Roane County Government

Motor Vehicle Services

Useful Links

Titling a Vehicle in Tennessee

Title and Registration Requirements

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 Residency

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.

  • Recent mail would be something dated, issued or postmarked no longer than 4 months from the date of registering the vehicle.
  • Remember the document must show the RESIDENCE address not just the PO Box or PMB Number.

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.

Titling Vehicles Purchased from Dealerships

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:

  • Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO) or Certificate of Origin for new vehicles or a properly transferred Certificate of Title and/or Title Reassignment document for used vehicles.
  • The dealer invoice or bill of sale for the vehicle purchased showing the lienholder (if any) and the amount of sales tax collected.

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.

  • A properly signed Odometer Disclosure Statement. The odometer statement is required on all vehicle model years 2011 or newer.
  • A copy of your current registration if transferring your license plate.

Titling Vehicles Purchased from an Individual

To title and register a used vehicle purchased from an individual, you will also need to submit to your county clerk the following:

  • A valid certificate of title properly assigned to you by the registered owner shown on the front of the title. Do not purchase a vehicle if the seller’s signature does not match the name on the front of the title.

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.

  • If there is a lien shown on the front of the title be sure it has been released with a signature and date from the lienholder and/or a letter on the lienholder’s letterhead stationery stating the lien has been satisfied and properly signed and dated by an authorized agent of the lienholder.
  • If you have a lien that needs to be noted when the vehicle is titled in your name make sure the full name and address of the lienholder is filled out in the proper space on the back of the title.
  • The current mileage of the vehicle must be shown in the appropriate box on the back of the title if the vehicle is model year 2011 or newer.
  • You will pay Tennessee sales tax on the amount you paid the previous owner for the vehicle as shown on the back of the title unless you provide the properly completed and signed Gift or Even-Trade affidavit signed by you and the seller.
  • A copy of the current registration if transferring your license plate.

Transferring Titles from Another State

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:

  • Leased Vehicles: you will need to contact your Lessor to obtain either a letter of approval and Power of Attorney authorizing you to transfer the leased vehicle to Tennessee and/or the properly signed Tennessee form Leased Vehicle – Owners Authorization to Lessee.  There is a $2.00 lease fee applied to leased vehicles making the fee for a lease with a lien $58.00 and the fee for a lease with no lien $47.00. Both of these totals are with standard license plates.
  • Title from the previous state if you own the vehicle and there is no active lien on the vehicle.  You will need to provide the paper title as Tennessee does not process electronic titles.  The cost for transferring a vehicle with no lien is currently $45.00 when obtaining the standard license plate.
  • Valid Registration with name and address of Lienholder. If you have an active lien on the vehicle the most current registration from the previous state is required along with the name and address of your lienholder so Nashville can request the title for transfer to Tennessee.

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:

  • Arizona
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

The above states are not title holding states; the titles are mailed to the owner rather than the lien holder.

Transfer of Title for Vehicles Awarded by Divorce Decree

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.

  • You will also need to bring the vehicle tags, and title.  If there is aa active lien on the vehicle, the title is held by the financial institution and you may have to coordinate the title transfer through their office as they will be required to surrender the title to the Clerk’s Office.
  • You may also need to provide an odometer reading if the vehicle is a 2011 or newer model year.
  • You will exchange your old plate in both names for new vehicle plates in your name only.

Transfer of Ownership Due To Inheritance

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.

  • If a will is NOT being probated through the court system you will be asked to complete an Affidavit of Inheritance Form from the surviving spouse or all immediate family heirs to complete the transfer of ownership.
  • If a will is PROBATED by the court system there will be a Letter of Testamentary or Letter of Administration, which is a document granted to the Executor of an estate by the probate court.  This document gives the Executor the authority he or she will need to formally act on behalf of the decedent in signing and transferring ownership of the vehicles.

Signature Requirements for Individuals and Co-Owners of Vehicles

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”.

