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Dealer Closures

iStock 000019356388 SmallWhen a dealer closes unexpectedly, you may find your vehicle registration and title paperwork and related fees were never transferred to the county tax office. This leaves you without proper ownership evidence for your vehicle.

Dealer Status

The first step is to determine the official status of the dealership. Did the dealer go on an extended vacation or did it permanently close? Did the dealer file for bankruptcy in court? The official status of the dealership determines your course of action.

Your dealer closed
& did not file for bankruptcy

Take the following to your county tax office:

  • Evidence of ownership, such as a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin or title assigned to you by the dealer. If you do not have this document, you have the option of applying for a bonded title through one of our Regional Service Centers or contact your county tax office for alternatives,
  • Completed Application for Texas Certificate of Title, Form 130-U, and
    130-U Application for Texas Certificate of Title
  • Proof of payment, such as a dealer sales contract, a bill of sale, Tax Collector's Receipt for Texas Title Application / Registration / Motor Vehicle Tax or an invoice. If these documents itemize tax, title and registration, and show you paid the proper fees, you will not be charged again. If the amounts are not itemized, or proof of payment documents are not available, you will need to pay your sales tax, registration and titling fees, including any title penalties for late application at your county tax office.
  • If you purchased your vehicle through a cash sale, you must provide a written statement when you apply for the title that states there is no such lien on the vehicle.

Your dealer closed
& filed for bankruptcy

  • First determine whether your vehicle is covered by a court order releasing the vehicle as an asset and awarding ownership to you. Your lienholder may be able to help you with this determination. The Court Order or attached exhibit must specify the VIN, preferably the name of the title applicant(s) and any known lienholder.
  • Your situation may fall in one of these basic Court Order scenarios:
    1. Scenario: You may be asked to provide all properly completed required title transfer documents. If a required document is not available, you will need to contact the bankruptcy attorney to obtain it.
    2. Scenario: You may use the court order as a substitute for one or all ownership documents if the court order specifically eliminates the requirement of the seller's signature on items such as Form 130-U, odometer statement, etc.
    3. Scenario: Your vehicle may not be listed individually in the court order, in which case you must supply a copy of the court order releasing all vehicles. Provide the court order with the other documents to allow you a waiver for any fees that you already paid.
  • To title and register your vehicle when a dealer files for bankruptcy without completing the proper paperwork, take the following to your county tax office:
  • Original Bankruptcy Court Order, a certified copy of the court order, or an electronic copy of the court order, including the court exhibit that specifies the title applicant and vehicle, providing there is one for your vehicle,
  • Evidence of ownership, such as a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin or title assigned to you by the dealer,
  • Completed Application for Texas Certificate of Title, Form 130-U,
    130-U Application for Texas Certificate of Title
  • Any other supporting document required in a standard title transfer (Power of Attorney, odometer statement, etc.), and
  • Payment documents, such as a dealer sales contract, a bill of sale, VTR-31-RTS receipt (Receipt for Texas Title Application/Registration/Motor Vehicle Tax)or an invoice.
  • If these documents itemize tax, title and registration, and show you paid the proper fees, you will not be charged again. If the amounts are not itemized, or payment documents are not available, you will need to pay your sales tax, registration and titling fees, including any title penalties for late application at your county tax office.
  • If you purchased your vehicle through a cash sale, you must provide a written statement when you apply for the title that states there is no lien on the vehicle.

Your dealer filed for bankruptcy,
but remains open for business

Title and registration transactions are still processed normally.

Sales Tax

For more information, contact the State Comptroller's Office at (800) 252-1382

Complaint

To file a dealer complaint with the Enforcement Division, complete and submit a complaint form.

Motor Vehicle Dealer Complaint Form

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