Chapter 8, Section P:
Titling upon Sale of Government-Seized Property

Revised August 14, 2008


The Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Customs Service, and the U.S. Marshal's Office or local and state law enforcement agencies under its authority may confiscate vehicles from persons who neglect or refuse to pay taxes to the Federal Government, or who use their vehicles in illegal operations.

Disposal of those vehicles is handled by the issuance of agency-specific government documents, which are equivalent to a court order. They include:

  1. Internal Revenue Service
    The Internal Revenue Service disposes of the vehicle with a Certificate of Sale of Seized Property - Form 2435. (Authority is granted under Federal Statute Section 6339 (a-5). This form serves as an ownership document, and identifies the person or company from whom property was confiscated and the name of the successful bidder (purchaser).
  2. U.S. Customs Service
    The U.S. Customs Service disposes of vehicles with a Report and Assignment of Voluntarily Abandoned and Forfeited Property, Customs Form 42 which the owner signed relinquishing his right to the vehicle. If this form is not submitted then U.S. Customs must provide a Court Order. Miscellaneous Non-expendable Property Transactions, Customs Form 37 must accompany the transaction. U.S. Customs Service Disposition Order is used to identify the purchaser/recipient of the vehicle.
  3. United States Marshal's Service
    The United States Marshal's Service confiscates and disposes of vehicles with: United States Marshal's Bill of Sale, which in itself is a Court Order (Comprehensive Crime Control Act of l984 - Public Law 98-473). The United States Marshal's Bill of Sale must be signed by the U.S. Marshal, Deputy Marshal, or a designated representative, and must indicate the court case number. All forms must contain Vehicle Identification Number, year model, make of vehicle and purchaser's name.

NOTE: Any of the above government forms, if properly completed, supersede titles issued by any licensing jurisdiction. The new owner/recipient must convert the document to a title in his/her name.

Requirements for Titling through Government Confiscation

The government document(s) submitted for titling after a government confiscation transaction must include the following information:

  1. Complete Description of Vehicle; i.e. Vehicle Identification Number, year, make and model.
  2. Odometer Mileage Reading.
  3. Purchaser's Name.
  4. Sale Price of Vehicle.
  5. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) inspection

    All vehicles being titled after government seizure must be visually inspected to verify that the vehicle identification number on all documents corresponds with the vehicle. Upon inspection of the vehicle, should there be any alterations or signs of tampering with the VIN plate, STOP inspection and contact law enforcement. A certified VIN inspector must conduct inspection of the vehicles. If the VIN on the government form does not correspond with the number on vehicle, the form must be rejected. Applicant shall obtain a corrected form from the issuing agency.


The title applicant shall pay tax, title and registration fees. Excise tax is based on the sale price indicated on the government form. A late transfer penalty may apply for failure to transfer ownership within 90 days from date of assignment.