State of Michigan Licensing & Information
MADA is happy to help new car and truck dealers (Class A) with their State of Michigan licensing requirements. Please see the following for answers to some of the more common questions we hear from dealers. If you have a question that is not answered here, or if you would like more information about any topic, please call our office at (800) 292-1923.
Helpful Secretary of State links
- CARS e-Services website
- March 21 CARS upgrade FAQs (will be updated as needed)
- Dealer manual
- Repair facility manual
- Proper and improper use of dealer plates
- Information for vehicle dealers
- Information for repair facilities
- Automotive related publications and forms
Sales tax trade-in credit
Beginning January 1, 2021, owners trading in a motor vehicle receive a sales tax credit for the vehicle’s trade-in value up to a maximum of $7,000. This is a $1,000 increase from the 2020 maximum of $6,000. The partial sales tax trade-in credit increases annually by law.
- Vehicle Sales Tax Trade-in Credit – Frequently Asked Questions (dated Jan. 1, 2021)
Documentary Fee Maximum (DIFS document)
Jan. 15, 2021 bulletin on the revised “doc fee” for 2021 and 2022. The Director of the Department of Insurance and Financial Services has reviewed the documentary preparation fee for adjustment and has determined the maximum shall be adjusted to $230.00, which reflects the cumulative percentage change in the consumer price index for the calendar years 2019 and 2020. Accordingly, the documentary preparation fee shall not exceed 5% of the cash price of the motor vehicle or $230.00, whichever is less.
Applying for a new license
MADA is happy to help with all the State of Michigan licensing needs for our new car and truck dealers. Please click here and review the information then call our office at (800) 292-1923 for personal assistance with all your licensing needs.
Renewing my license
Please click here for detailed information to help you renew your dealer, repair facility and installment seller licenses. As a benefit of your MADA membership, MADA encourages dealers to send their completed renewals to us so we can review the paperwork for accuracy and personally deliver all documents to the State of Michigan.
Vehicle dealer surety bond
Pursuant to MCL 257.248(2), dealers are required to have a valid bond in the amount of $10,000 in order to receive a license or renewal from the State of Michigan. It must be renewed each year.
Note: MADA, through its agent, Dealers Insurance Agency (DIA), and underwritten by Merchants Bonding Company, offers dealer surety bonds for a very low annual cost. This rate is also available to new car dealers who own an independent used car dealership.
Making changes to information on your license
Please click here for various guidelines and sample letters you can download to assist when making franchise or other changes at your dealership.
Wall licenses, renewal dates & dealer plates/tabs
The state mails license renewal applications approximately 45 days prior to the expiration date. Please be aware of your expiration dates to ensure your licenses are renewed on time.
- Installment seller (finance) license – these wall licenses do not include an expiration date; they instead note an effective date. The license remains active when renewed on time. Renewal licenses are no longer mailed unless changes are required. The installment seller renewal cycle is April – June.
- Dealer license & plates – dealers will receive a new wall license upon renewal. All licenses expire on December 31 and multi-year renewal is an option. Dealer plates are renewed each year (with tabs) and remain active through the last day of February.
- Repair facility licenses – repair facilities will receive a new wall license upon renewal. Repair facility licenses have varying renewal cycles. Check your license for the expiration date.
Dealer plates: additional/replacement plates
To receive additional/replacement plates please complete the following form. Additional/Replacement Dealer Plates Application (AR-0036)
Please submit the required form and appropriate fees to MADA. We will review your paperwork and hand-deliver to the state.
Temporary or off-site sales
Please note that Michigan no longer allows temporary/off-site sales out-of-county. To apply for a temporary sale in the same county, the following must be provided to the state at least 15 days prior to the sale:
- Vehicle Dealer Supplemental Location Application form (link)
- Michigan Vehicle Dealer Close Out Statement for Temporary Location form(link)
- Enclose either a franchise approval to sell new vehicles at the sale location, or self-certify that you have authorization to sell new vehicles at the sale location during the dates specified. If only selling used vehicles at the off-site location, you will need a letter signed by the owner stating that the dealership will only be selling used cars. **Sample letters**