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Recreational Vehicles

How to register boats, all-terrain vehicles, off-road vehicles, dirt bikes, and snowmobiles

Topics Covered in this Section


Applications and Forms


Purchasing ATVs & Snowmobiles

New or Used From a Dealer

If you purchase a new or used snowmobile or ATV from a dealer, then the registration is to be completed by the dealer.

Sale Between Private Parties (Previously Registered)

Iowa Registered:

  • Registration does NOT need to be current to transfer ownership but a $5 penalty may apply 
  • Registration receipt
  • Title signed by seller*
  • Bill of Sale signed by seller listing purchase price. Sales Tax will be collected on the purchase price.
  • Application for Registration (obtained at local County Recorder’s office)

*If the Title has a notation regarding a lien, the lien MUST be released by the County Recorder listed on the title.

Registered Out of State:

  • Need Registration and/or Title from the previous state signed by seller
  • Bill of Sale signed by seller listing purchase price. Sales Tax will be collected on the purchase price.
  • Application for Registration (obtained at local County Recorder’s office)

Never Registered in Any State

Contact the Boone County Recorder at 515-433-0514 or the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at 515-281-5918 for instructions.

*A used vehicle in possession of a Snow/ATV dealer when registration expired will NOT pay the $5.00 penalty fee.

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is subject to change by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  If you have any questions, please contact us or the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

ATV & Snowmobile Registration Renewal

Snowmobiles, ATVs, ORVs, and ORMs are renewed every year. 


Purchasing Boats or Personal Watercraft

Any vessel that is 17 ft in length or longer and/or carries a lien will need to be titled. The exceptions are canoes, kayaks, and inflatable vessels regardless of length. 

Casual Sales (Between Individuals)

See below if purchasing from a dealer.

Used Vessel – Registered in Iowa

Registration does NOT need to be current to transfer ownership, but a $5 penalty may apply.

Documentation Required:

  • Registration signed by seller
  • Title, if previously titled, signed on the back by seller*
  • Bill of Sale signed by seller listing purchase price of VESSEL ONLY. Iowa State sales tax will be collected on the purchase price.
  • Application for Registration (Obtained at Recorder’s office).

*If the Title has a notation regarding a lien, the lien MUST be released by the County Recorder’s office listed on the title.

Used Vessel – Registered in Another State

Documentation Required:

  • Registration signed by the seller, if required by the previous state
  • Title, if previously titled, signed by seller
  • Bill of Sale signed by seller listing purchase price of VESSEL ONLY.  Sales tax will be collected on the purchase price.
  • Application for Registration (Obtained at County Recorder’s office)

Used vessels previously registered in another state will pay the fees listed for “New Vessel Fees” on reverse side, prorated by date of registration, plus any penalty, title or lien fees.

A Vessel Never Registered in Any State

Contact the Boone County Recorder at 515-433-0514 or the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at 515-281-5918 for instructions.

New Vessel From a Dealer

Documents will be provided by the dealer, which includes:

  • MCO/MSO – Manufacturers Certificate/Statement of Origin (if required)
  • Bill of Sale – Must show the amount of sales tax collected by dealer or sales tax will be collected by the County Recorder’s office.
  • Application for Registration
  • Fees are based on the date of registration and length

Used Vessel From Dealer

Registered in Iowa:
Registration does NOT need to be current to transfer ownership.

Documentation Required:

  • Registration signed by seller
  • Title, if previously titled, signed on the back by seller*
  • Bill of Sale listing tax collected by the dealer
  • Application for Registration

*If the Title has a notation regarding a lien, the lien MUST be released by the County Recorder’s office listed on the title.

*If registration was expired when the dealer took possession of the boat there will be a $5.00 penalty added to the fees listed above.

Used Vessel From Dealer Registered in Another State:

Documentation Required:

  • Registration signed by the seller, if required by the previous state
  • Title, if previously titled, signed by seller
  • Bill of Sale listing tax collected by the dealer
  • Application for Registration

Used vessels previously registered in another state will pay the fees listed for “New Vessel Fees” prorated by date of registration, plus any title or lien fees.

Boat Registration Renewal

Boats are renewed every three years. There is a $5.00 penalty charged on boats that are renewed after the renewal deadline. 


State Sales Tax Information

  • Sales of boats, other watercraft, and off-road vehicles in Iowa are subject to the state sales tax of 6 percent plus local option taxes if any. This applies to sales by Individuals, as well as, dealers.
  • Anyone purchasing a boat from an individual should obtain a receipt or bill of sale that shows the cost of the boat. The buyer will then pay the sales tax on the cost of the boat to the County Recorder.
  • If a trailer is purchased with the boat, the 5% motor vehicle use tax is paid to the County Treasurer.

Registration Decals & User Permit Displays

Snowmobiles

Display the registration decal on the windshield of the snowmobile so that the decal is clearly visible. If no windshield decal shall be affixed to the area of the hood near the headlight so that the decal is clearly visible. All snowmobiles regardless of residency status are required to display an IDNR User Permit — this too needs to be displayed on the windshield of the machine so it’s clearly visible.

ATVs

The decal shall be affixed to the rear of the ATV so that the decal is clearly visible.

ORMs

The decal shall be affixed to the yoke of the steering column so that it is clearly visible without obstructing the vehicle identification number.

ORVs

The decal shall be affixed to the rear of the vehicle so that the decal is clearly visible.


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The mission of Boone County is to be accountable to its citizens in providing innovative and high-quality government services in an economical, fair, professional, and courteous manner to enhance and protect the health, welfare, and safety of those who live and work in Boone County.