Abandoned Motor Vehicles

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Abandoned Motor Vehicle – Court Order

In order for a title to be issued on an abandoned motor vehicle, the abandoned motor vehicle law requires the vehicle to be sold at a public sale. A certificate of title cannot be obtained for an abandoned vehicle on the basis of a surety bond, nor can a title be issued for a vehicle that is not required to be titled in Georgia (1985 or older year model vehicles). The following documents must be forwarded to the Columbia County Motor Vehicle Office:

Tag/Title Application, Form MV-1 – The application must be completed in detail – typed, electronically completed, or legibly hand-printed in blue or black ink in the current owner(s)’ full legal name(s) and signed by the vehicle owner(s).

Court Order – Submit a certified copy of the court order that authorized the sale of the vehicle.

Bill of Sale – Provide the original bill of sale completed and signed by the plaintiff (person authorized by the court to sell the vehicle).

Certificate of Title – Submit the current certificate of title whenever available.

Certification of Inspection, Form T-22B – The Certification of Inspection Form must be completed by a Duly Constituted Georgia Law Enforcement Officer. The form must indicate the officer’s verification on the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC). The form will be considered void without the GCIC verification.

Notarized Affidavit – If the buyer (applicant) and the plaintiff are the same, a signed and notarized affidavit must be submitted stating that a public sale was held and the applicant was the highest bidder.

Newspaper Advertisement – The vehicle must be advertised for sale in the local newspaper in accordance with the requirements for public sale (refer to “public sale” definition in Public Sale section). The advertisement must reflect a full description (year, make, model and vehicle identification number). If the purchaser of the abandoned vehicle is also the plaintiff (seller) of the abandoned vehicle, a copy of the newspaper advertisement is required.

Note: A notarized affidavit and newspaper advertisement is only needed when the plaintiff and the buyer are the same.

Processing Fee – The $18 title processing fee and any taxes due may be paid with a check or money order made payable to the Columbia County Tax Commissioner. The Columbia County Motor Vehicle Office also accepts cash and credit cards (VISA, MasterCard & Discover).  

Title Ad Valorem Tax – Effective March 1, 2013, any motor vehicle for which a title is issued shall be exempt from sales and use taxes and shall not be subject to the annual ad valorem tax. Any such motor vehicle shall be subject to a Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) based upon the fair market value of the vehicle. The title ad valorem tax shall be paid to the Columbia County Tax Commissioner at the time of titling and registration.

An owner who purchases a vehicle from an individual has thirty (30) days from the date the vehicle was purchased to apply for a title to avoid being charged a 10% TAVT penalty fee, with an additional 1% penalty every thirty (30) days thereafter.

Georgia Sales and Use Tax (if applicable) – When applying for a title and license plate for a vehicle that is exempt from Title Ad Valorem Tax and was purchased from an out-of-state dealer or business, Georgia sales and use tax must be paid at the time of application; proof submitted that the sales and use tax has already been paid or proof submitted that the applicant is exempt from this tax. A Georgia title and license plate will not be issued until any Georgia sales and use tax due is paid.

Public Sale

“Public Sale” means a sale: held at a place reasonably available to persons who might desire to attend and submit bids; and, at which those attending shall be given the opportunity to bid on a competitive basis; and, at which the sale, if made, shall be made to the highest bidder; and, except as otherwise provided in this title for advertising or dispensing with the advertising of public sale, of which notice is given by advertisement once a week for two (2) weeks in the newspaper in which the sheriff’s advertisements are published in the county where the sale is to be held, and which notice shall state the day and hour, between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and the place of sale and shall briefly identify the goods to be sold.

§40-11-1 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.), as amended

As used in this article, the term:

“Abandoned motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle or trailer:

  • Which has been left by the owner or some person acting for the owner with an automobile dealer, repairman, or wrecker service for repair or for some other reason and has not been called for by such owner or other person within a period of thirty (30) days after the time agreed upon; or within thirty (30) days after such vehicle is turned over to such dealer, repairman, or wrecker service when no time is agreed upon; or within thirty (30) days after the completion of necessary repairs;

    Abandoned Motor Vehicle – Court Order

  • Which is left unattended on a public street, road, or highway or other public property for a period of at least five (5) days and when it reasonably appears to a law enforcement officer that the individual who left such motor vehicle unattended does not intend to return and remove such motor vehicle. However, on the state highway system, any law enforcement officer or employee of the Department of Transportation to whom enforcement authority has been designated pursuant to Code Section 32-6-29 may authorize the immediate removal of vehicles posting a threat to public health or safety or to mitigate congestion;
  • Which has been lawfully towed onto the property of another at the request of a law enforcement officer and left there for a period of not less than thirty (30) days without anyone having paid all reasonable current charges for such towing and storage;
  • Which has been lawfully towed onto the property of another at the request of a property owner whose property the vehicle was abandoned and left there for a period of not less than thirty (30) days without anyone having paid all reasonable current charges for such towing and storage; or
  • Which has been left unattended on private property for a period of not less than thirty (30) days.

“Motor vehicle” or “vehicle” means a motor vehicle or trailer.

“Owner” or “owners” means the registered owner, the owner as recorded on the title, lessor, lessee, security interest holders, and all lien holders as shown on the records of the Department of Revenue.