  • If the names are joined by “AND” ALL parties must also be present at time of processing the title application at the Clerk’s Office or you must provide a properly completed Power of Attorney (POA) for the absent owner.
  • If joined by “OR” only ONE of the parties must be present to complete the title application as long as ALL parties have already signed the title properly.

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.

  • If the vehicle being sold has 2 or more co-owners and the names are joined by AND all of the co-owners must sign as seller on the title.  If the names are joined by OR only one of the owners is required to sign as seller.
  • Tennessee titles do not require notarization of signatures when selling a vehicle titled in Tennessee.
  • Some States (such as North Carolina) DO REQUIRE the signature of the SELLER to be notarized.  You must ensure these titles are properly notarized even if you will be titling the vehicle in Tennessee, as we are required to honor the requirement of the State where the current title was issued.  Current States requiring title notarization include:

    • Arizona
    • Louisiana
    • Montana
    • North Carolina
    • Oklahoma
    • Ohio
    • Pennsylvania

  • Sellers should never sign off of title without completing buyer potion; this is known as an open title. This could result in penalties to seller.
  • Since a vehicle remains in the state records as being titled to the current owner until such time as the new owner completes the transfer of ownership at a Clerk’s Office, it is also advisable to make a copy/photo of the front and back of the title when selling a vehicle.  This provides you with some form of proof of when you sold the vehicle in case the new owner were to have an accident before completing the transfer or doesn’t transfer the title in a timely manner.

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 and Certificate of Ownership/Surety Bond Exceptions

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

  • all-terrain vehicles,
  • golf carts,
  • snowmobiles,
  • mobile homes,
  • commercial vehicles that will receive an IRP/apportioned plate, or
  • hobby/project vehicles that are NOT driven on the roads,

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:

  • Certificate of Ownership process includes vehicles OVER 30 years old (regardless of Fair Market Value) or LESS THAN $3,000 Fair Market Value (regardless of age of vehicle). This process is handled through the local County Clerk Office and includes at minimum:
    • Completing the Certificate of Ownership form
    • VIN verification statement from a law enforcement agent or license automobile dealer
    • Notification to prior owner either by certified letters with return receipt requested (if prior owners known) OR advertisement ran in local newspaper.  Both types of notification must include make, model, year and VIN of vehicle and a request that any and all parties holding an interest in vehicle contact the person within 10 business days of letter receipt or date of publication for newspaper notice.
    • Notarized bill of sale from last registered owner or a notarized statement from the SELLER stating why the vehicle was not titled or registered in the seller’s name.
    • In absence of the above notarized bill or sale/statement, when the vehicle is less than 30 years old a licensed automobile dealer appraisal of the value of the vehicle.

  • Surety Bond process is required for vehicles LESS THAN 30 years old AND valued at MORE THAN $3,000 Fair Market Value.  (Additionally previously owned and untitled, ATV’s, golf carts, trailers could qualify for a surety bond if FMV is over $3,000.)  This process is handled through the Dept. of Revenue, Special Investigations Unit in Nashville and includes the following:
    •  A completed Surety Bond Application with either of the following types of Bonds included:
      • Personal Surety Bond requires the names of two sureties (other than the principal) who own land in the State of Tennessee and who are willing to sign the surety bond with the principal. The two sureties must not share the same address or live at the same address as the principal. The “principal” cannot be their own surety.
      • Corporate Bond is a surety bond written or backed by a bonding or insurance company that charges a premium fee to write and back the bond for the principal. A corporate surety bond does not require the signature of two sureties but requires State of Tennessee approval. Corporate surety may be obtained through many insurance providers.
    • The application and bonds must be mailed to:  Tennessee Dept. of Revenue, Special Investigations (Attn: Surety Bonds), Andrew Jackson Building, 11th Floor, 500 Deaderick St, Suite 11.125, Nashville, TN 37242  (Email Address:
    • The Special Investigations Unit will check the VIN to make sure the vehicle has not been reported as stolen.
    • After application has been processed and approved by the Special Investigations Unit an approval letter and supporting documentation will be sent to the applicant advising him/her to take all the paperwork to their local County Clerk office and apply for title and pay the appropriate title and registration fees as well as sales and use tax on purchase price of vehicle.
      • The surety bond approval letter and ALL supporting documentation from the state is required in order to process the application for title at the County Clerk’s Office.

