What is a bill of sale?

A bill of sale, a type of receipt that is sometimes incorrectly called a “bill or sale”, is a legal document used to transfer ownership of an item from sellers to buyers. It typically includes important information such as the names of buyers and sellers, contact information, item description, item price, payment methods and warranty details.

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Proof of transfer of ownership

A bill of sale documents who owns an item. Many states require this proof of ownership in various instances. For example, when trying to register a car that you've just purchased from a private party, the DMV may require a signed bill of sale in addition to the title in order to register the car in the new owner's name.
Proof of property ownership is also required in cases other than vehicle registration. For example, many states require a bill of sale as evidence of ownership of branded livestock, including horses.

Common items bills of sale are used for

A bill of sale can be used to sell numerous property types. Our bill of sale forms cover many items that are commonly bought and sold between individuals, including:
You can use our general bill of sale form for other items, including:
  • Watercrafts: yachts, jet skis, PWC
  • Aircrafts: planes
  • Animals: cats/kittens
  • Furniture: couches, chairs, tables, bed frames
  • Farming Equipment: tractors
  • Construction Equipment: caterpillar equipment, bulldozers, wheel loaders, cherry pickers
  • Exercise Equipment: stationary bikes, stair climbers, free weights
  • Restaurant Equipment: glassware, bar supplies, fryers, flatware

Benefits of a bill of sale

A bill of sale helps the transfer of property go smoothly for both buyers and sellers.

For sellers 


As a seller, you may need to report the sale amount as part of your tax documents or for business accounting purposes.


Indicating on a bill of sale that you have sold property "as is" protects you as a seller if the buyer encounters problems with the item after purchase. For example, if a person buys an automobile from you and it breaks down after he or she drives away, you are not responsible for the repairs or damages. 

Transfer of Ownership

A bill of sale also documents when the item was transferred to a new owner, which can be critical in certain cases. For example, if someone buys a gun from you and the gun is then used to commit a crime, a signed bill of sale may be used as supportive evidence that you were not the owner of the firearm at the time of the crime.

For buyers


Proof of Ownership

As a buyer, a bill of sale provides proof of ownership, allowing others to verify your rights to property. Whether registering a motorcycle at the DMV or totaling the value of your assets for a bank loan, the document serves as required proof of ownership.

Date of Ownership

Other benefits include documentation of the date that you became owner of an item, preventing disputes about when the property was transferred. The value of the property as agreed on by buyers and sellers is also included on a bill of sale, limiting conflict over how much was paid or received and/or when payment(s) were made.  

Warranty Information

If the seller offers a warranty on an item, a bill of sale typically outlines this agreement, protecting your rights as a buyer to possible repairs, refunds or other forms of protection. Without a bill of sale that puts everything in writing, you may have more hassles or little recourse if sellers do not honor their agreements.   
Additional bill of sale resources: 

Get started Start Your Bill of Sale Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Start Your Bill of Sale Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.