What to Do when Exported Vehicles Return

Most dealers know how to process sales of a vehicle that will be registered someplace other than Texas, whether that place is Mexico, New Mexico, or New Zealand. Fewer know what to do when that exported vehicle returns to Texas. Can the dealer simply place the car in its inventory and proceed with selling? Not so fast.
The Export Sales rule, 43 Texas Administrative Code 215.147, sets out the requirements for dealers handling a sale to a foreign buyer. In summary:
  1. Either collect MV sales tax or get a Comptroller's exemption form signed;
  2. Obtain the buyer's photo identification issued by the jurisdiction where the buyer resides;
  3. Stamp title “For Export Only” and give it to the buyer. Title must accompany vehicles for Customs;
  4. For a retail sale, issue a buyer's tag and collect he $5 e-tag fee;
  5. For a wholesale transaction, inform your buyer that they need a tag from their country if they plan on driving the vehicle back.
If a retail buyer returns an exported vehicle to Texas, several things need to happen in order for a dealer to sell it again. In the best case scenario, Customs will complete and provide you with an entry, CBP Form 7501. You'll receive the Form 7501 after you provide Customs with EPA Form 3520-1, DOT form HS-7, and the original title.
Question: Wait, when I stamped the title “For Export Only” I gave it to the buyer. Where is the title now?
Answer: When the vehicle was first exported, Customs required that the title accompany the vehicle. Once Customs stamps the title, it is returned to the owner. If no one can find the original title, then a dealer will have to obtain a bonded title in order to sell the vehicle.
The dealer will take the vehicle for a 68-A Auto Theft VIN Inspection. After the vehicle is cleared, then the dealer can prepare the vehicle for sale.
The worst case scenario is that Customs stamps the HS-7 declaration form as “Not for Title or Sale in the US.” If this happens, Customs will have to provide the dealer with a written statement, on CBP letterhead, that indicates why the vehicle cannot be titled and registered. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles will review that statement, along with the VIN inspection. Assuming there are no issues with either, the dealer would be allowed to apply for a bonded title.

The process of importing a vehicle to the United States is long, but necessary. Do call us here at TIADA if you have any questions.


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