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.

Click here to see if you qualify for Certificate of Ownership or Surety Bond processing.

These situations vary greatly, so please call County Clerk’s Office to speak with one of our deputy clerks.

Vehicle Sales Tax
Procedures to pay Sales Tax on a vehicle purchase:
  • Customer can bring in a bill of sale from a licensed dealership, along with the title or MSO.  Credit will be given for any taxes shown on the bill of sale that was collected by the dealership.  If the dealership is from another state and they did not collect the proper amount of taxes required by Tennessee the customer will be responsible for paying the balance due.
  • Customer can submit it as a gift transfer with gift affidavit properly signed by BOTH the Seller/Gift Giver and Buyer/Gift Receiver.
    • All taxes can be waived on a gift from an IMMEDIATE LINEAL FAMILY MEMBER (such as Mother, Father, Brother, Sister, Grandparent) even if some cash is exchanged between the family members.
    • Taxes MUST BE PAID on transfers from other family members (such as Aunt, Uncle, Cousins) or friends IF ANY CASH is exchanged.  The gift affidavit can only be used in these cases if NO MONEY was exchanged.
  • For Even-Trades the vehicle you are trading must be registered in YOUR name and you must provide a registration as proof along with the properly signed even-trade affidavit.
  • Pay taxes on the market value based on 75% of NADA book value for vehicles less than 10 years old.  The Clerk’s Office will not be able to assign the title number because the Tennessee Department of Revenue will review the price and decide on if the selling price is Fair Market Value.
    • Customers can fill out a “low selling price affidavit”.  This is the same form used for gift or even-trade transfers and does required the signature of both the seller AND buyer to be acceptable.  This is usually required with a very new model vehicle where the sales price is extremely lower than Fair Market Value.

Sales Tax Calculation:

  • State Sales Tax is 7% of purchase price less total value of trade in vehicle, if applicable.
  • Local Sales Tax is 2.75% of the first $1,600. This amount will never exceed $40.00, UNLESS a warranty or service plan is purchased in which case the 2.75% local tax is calculated on the full amount of those plans as well.
  • State Single Article Tax is 2.75% and it applies to the second $1,600 value of the vehicle (i.e. $1,601 to $3,200).  This amount will never exceed $44.00 and will less if the price is below $3200.
  • County Clerk sales tax collection fee is $1.

Duplicate Titles and Noting of Lien Requirements

Replacement of Lost Tennessee Title

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 Multi-Purpose Title Form has to be completed and signed by registered owner.  If there is more than one owner and the names are joined by the conjunction “OR” then either of the owners can obtain the duplicate title.  However if the names are joined by the conjunction “AND” then BOTH of the owners must be present to obtain the duplicate title.
  • If the owner (or one of the co-owners) is not able to come into the office, he/she can choose to complete Vehicle Power of Attorney form, which enables someone other than registered owner to obtain a replacement title.
  • Some identifying information on the vehicle is required in order to ensure the duplicate title is issued on the proper vehicle. Such information would include the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN#); the license plate number or the former title number.
  • Once the vehicle is properly identified in the computer records, a replacement title transaction can be completed as long as there is no lienholder still shown in the Tennessee vehicle records.  In the event a lien has not been properly released by the lienholder, the owner will be required to obtain a letter from the lienholder confirming the lienholder no longer holds an interest in the vehicle.
  • The person requesting the duplicate title must present their photo identification card or photo driver license to ensure they are the owner or authorized representative eligible to obtain a duplicate title.
  • The duplicate title will be issued instantly by the Clerk’s Office, so the owner will not have to wait to receive the title in the mail.
  • Replacement title fee in Roane County is currently $16.00

