How to transfer car registration in South Australia

From the dusty roads of the Flinders Ranges to the ocean drives along the Limestone Coast, any car on a South Australian road legally needs to be registered.

If you purchase a vehicle in South Australia, you will need to make sure you transfer the registration on that car into your name. Similarly, if you’ve recently moved to or left South Australia, you will need to check if your car is registered with the correct authority.

In this article, we explain the car registration transfer process for both the buyer and seller in South Australia and what fees may be involved. We also dive into the ins and outs of changing your registration when moving to or from the “festival state”.

Transferring car registration in South Australia as a buyer

According to the South Australian (SA) Government, if you buy a registered vehicle that will be garaged in South Australia, you must transfer the registration into your name within 14 days or a late transfer fee may apply.

You can transfer car registration online through a mySA GOV account (if eligible), in person at a Service SA customer service centre, or by post.

Online

To begin the process, you will first need to set up a mySA Gov account, if you don’t already have one. To do this you will need your South Australian driver licence or learner permit photo card and a registration renewal notice for any vehicle registered to you (which is sent via the mail). If you don’t have these items, call Service SA on 1300 450 422, or visit a customer service centre with evidence of your identity.

Once you have set up an account you will need the following to complete the transfer of vehicle registration online:

1. Completed registration details certificate

The seller will need to provide you with the registration details certificate which they would have received from Service SA when they first registered the vehicle. On the back of this certificate is the section to apply for a transfer of registration. Both you (the buyer) and the seller must sign this part of the certificate. You will need this signed certificate to lodge the transfer online.

2. Payment for the transfer fee and stamp duty

When you do apply for the transfer you will be asked to pay the transfer fee and stamp duty (discussed later in this article).

mySA Gov account
Source: South Australian Government

In person

To apply for a car rego transfer in person, the SA Government said you will need to provide the completed and signed application for transfer of registration, which is on the back of your registration details certificate, to a Service SA customer service centre along with payment for the transfer fee and stamp duty.

By post

To apply for a car rego transfer via the post, you will need to mail the completed and signed application for transfer of registration, which is on the back of your registration details certificate, along with the correct fee to:

Service SA
GPO Box 1533
Adelaide SA 5001

Note: if you are mailing the fee it must be provided by money order or a cheque marked ‘not negotiable’ and made payable to Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.

According to the CTP Insurance Regulator of South Australia, Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance will remain in place and automatically transfer to the new operator of the car when the registration is transferred. You will be able to choose your CTP Insurer when it is time to renew the vehicle’s registration.

Transferring car registration in South Australia as a seller

The SA Government states that when you sell or give a vehicle to another person and that vehicle is registered in South Australia, you will need to complete three tasks to ensure the car rego transfer can be completed.

These tasks are to:

1. Complete the vehicle registration details certificate

You will need to finish and sign the back of the vehicle registration details certificate and give it to the buyer. This certificate would have been provided to you (either by post or at a Service SA customer service centre) when you first registered your vehicle in South Australia. If you have lost this certificate you will need to arrange a replacement, which is free of charge if done online. If you do not have a mySA GOV account or would rather do this in person, you will need to pay a fee at a Service SA customer service centre ($20 at the time of writing).

SA rego transfer sign
Source: Rido (Shutterstock)

2. Give the buyer a purchase receipt

The SA Government recommends you provide the buyer with a receipt as well as keep a copy for yourself as proof you have sold the vehicle and no longer have ownership. This receipt should include the name, address and signature of you and the buyer, vehicle details such as the vehicle identification number (VIN), make and model, and details of the sale including date and price paid.

3. Lodge a disposal notice within 14 days of selling or disposing the vehicle

This can be done online through a mySA Gov account, by visiting a Service SA customer service centre, or by post. You will need the buyer’s full name, date of birth and South Australian driver licence or client number (which the buyer can obtain by visiting a Service SA customer service centre), as well as the date and time of sale of the car and the selling price. There is no cost to lodge a notice of disposal.

Personalised plates

EZYPlates South Australia states that you can retain a personalised number plate when you sell or trade-in your car and re-allocate that plate to your new vehicle. However, if you plan to sell your car registered, you will need to first remove the personalised plate and replace it with a general issue number plate. To do this you will need to visit a Service SA customer service centre and pay a fee of $60 for a new general issue number plate (current at the time of writing).

How much does it cost to transfer car registration in South Australia?

When you transfer the registration of a car into your name in South Australia, you may be required to pay some or all of the following fees. Please note that the dollar figures shown here are as advised by the South Australian Government at the time of writing and may change:

1. Registration transfer fee

Paid within 14 days of purchasing vehicle: $30
Paid after 14 days of purchasing vehicle: $90

You can pay this fee online through a mySA GOV account, by visiting a Service SA customer service centre or by post (if you are mailing the fee it must be provided by money order or a cheque marked ‘not negotiable’ and made payable to Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure).

