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Cars, Trucks & Vans

Cars Driving on a Winding Road

South Dakota Title & Registration Application

Over 1.2 million vehicles are registered in South Dakota, all of which are identified by a legal document called a vehicle title. While the primary purpose of a title is to establish who owns the vehicle, titles also provide vehicle information like make, model year, weight and the vehicle identification number (VIN). As vehicles are bought and sold, the title becomes the legal documentation of each change in ownership. Both the buyer and the seller must follow specific procedures to ensure the title is correctly transferred from one owner to the next.

Motor vehicle titling and registration is handled through your local county treasurer’s office. See below for all applicable license fees that must be paid to the county treasurer. An Application for Motor Vehicle Title & Registration must be signed by the record owner(s) or by an authorized agent for the record owner(s). A Power of Attorney document must be attached to verify the appointment if the application is signed by an authorized agent.

Bill of Sale Form

 

Car, Truck & Van Fees

Interest and Penalty fees are assessed against the 4% motor vehicle excise tax and 4% mobile/manufactured home initial registration fee. All fees are assessed from purchase date regardless of when an applicant applies for title and registration. Interest on the tax owed for each month or part thereof for which the tax payment is late is assessed at the rate of 1-1/4% or $5, whichever is greater, for the first month; and 1-1/4% per month thereafter on any application made after 45 days from the date of purchase. A one-time penalty equal to 10% of the tax or $10, whichever is greater, is automatically applied against any application made after 60 days from the purchase date. Learn more about Non Commercial License Fees (PDF) or Gross Weight License Fees (PDF).

  Fee Type Cost
Standard Fee Title $10
Standard Fee Lien Notation $10
Standard Fee Solid Waste $1
Standard Fee Mailing $5
Standard Fee Late Title Application Penalty $1.00 for every week past your 45 day grace period.
Maximum fine of $50.
Standard Fee Highway Patrol $1

 

License Plate Fees

License plates are issued based on the first letter of your last name which then correlates to a particular month. For example, someone with the last name starting with a "J" will be required to renew their plates in March of each year. These fees are based on the weight and year of the vehicle.

  First Letter of Last Name Month
Varying Fees A/B January
Varying Fees C/D/E February
Varying Fees F/G/J March
Varying Fees H/I/O May
Varying Fees K/L June
Varying Fees M/N July
Varying Fees P/Q/R August
Varying Fees S September
Varying Fees T/U/V/W/X/Y/Z November

 

Other Fees

  Fee Type Cost
Excise Tax Tax 4% of purchase price on all motor vehicles
Wheel Tax Tax View which counties impose this tax
Duplicate Title Fee Title $10

 

Car, Truck & Van Permits

Pickup Truck Parked in Front of a House

5-15 Day Temporary Permit

This license permit allows non-commercial short-term operation of a vehicle. The permit can be purchased from a county treasurer for a period of 5 to 15 consecutive days.

  • The fee for the permit is $1 per day for each day the permit is requested. The minimum fee is $5.
  • Only one permit should be issued yearly per motor vehicle.
  • An applicant must have either a title in the applicant’s name, a title properly assigned to the applicant or a bill of sale that lists the applicant as the purchaser of the vehicle.
  • The title or bill of sale must be available for inspection by a peace officer when the vehicle is being moved.
  • In private, individual vehicle sales, the new purchaser may obtain a 5-15 day permit for a fee of $1 per day if extended time is needed from the 45-day seller’s permit until the 45- day title transfer.
  • A temporary permit can be used on a vehicle hauling a load, as long as the operation is non-commercial.
  • The permit information (vehicle, year, make and VIN/HIN will be entered into the system.
  • The reason the permit is needed must be entered (list of possible reasons will be displayed).
  • Sale of any subsequent permit for the same vehicle within one year will require the entry of a comment as to why a second permit is being issued.
  • When a permit is issued on a vehicle that is titled in South Dakota, the permit will be tied to the vehicle title record.

 

Seller’s Permit

A private seller must obtain a free, temporary license permit that allows a buyer to drive during the time between purchase and registration and titling.

  • Permit duration is 45 days.
  • A new purchaser of a vehicle through a private individual sale can obtain a 5-15 day permit for a fee of $1 per day if extended time is needed beyond the 45-day seller’s permit.
  • Justification is required if a second permit is requested from the same owner-vehicle combination.
  • The system will check for suspensions and title record status.
  • Failure of a seller to provide the permit to a purchaser upon sale of a vehicle is a class 2 misdemeanor.
  • A seller can obtain a seller’s permit online at SD.cars.org or at the seller’s local county treasurer’s office.
  • A seller’s permit cannot be issued for a boat or a snowmobile.

 

Plate Ordered Permit

This permit allows for the operation of a vehicle between application for special plates and the arrival of new plates.

  • The permit is valid for 30 days or until the plates arrive, whichever occurs first.
  • When an application is made for a plate ordered permit, the system will check for suspensions, title record status and plate type.
  • The system will not issue the plates unless the vehicle that the plates will be attached to is titled in the applicant’s name or is pending a title in the name of the permit applicant.

 

Car, Truck & Van License Plates

In addition to our standard vehicle and motorcycle plates, the South Dakota Department of Revenue offers emblem, Dignity sculpture, tribal, special interest, personalized, military, historical and disabled parking permit license plates. Apply for standard license plates by filling out the Application for Motor Vehicle Title & Registration. Learn more about specialized license plates below or see options for commercial plates.

 

Standard South Dakota License Plates

  Vehicle Plate
Standard South Dakota License Plate Standard South Dakota License Plate
Fee These fees are based on the weight and year of the vehicle.
Apply Complete an application for Motor Vehicle Title & Registration.
Applicable Law SDCL 32-5

 

Other Car, Truck & Van Resources

 

Car, Truck & Van Online Forms

More on Motor Vehicle License Plates


disabled parking permits and plates

Disabled Parking Permits & Plates

Register, apply for disabled parking permits and license plates and title your car, truck or van with the South Dakota Department of Revenue.

Learn More About Disabled Parking Permits & Plates
military plates

Military Plates

Register and apply for military license plates with the South Dakota Department of Revenue.

Learn More About Military Plates
personalized specialty plates

Personalized & Specialty Plates

Register and apply emblem, Dignity sculpture, fire fighter, tribal, Construction Vehicle, Radio & personalized plates.

Learn More About Personalized & Specialty Plates