Noting a Lien on a Vehicle You Already Own

The vehicle must be titled in Tennessee. In order to note a lien the following is required:

  • The Multi-Purpose Title form has to be completed and signed by the registered owner(s).
  • You must provide a copy of the security agreement between the lender and borrower.
  • If the lienholder is going to be a family member or friend, in lieu of the security agreement a signed statement detailing the amount of the lien and signed by both the lender and borrower is acceptable.
  • When getting a lien from a title loan company, bank or credit union they will often have you sign a Power of Attorney (POA) and they will submit all the paperwork and fees on your behalf.
  • Noting of lien fees are currently a total of $27.00 ($16.oo fee for new title and $11.00 lien fee.)

Vehicle Plate Renewal

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:

  • The current license plate number
  • Your renewal notice postcard
  • A copy of your current registration card
  • VIN or insurance card with the VIN

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.

Visit the TN County Clerk website to renew your plates.


  • Must be a resident of Roane County.
  • Must know your current license plate number.
  • Renewal date must be within 90 days of expiration date.
    • The online system calculates the 90 days from the LAST day of the month in which the plate expires (i.e. 30th or 31st)

Vehicles eligible for online renewal:

  • Passenger vehicles
  • Some commercial vehicles (see restrictions below)
  • Trailers (utility, flatbed or camper)
  • RV/Motorhomes
  • Motorcycles and ATVs

Vehicles not eligible for online renewal:

  • Registered in a different county last year.
  • Vehicles purchased in the last year where the plate was transferred by the Clerk’s Office in a different county even if the plate was originally issued by Roane County.
  • Any vehicle that requires the registrant to provide proof of eligibility or financial membership.
  • Vehicle with a tag class registration GVWR of 55,000 lbs. or more.
  • Vehicle with an apportioned registration.
  • Vehicles that require the registrant to provide a tax certificate (Heavy Vehicle Use Form 2290).

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:

  • Renewal notice postcard
  • Copy of  current Vehicle Registration
  • License plate number and/or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

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.

Would you like a reminder when it’s time to renew your plates? 

Disabled Plates/Placards and Disabled Veteran Plates

Disabled individuals must have the Application for Disabled Person License Plate or Placard form completed by a physician to obtain plates or placards.

Disabled 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:

  • Temporary Disability (such as recovery from a medical procedure) placards are available for a one-time issuance of 6 months at a fee of $10.00.  If additional recovery time is required a second  6-month placard may be issued with another doctor approved Application for Disabled Person License Plate or Placard form  and additional $10.00 fee.

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.  

  • Permanent Disability placards are available for an issuance period of 2 years.  Permanent placards are renewable every 2 years without the requirement of an updated disability form from a doctor. A maximum of 2 permanent placards may be issued to a person and both would be renewable every 2 years
    • If the disabled person has a vehicle registered in their name then the first issuance of the placard is FREE and the renewal fee every 2 years will be $3.00. If the disabled person has another vehicle registered in their name a 2nd placard is allowed and it also would be free on first issuance with the $3.00 renewal fee every 2 years.
    • If the disabled person does NOT have a vehicle registered in their name the first issuance of the placard will be $26.50 and the renewal fee every 2 years will be $3.00.  If there is a family member with a registered vehicle at the SAME address as the disabled person a 2nd placard is available and the first issuance of that placard would be free with the $3.00 renewal fee every 2 years.
  • Permanently Confined to Wheelchair:  Any person who is permanently confined to a wheelchair and who does not own and/or is not physically capable of operating a motor vehicle (including minor children) may apply for issuance of one (1) disabled placard for the exclusive use of that person.  This placard shall be in lieu of any disabled registration plates, and shall be provided free of charge to the qualified applicant, 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.

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.

Disabled License Plates

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.

Disabled Veteran License Plates

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%).