2. Stamp duty

Stamp duty is payable when you (the buyer) apply to transfer the registration of a second hand vehicle into your name. According to RevenueSA, stamp duty is calculated on the value of the motor vehicle, which must be declared on the transfer application by the buyer. The value is calculated on the higher of either the purchase price or the market value of the vehicle, including any improvements. The buyer must make sure the value stated on the declaration is a true representation of the value of the motor vehicle. RevenueSA said organisations such as the Motor Trade Association, Redbook and the RAA can provide assistance when it comes to determining the value of a motor vehicle.

The rate of motor vehicle duty at the time of writing for a non-commercial car (not designed to carry goods) in South Australia is shown in the following table:

Value Non-commercial vehicle
Does not exceed $1,000 $1 for every $100 or part of $100 with a minimum of $5 payable in all cases
Exceeds $1,000 but not $2,000 $10 plus $2 for every $100 or part of $100 over $1,000
Exceeds $2,000 but not $3,000 $30 plus $3 for every $100 or part of $100 over $2,000
Exceeds $3,000 $60 plus $4 for every $100 or part of $100 over $3,000

Source: RevenueSA

You can use the calculator on the RevenueSA website to calculate the stamp duty payable for a non-commercial vehicle.

When you transfer a vehicle into your name, there are some people or circumstances that may be exempt from paying motor vehicle stamp duty, according to RevenueSA. For example, you may be eligible for an exemption if you are transferring the rego from your spouse or domestic partner (current or former) into your name, or you’re transferring the rego from a deceased person into your name and you are entitled to the vehicle under the provisions of the Will of the deceased. 

To claim an exemption, RevenueSA indicates that you will need to provide the necessary documents (such as a statutory declaration form for spouses or domestic partners) to demonstrate your eligibility to any Service SA customer service centre when submitting your transfer of registration application. 

Changing your car registration when moving to South Australia

If you have moved permanently to South Australia from interstate, you are required to register your car in South Australia within 90 days. If you don’t register your car within that time, the SA Government states that financial penalties may apply.

If you have a current interstate registration certificate you will need to present this to a Service SA customer service centre to register the vehicle in South Australia. According to the SA Government, you will also be required to present the following at your appointment:

1. Application for registration and third party insurance form

This form can be found online. You will need details of where your vehicle will be garaged in South Australia, along with details of the vehicle itself to fill in this form. When you present this form to the customer service centre you will receive information to assist you in selecting a CTP insurer for your vehicle. There are four government-approved insurers on offer and each provide identical policy coverage. This means you may choose a policy based on premium price or customer reviews.

2. Evidence of identity

If you have not previously been issued a licence or registered a vehicle in South Australia you will need to provide at least three evidence of identity documents, such as a current Australian passport plus a Medicare card and credit or debit card, to Service SA. When moving permanently to South Australia you will also be required to transfer to a South Australian licence within 90 days.

3. Payment of registration fees

You can use the SA Government’s registration fee calculator to work out what you are required to pay, including registration fees, stamp duty, CTP insurance premium and plate fees. If you don’t have an interstate registration certificate you will need to get a vehicle identity inspection. At the time of writing these inspections (called Tier 2) cost $63. 

Vehicle identity inspections can be completed at three assessment stations in Metropolitan Adelaide, Southern Adelaide and Mount Gambier. If you live in rural areas, your inspection may be carried out by the South Australia police provided you fulfil certain requirements, such as living more than 40 kilometres from the Adelaide GPO. Contact your local country police station to make an appointment. After the inspection is completed you will receive a vehicle identity inspection report which you will need to present when applying for registration. This report is valid for three calendar months.

Once you have registered your vehicle in South Australia, the SA Government said you can surrender your interstate number plates at a Service SA customer service centre along with the corresponding form. Once surrendered, Service SA will provide a receipt for those plates. 

SA rego transfer number plate
Source: ingehogenbijl (Shutterstock)

You will need to check the refund policy with the state or territory authority where your vehicle was previously registered to see if you can get a refund for any unused part of your interstate registration. The plate receipt from Service SA may assist with this process.

Changing your registration when leaving South Australia

If you are leaving South Australia to live interstate, and taking your car with you, you will need to first apply for registration at your interstate authority. 

Once you have registered your vehicle interstate, you can then go about cancelling your SA registration. In most cases you can cancel registration online if you have a mySA GOV account. Alternatively, you can fill in the application to cancel registration form and present this, along with your new interstate registration certificate to your closest Service SA customer service centre. If you lodge your cancellation at Service SA you will be required to surrender your SA number plates. 

Once you have applied to cancel your SA registration, the SA Government said they can provide a refund on the unused portion of your vehicle’s registration fee, CTP insurance premium and lifetime support scheme levy. However, no refund is issued on the stamp duty on the CTP insurance or Emergency Services Levy, or on the administration fee charged for a renewal or new registration. The $20 cancellation of registration fee will also be deducted from any refund due.

For further guidance on transferring your car’s registration or changing the registration when moving to South Australia or interstate, contact Service SA.

If you are moving, also remember to update your details with your car insurance provider, or consider your options for insuring your vehicle within your new state.

 Cover image source: kwest (Shutterstock)

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