§40-11-2 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated

Duty of Person Removing or Storing Motor Vehicle

  • Any person who removes a motor vehicle from public property at the request of a law enforcement officer or stores such vehicle shall, if the owner of the vehicle or some person acting for the owner is not present, seek the identity of and address of all known owners of such vehicle from the law enforcement officer requesting removal of such, from such officer’s agency, or from a local law enforcement agency for the jurisdiction in which the remover’s or storer’s place of business is located, within three (3) business days of removal. The local law enforcement agency shall furnish such information to the person removing such vehicle within three (3) business days after receipt of such request.
  • Any person who removes a motor vehicle from private property at the request of the property owner or stores such vehicle shall, if the owner of the vehicle or some person acting for the owner is not present, notify in writing a local law enforcement agency of the location of the vehicle, the manufacturer’s vehicle identification number, license number, model, year and make of the vehicle within three (3) business days of the removal of such vehicle and shall seek from the local law enforcement agency the identity and address of all known owners of such vehicle, and any information indicating that such vehicle is a stolen motor vehicle. The

    Abandoned Motor Vehicle – Court Order

    local law enforcement agency shall furnish such information to the person removing such vehicle within three (3) business days after receipt of such request.

  • If any motor vehicle removed under conditions set forth in subsection (a) or (b) of this Code section is determined to be a stolen motor vehicle, the local law enforcement officer or agency shall notify the Georgia Crime Information Center of the location of such motor vehicle within 72 hours after receiving notice that such motor vehicle is a stolen vehicle.
  • If any motor vehicle removed under conditions set forth in subsection (a) or (b) of this Code section is determined not to be a stolen vehicle or is not a vehicle being repaired by a repair facility or is not being stored by an insurance company providing insurance to cover damages to the vehicle, the person removing or storing such motor vehicle shall within seven (7) calendar days of the day such motor vehicle was removed or one business day after the information is furnished to the remover or storer pursuant to subsection (a) or (b) of this Code section, whichever is later, notify all owners, if known, by written acknowledgment signed thereby or by certified or registered mail or statutory overnight delivery, of the location of such motor vehicle, the fees connected with removal and storage of such motor vehicle, and the fact that such motor vehicle will be deemed abandoned under this chapter unless the owner, security interest holder, or lien holder redeems such motor vehicle within thirty (30) days of the day such vehicle was removed.
  • If none of the owners redeem such motor vehicle as described in subsection (d) of this Code section, or if a vehicle being repaired by a repair facility or being stored by an insurance company providing insurance to cover damages to the vehicle becomes abandoned, the person removing or storing such motor vehicle shall, within seven (7) calendar days of the day such vehicle became an abandoned motor vehicle, give notice in writing, by sworn statement, on the form MV-603 with a research fee of $2.00 payable to the Columbia County Tax Commissioner, stating the manufacturer’s vehicle identification number, the license number, the fact that such vehicle is an abandoned motor vehicle, the model, year and make of vehicle, the date the vehicle became an abandoned motor vehicle, the date the vehicle was removed and the present location of such vehicle and requesting the name and address of all owners of such vehicle. If the form submitted is rejected because of inaccurate or missing information, the person removing or storing the vehicle shall resubmit, within seven (7) calendar days of the date of the rejection, a corrected notice form together with an additional research fee of $2.00 payable to the Columbia County Tax Commissioner. Each subsequent corrected notice, if required, shall be submitted with an additional research fee of $2.00 payable to the Columbia County Tax Commissioner. If a person removing or storing the vehicle has knowledge of facts which reasonably indicate that the vehicle is registered or titled in a certain other state, such person shall check the motor vehicle records of that other state in the attempt to ascertain the identity of the owner of the vehicle.
  • Upon ascertaining the owners of such motor vehicle, the person removing or storing such vehicle shall, within five (5) calendar days, by certified or registered mail or statutory overnight delivery, notify all known owners of the vehicle of the location of such vehicle and of the fact that such vehicle is deemed abandoned and shall be disposed of if not redeemed.

    Abandoned Motor Vehicle – Court Order

  • If the identity of the owners of such motor vehicle cannot be ascertained, the person removing or storing such vehicle shall place an advertisement in a local newspaper of general circulation in the county where such vehicle was obtained or, if there is no newspaper in such county, shall post such advertisement at the county courthouse in such place where other public notices are posted. Such advertisement shall run in the newspaper once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks or shall remain posted at the courthouse for two (2) consecutive weeks. The advertisement shall contain a complete description of the motor vehicle, its license and manufacturer’s vehicle identification numbers, the location from where such vehicle was initially removed, the present location of such vehicle, and the fact that such vehicle is deemed abandoned and shall be disposed of it not redeemed.
  • The Department of Revenue shall provide to the Georgia Crime Information Center all relevant information from sworn statements described in subsection (e) of the code section for a determination of whether the vehicles removed have been entered into the criminal justice information system as stolen vehicles. The results of the determination shall be provided electronically to the Department of Revenue.
  • Any person storing a vehicle under the provisions of this code section shall notify the Motor Vehicle Office if the vehicle is recovered, is claimed by the owner, is determined to be stolen, or for any reason is no longer an abandoned motor vehicle. Such notice shall be provided within seven (7) calendar days of such event.
  • If vehicle information on the abandoned motor vehicle is not in the files of the Department of Revenue, the department may require such other information or confirmation as it determines is necessary or appropriate to determine the identity of the vehicle.
  • Any person who does not provide the notice and information required by this code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as for a misdemeanor, shall not be entitled to any storage fees, shall not be eligible to contract with or serve on a rotation list providing wrecker services for this state or any political subdivision thereof, and shall not be licensed by any municipal authority to provide removal of improperly parked cars under Code Section 44-1-13.
  • Any person who knowingly provides false or misleading information when providing any notice or information as required by this code sections shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as for a misdemeanor.

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