another private individual. Sales tax is not required on transfers between dealerships.
NOTE: Anyone who sells more than five (5) motor vehicle in one (1) year in the State of Tennessee is required to be licensed by the Motor Vehicle Commission as a Motor Vehicle Dealer. This includes RVs, motorcycles or any other automobile new or used.
A Motor Vehicle Dealer is any person engaged in the business of selling, offering to sell, soliciting or advertising the sale of motor vehicles or recreational vehicles, or possessing motor vehicles or recreational vehicles for the purpose of resale, either on that person’s own account or on behalf of another, either as a primary business or incidental to the person’s business.
Also if applicable:
All dealer license are issued for 2 year periods. Renewal fees are the same as the original issuance fees shown below.
After the Online Motor Vehicle Dealer License Application and all proper documentation of the above requirements have been submitted, on-site inspection of the facility will be conducted. After inspection of the facility, a final review of the application, background, supporting documentation and facility findings is required before final approval of the dealer license. Upon final review and approval the license will be issued within 14 business days from the date of approval.
Should the applicant fail to provide all required documents within 90 days from the application receipt date, the documents will be returned. If the applicant wishes to proceed, they must resubmit the full fee and application in its entirety.
In the event the facility is deemed inadequate and fails to meet the minimum requirements, the application will be DENIED. A $400 fee will be required upon any re-application and/0r re-inspection.
NOTE: County Clerks cannot issued Dealer Plates for the next year until the MVC notifies the Clerk’s office that you Annual Sales Report has been recorded as the amount of sales recorded determines the number of Dealer Plates the dealership will be eligible for in the coming year.
For additional information about Dealer License Renewals, Annual Sales Reports or other MVC forms and guidance for Motor Vehicle Dealers go to the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission website here: https://www.tn.gov/commerce/regboards/mvc.html
Tennessee law requires that all mechanically powered vessels and sailboats must be registered. (Boats are not titled in Tennessee.) That includes federally documented recreational vessels and vessels with electric trolling motors. Boats powered only by oars or paddles do not need to be registered. All boats that require registration must be properly registered before using them on any public water in Tennessee.
Boats registered in other states can use public water in Tennessee unless Tennessee is the primary state of use or mooring. Then the boat must be registered with TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency). The only exception is sailboats from states that do not require sailboat registration.
Persons who wish to register a boat must complete a certified Application for Boat Certificate of Number, showing that sales taxes have been paid as noted below.
This certification form will include a yellow temporary registration that is valid for 60 days from the date of certification to allow for processing your boat registration with TWRA.
The Tennessee Department of Revenue requires that boats that have never been registered to you before must provide certification that the sales tax was paid when purchased. The owner needs to have the appropriate County Clerk’s office or boat dealer certify the application verifying that the tax was paid.
The registration form can be submitted in 3 different ways:
Boats built after 1972 are required to have a Hull Identification Number (HIN). If you are unable to locate your HIN via the guidelines below, please provide a photo of the location of your vessel during the application process.
Learn more about boat registration by visiting the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.