  • Only one plate can be issued free of charge (automobile or motorcycle).
  • Additional plates may be purchased at the regular fee, the second plate is reduced and any additional plates are regular cost.
  • This plate can only be issued to the qualifying member or in the case of joint ownership, the qualifying member and their spouse. They cannot obtain the plate if the vehicle is co-owned with someone other than the qualifying member’s spouse. In the event the qualifying member passes away the spouse cannot keep the plate.

Auto Dealer and Dealership Information

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.

Requirements to Apply for a Dealer License
  • An approved building facility physically separate from all other buildings, with office furniture and a working telephone (cell or mobile phone not acceptable as primary line).  The building must total a minimum of 288 square feet and provide functioning restroom accommodations.
  • A vehicle display area large enough to fit a minimum of 15 vehicles of the dealership’s product line and a minimum of 3 spaces for customer parking.
  • A sign showing the entire dealership name (including INC, LLC, LLP or LP if applicable) must be permanently installed, and visible from the road. Such signage must contain letters a minimum of 8 inches in height.
  • A mechanical repair facility on-site or a service agreement with a nearby garage.
  • Each dealership must submit a 2-Year Corporate Surety Bond with a minimum amount of $50,000.
  • Certificate of Liability Insurance (minimum $300,000)
  • A current business tax license issued by the County Clerk.
  • A copy of the current Sales & Use Tax Certificate from the Department of Revenue with the sales tax identification number.
  • A compiled financial statement for the dealership, indicating a minimum net worth of $10,000, accompanied by a compilation letter executed by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) on the CPA’s letterhead and CPA license number.
  • Written approval from the local zoning/land use authority that the location is in zoning compliance.
  • All salespersons for the dealership must submit applications, including the eligibility verification form(s) with the initial dealer application.

Also if applicable:

  • If the dealership is located within the city limits, a City Business Tax license
  • Franchise Agreement Letter from the manufacturer or distributor of the product or line-make awarding the applicant a franchise agreement(s) if dealership will be a franchise dealer such as Ford, Chevy or Subaru.
  • Floor Plan Form – Dealers are required to provide the Commission with, and keep current, the names of any inventory financiers (i.e. “floor planners” used by the dealership.
  • Corporations/LLC/LLP/LP/Trust – A copy of the charter or articles or organization of the entity as filed with the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office must be provided.  If ownership will be by an out-of-state corporation or LLC, provide a copy of the Certificate of Authority to do business in Tennessee.
  • Stockholders Financial Background Disclosure – The principal owner, directors and all persons owning more than 5% of the outstanding shares of stock issued by a corporation, LLC, LLP or LP must complete the financial background disclosure form.
  • Conviction Record – If any owner, officer or director of a corporation has been convicted of a felony, the applicant must furnish a copy of the final judgement order/disposition sign by the court of issuance in the jurisdiction of the conviction.

Fees for Dealership Licenses

All dealer license are issued for 2 year periods.  Renewal fees are the same as the original issuance fees shown below.

  • New vehicle dealer: $400, per line make (i.e. Chevy, GMC, Buick, etc.)
  • Used vehicle dealer: $400
  • New motorcycle dealer: $400, per line make (i.e. Honda, Suzuki, Harley Davidson, etc.)
  • Used motorcycle dealer: $400
  • Salesperson or change of employer endorsement: $35
  • Motor vehicle show permit: $200
  • RV dealer: $400 (per line make)
  • Manufacturer, distributor, factory branch, or distributor branch: $1600 (Plus $50 each per Franchise Dealer in Tennessee)
  • Factory or distributor representative: $400
  • Auto dismantler and recycler: $400
  • Automobile auction: $800
  • All duplicate licenses: $25
  • Re-inspection fee: $400

Location Inspection and Dealer License Approval

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.

