Phone: 352-343-9602

Website Disclaimer & Privacy Policy

Office of the Lake County Tax Collector
320 West Main Street
Tavares, Florida 32778
Phone: 352.343.9602

In accordance with 2017-21, Laws of Florida /
§ 119, Florida Statutes

Motor Vehicles

Titles & Registration

The Lake County Tax Collector serves as as an agent for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). We provide the services of titling and registering vehicles at any of our regional service center locations.


All motor vehicles must be titled and registered. Florida Statute 319.40 authorizes the DHSMV to issue an electronic certificate of title in lieu of a paper title.


An electronic title may be converted to a paper title at the owner’s request. The DHSMV will mail the paper title from Tallahassee to the owner approximately two weeks after it is ordered. Additionally, the owner may opt for an expedited paper title for an additional fee. We recommend that sellers and purchasers visit our office together in order to avoid unforeseen complications when transferring certificates of title. If it is inconvenient for both parties to visit our office together, we recommend they contact our office, at (352) 343-9602, for specific information that will ensure a successful transfer of ownership.

The seller(s) must complete the “Transfer of Title by Seller” section in full on the certificate of title. This includes: the purchaser’s name, selling price, date of sale, and odometer reading with date read (when applicable). The seller(s) and purchaser(s) must then sign and print their name. Their signatures are not required to be notarized in this section, even if there is a labeled place.

The purchaser(s) must be present in our office at the time of title transfer. If the purchaser(s) are unable to visit our office, an Application for Certificate of Title with/without Registration (HSMV 82040), may be completed in advance. This form, along with the completed title, may be submitted by a third-party.

Proof of sales tax paid or proof of sales tax exemption must be provided. Otherwise, sales tax must be collected at the time of the title transaction.

An MCO is the original documentation (best described as the birth certificate) issued by a manufacturer that identifies a new motor vehicle, boat/vessel, or mobile home.

Florida statutes require anyone selling a new motor vehicle, boat/vessel, or mobile home in the state of Florida to provide the purchaser(s) with an MCO. The MCO must be completed by the seller and identify the purchaser. MCOs do not require notarization. The seller of a motor vehicle must also complete the odometer disclosure on the MCO or a separate odometer disclosure form (HSMV 82993) prescribed by federal or state law.

Florida statutes require Florida motor vehicle or mobile home dealers to process the paperwork for an applicant and present that paperwork to the Tax Collector’s office. Florida dealers are also required to collect sales tax on a vehicle, boat/vessel or mobile home of which they have sold.

Please note that some states do not require MCOs for new boats/vessels. Customers who have not received an MCO for a boat/vessel that was purchased from an out-of-state business should contact our office at (352) 343-9602 in order to address specific requirements.

A customer with a motor vehicle, boat/vessel, or mobile home from out-of-state should have a certificate of title as proof of ownership.  The owner must submit the out of state title to the Tax Collector’s office.  The transfer section on the out-of -state title must be properly executed by the seller if there is a transfer of ownership.

Proof of sales tax paid or proof of sales tax exemption may be required, or sales tax may be collected if applicable.

A customer whose title is held by a lending institution must provide their most current vehicle registration and the lienholder’s name, address, and account number.

We recommend that customers with a transaction involving a non-titled motor vehicle, boat/vessel, or mobile home contact our office (352) 343-9602 to address specific requirements.

Florida Statutes require that the vehicle identification number (VIN) on motor vehicles be verified by one of the following:

  • A law enforcement officer from any state
  • A licensed motor vehicle dealer from Florida
  • A Florida county tax collector employee or Florida Division of Motor Vehicle Compliance Examiner
  • Provost Marshal or commissioned officer in active military service (rank of 2nd lieutenant or higher)
  • A Florida Notary

The VIN verification may be completed on the Application for Certificate of Title with/without Registration (HSMV 82040), or a Vehicle Identification Number and Odometer Verification form (HSMV 82042).

The owner of a motor vehicle, mobile home, or boat/vessel may obtain a duplicate Florida title by completing an Application for Duplicate or Lost in Transit/Reassignment Title (HSMV 82101). The owner must also submit a lien satisfaction form (HSMV 82260), if records show a recorded lien against the certificate of title.

In the instance that a seller has lost a title and the purchaser will obtain a Florida title, both the seller and the purchaser may visit our office together and complete form HSMV 82101. This allows the seller to transfer ownership without paying for an expedited title or waiting for a title to be sent in the mail. However, both duplicate and transfer of title fees will apply at the time of the transaction.

In the instance that a lienholder has lost a certificate of title, and the lien is still outstanding, then the lienholder must complete and sign the duplicate title application form (HSMV 82101). After the lien has been satisfied, the lienholder will sign off on the title and forward it to the owner.


Florida issues a metal license plate with a series of alphanumeric characters for all motor vehicles. A validation decal displaying the registration expiration date, decal number, and license plate number is issued and must be affixed to the upper right corner of the plate. The license plate is to be displayed on the rear of the vehicle, with the exception of certain commercial vehicles.

Motor vehicles, boats/vessels, and trailers are registered according to the owner’s birth month. The registration is valid until midnight on the owner’s birthday. When a vehicle is registered in multiple names, the birthday of the person whose name appears first on the title application will determine the registration expiration. A delinquent fee will be charged on all registrations not renewed by the 10th calendar day of the month following the expiration month. (Per Florida Statute 320.07(4))

The following is a list of some exceptions to birthday expirations:

Generally, the annual registration cost is determined by the weight of a motor vehicle and the length of a boat/vessel or mobile home.

An Initial Registration Fee of $225 may be imposed, unless the owner is otherwise exempted, for the first time registration of private automobiles, motor homes, and pickups/trucks weighing 5,000 pounds or less.

Motor vehicles may be renewed at any of our regional service center locations, by mail, or online. These renewals may be processed up to three months prior to the expiration month. Motor vehicle registrations can be issued with a annual or biennial registration period.