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

Sales tax trade-in credit

Beginning January 1, 2023, owners trading in a motor vehicle receive a sales tax credit for the vehicle’s trade-in value up to a maximum of $9,000. This amount increases $1,000 annually and is based on the delivery date of the vehicle.

Documentary Fee Maximum (DIFS document)

January 13, 2023: the Documentary Preparation Fee for 2023 and 2024 has been adjusted to $260.

The Director has reviewed the documentary preparation fee adjustment and has determined the maximum shall be adjusted to $260.00, which reflects the cumulative percentage change in the consumer price index for the past two calendar years. Accordingly, the documentary preparation fee shall not exceed 5% of the cash price of the motor vehicle or $260.00, whichever is less.

Also see DIFS bulletin 2023-01-CF for information. DIFS will next review the maximum allowable doc fee amount in mid-January 2025.

Compliance Checklists

For a comprehensive list of compliance requirements, dealers should consult the dealer and repair facility manuals. However, for your convenience MDOS has created the following checklist that can be used for a quick reference of items that will be inspected.

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 is happy to help dealers with renewal paperwork and answer any questions you may have.

Vehicle dealer surety bond

Pursuant to MCL 257.248(2), dealers are required to have a valid bond in the amount of $25,000 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

Dealers can report lost, stolen and missing plates within their CARS e-Services account (preferred method). To receive additional/replacement plates you may alternately complete 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**