After Approval and Issuance of  the Dealer License 
  • Recording with the County Clerk:  Upon receipt of your Motor Vehicle Dealer License Certificate, you must take the license to your County Clerk to be recorded in the County Record Book and pay the recording fee of $7.00.  This same process will be required every 2 years when you renew and received your updated Motor Vehicle Dealer License Certificate.
    • Renewing Dealer License Certificates:  ALL dealer licenses must be renewed every 2 years with the Motor Vehicle Commission at the current fee of $400.  A renewal notice for your Motor Vehicle Dealer License will be sent to your mailing address about 45 days prior to the expiration date of your license.  You must also send an updated Bond, or Bond Rider or Bond Continuation Certificate at the same time as your renewal is due.
  • Dealer License Plates:  After recording your dealer license with the County Clerk you will be eligible to purchase your Dealer License Plates.  For the first year of operation dealerships are restricted to only 3 Dealer Plates.  Once you submit your first Annual Sales Report, if the dealership sold 25 or more vehicles they will be allowed to have as many Dealer Plates as needed.  However Annual Sales of 24 or less vehicles will remain at the restricted level of 3 Dealer Plates per year.
    • Renewing Dealer License Plates:  ALL Dealer License Plates expire on May 31 or each year.  The County Clerk will begin renewing/re-issuing Dealer License Plates no earlier than May 1 or each year.
  • Salespersons Licenses:  Each employee of the dealership who is engaged in (or attempts to effect) the purchase (wholesale or retail) and/or sale of motor vehicles is required to be licensed under the dealership as a Motor Vehicle Salesperson.  This license is applied for on-line through the Motor Vehicle Commission just like the Dealer License at the following link:
  • Annual Sales Report:  All dealers are required to submit an sales report each year detailing the number of vehicles sold and the date on which they were sold.  This report must be submitted to the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) no later than February 15 each year or the dealer will be assessed a $100 fine. The MVC now requires the sale report to be file online here:  Online Annual Sales Report Link

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.

  • Dealer Driver Out Tags/Temporary Tags:  Beginning November 1, 2021, the Department of Revenue’s process for issuing dealer drive out tags will change. In the past, dealers could issue green card stock drive out tags to customers to use temporarily while their vehicle’s registration was processed through the local County Clerk’s office.  Beginning November 1, 2021, dealers will be required to use a print on demand dealer drive out tag instead of a green card stock tag. These print on demand tags are available through Revenue’s EZTag program. Click here to see the advisory letter from Dept. of Revenue on getting set up for this program.

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:

Boat Tax & Registration

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. 

  • If your boat was purchased from an individual the certification of taxes paid is acquired through a Tennessee county clerk’s office as outlined below.
  • If your boat was purchased from a boat dealer, marina or other Tennessee business the from certifying taxes have been paid will be provided by the dealer that sold you the boat.

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.

County Clerk Requirements

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.

  • When a boat and trailer are sold together for one price, the Department of Revenue allows the dealer/clerk to apportion the single price using an allocation of 90% of the price for the boat and 10% of the price for the trailer for purposes of calculating the single article and local taxes.
  • Tennessee does not require owners to title and register a boat trailer if the trailer is being used solely within the State of Tennessee.  If you will be taking the boat across state lines it is recommended that you do title and tag the boat trailer.

TN County Court Clerk Requirements for New or Used Vessels:

  • Complete Bill of Sale that includes:
    • Date of sale
    • Price
    • Full description of vessel including- year, make, model, and HIN (i.e. the Hull Number); unless built prior to 1973.
    • Name, address, phone number and signature of both buyer and seller.
  • If built after 1972 and the HIN is no longer affixed to the vessel or not in proper U.S. Coast Guard format, photos will be required

TN County Court Clerk Requirements for Out of State Transfers:

  • Documents to prove the vessel was registered to the customer in another state.
  • Proof that they paid sales tax in another state in order to receive credit for taxes paid.
  • For boats that have never been registered, proof sales tax was paid at the time of purchase is required.
  • Taxable basis is fair market of the boat as of the date it was moved to TN.

Initial Boat Registration with TWRA:

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.