Buying or Trading in a Vehicle? Use our checklists below to be sure you have everything you’ll need to start using a tax-free Montana LLC:
LLC Checklist for Buying from a Dealership
- Tell the dealership up front that it is your intention for your LLC to buy the vehicle
- Let the dealership know that your personal name should only appear as the signature on behalf of the LLC
- Ask the dealership how they handle sales tax for out of state buyers (remember, your LLC is a legal Montana resident)
- Ask the dealership when you will receive the title or certificate of origin for the vehicle
- Ask the dealership if they will provide you with a temp tag and how many days you will have before the temp tag expires
- Be sure to check if they will require you to take out of state delivery on the vehicle
- If the title will not be available when you take delivery of the vehicle, request that they send the title directly to our Document Processing Center (please call our office for the address)
LLC Checklist for Buying from a Private Party
- Ask for information on any liens that may be on the vehicle – if possible, get a copy of the front of the title.
- Get the VIN number of the vehicle, and state in which it’s titled. You can call the state’s department of motor vehicles to verify if there are any current liens on the vehicle.
- If the current owner has an existing lien, request a letter or fax from the lien holder that verifies the payoff amount on the vehicle.
- Once a sales price is agreed on, pay the lien balance directly to the bank holding the lien – this way, you have instant verification that the lien has been paid. Remember that if the lien isn’t paid, you cannot take legal ownership of the vehicle. Then, pay the seller the balance of the agreed price.
- If there is a lien that has already been paid off on the vehicle, check to see that the title has been signed by the lien holder, or that there is an additional letter with the title indicating that the lien has been released. When in doubt, request an additional letter from the lien holder. Lien release letters should be on bank stationary, include at least the vehicle VIN, and be signed by a representative of the lien holder
- When paying the seller, it is best to use a cashier’s check or money order – that way the seller is sure that the payment will clear, and will be less hesitant to give you the title right away.
- Ask the seller if they have the title to be handed over to you, or if the title will be coming from the lien holder
- If the title will be coming from the lien holder, request that the lien holder send it directly to you, if possible – not all lien holders will do this.
- If the title is not present when you take possession of the vehicle, get a notarized Bill of Sale from the seller. You can download a Montana Bill of Sale at www.doj.mt.gov/driving/forms.
- Anticipate your travel needs – you may need to get a temporary tag to operate your vehicle until you can get the physical plate. The seller’s county may be able to provide you with a temporary tag for transport, or you can call our office to make arrangements for a 40-day Montana temporary tag.
LLC Checklist for Financing
- Be sure to make the lender aware that you will be purchasing the vehicle for your LLC.
- Get confirmation from the lender (in writing when possible) that you will be able to register and title the vehicle in the name of your LLC only. Your personal name cannot appear on the registration or title because you are not a resident of Montana – only your LLC is a resident of Montana.
- Remember that your personal name can appear as a guarantor on the loan or on other bank paperwork, if the bank requires it. It is only the title and registration of the vehicle that cannot include your personal name.
- Let the lender know that Montana will send them a lien holder filing, and the title to the vehicle will go to the LLC. Be sure to get a clear answer on if the lender will want you to send them the title when you receive it, or if they are fine with the lien holder filing.
- Get a list of the documents that the lender will need in order to prepare the paperwork.
- Ask the lender to provide you with a letter indicating their complete name and address (as they would like it to appear on the State’s records), the lien amount, and the date of the lien. This will assist us in preparing any additional documents they may request.
- Contact our office to make arrangements for any documents you will need prior to closing. If you are unsure what the bank is requesting, you can also ask the lender to contact us directly.
- If the lender has questions about your LLC, please have them call our office, and we will be happy to do whatever we can to help.
REMEMBER: When there is a lien holder involved, the vehicle cannot be registered and titled in the name of the LLC without their permission!
If any additional questions or special circumstances arise as you are working through your vehicle purchase, please contact our office! We will be happy to talk with you, your dealership, or your lender to work through as many issues as we can!
Remember: If you ask us up front, we can help you work through it! If you purchase the vehicle before all of the questions are answered, you may run into problems when you try to register it to your LLC!