“Ask Your Attorney” Column
About New WisDOT Report Required If You Sell Your Car Yourself.
Dear Counselor: I’m thinking of selling my car myself, instead of trading it in. I thought I heard there might be some new State reporting requirement if I do. Is there?
Dear Client: Yes there is! As of January 1, 2016, a new Wisconsin state law requires an individual selling a privately-owned motor vehicle to another private party to report that sale to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) within 30 days of the sale. To help state residents, WisDOT has developed an online service ( “Seller Notify”) where sellers can conveniently submit their notice of sale electronically. Seller Notify is available at wisconsindmv.gov/SellerNotify. The DOT understands this is a new process for private-to-private sellers, so their goal is to make it as easy as possible to comply with the new law. This new law does not apply either to businesses buying or selling vehicles, or to motor vehicle dealers. Private motor vehicle sellers can report the sale in three steps through Seller Notify. This online tool also enables you, as seller, to print a receipt, email a copy, or save the recorded information for their records. Sellers can also report the sale by completing and submitting a WisDMV form (MV 2870) by mail or at a local DMV service center. The Seller Notify system was designed to be compatible with mobile devices and desktop computers. Sellers can use their preferred platform (including phones and tablets) to submit sale data directly to WisDOT in real time. But be careful — only the website with .gov is the official state DMV website. Others with .org and .com are not official, and may have extra charges for forms, or list information that is outdated or incorrect. In addition to the expanding services on its website, WisDOT connects with customers on Facebook and Twitter @WisconsinDOT.
John L. Maier Jr.