Titles & Licensing


The Treasurer’s Office titles and licenses all new and used motor vehicles, motorcycles, all terrain vehicles (ATVs), trailers, snowmobiles, and watercraft in Lawrence County. They also release and notarize motor vehicle liens and assist taxpayers in applying for duplicate titles, temporary, 30-day commercial, snowmobile, and handicapped parking permits.

The Treasurer’s office does not sell the ATV trail permits that are required to ride the trails within the Black Hills National Forest. They can be obtained in person at the Spearfish Ranger District, via phone by calling 605-642-4622, or the Custer Ranger District by calling 605-673-9200 which also handles the applications by mail. For more information and application please visit the USDA’s page.


Vehicle owners have 45 days from the date of purchase of a new, used, or leased motor vehicle to transfer title into their name. This includes all motor vehicles, motorcycles, all terrain vehicles (ATVs), trailers, snowmobiles, and watercraft. Original title or MSO/MCO and bill of sale are always required and, when needed, any other documentation given to them by the purchaser to process a clear title (ex: lien release, dealer reassignment, odometer statement, etc.). Photo ID is always required. If the vehicle owners do not have a South Dakota driver’s license or ID card, they must show their current out of state photo ID and physical proof of their Social Security number for every person listed on the title. 

A 4% excise tax is imposed on all vehicle transactions unless exempt. The excise tax is based on the purchase price of the motor vehicle listed on the bill of sale, purchase order, or sales contract, including any assessed document fees, extended warranties, service contracts, rebates and all other taxable charges. Credit is given for trade-ins if the vehicle is in the owner’s name at time of transfer. The amount on the bill of sale must reflect fair market value or it will be booked out through NADA and may be subject to additional tax. If the vehicle was purchased and tax paid in another state within 2 years of transferring title to South Dakota, proof of tax paid must be supplied which can include a receipt from the state, county, or dealer where it was paid, or the dealer can complete Form 1004, Out-of-State Dealer Tax Assessment. There is a $10 title fee and a $10 fee to note any lienholder. Penalties and interest will be assessed for late transfers.

In regards to titles being transferred or interstate titled from another state, South Dakota gives reciprocity tax credit if at least 4% motor vehicle excise tax has been paid in the former state. Proof of tax paid is required when an individual transfers a title that is already in their name in another state when the title issue date is within two years of the current dateThe following states charge less than 4% and vehicles will therefore be booked out in NADA and charged the following tax percentage: 

  • Alabama 2%
  • Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire 4%
  • Oregon 4% for title issued before January 2018, 3.5% for title issued after January 2018
  • North Carolina 1%
  • South Carolina - tax paid on difference if tax owed to SD is over $500 (based on 5% rate)

You must supply us with your out of state title in order to title and license a vehicle in South Dakota. If you have a lien against the vehicle, we will need to request the original paper title from your lienholder. You will need to fill out the request form in full and return it to our office. We will then fax it to the lienholder and contact you when the title arrives in our office. At that point, we will be able to transfer the title to South Dakota and issue license plates. The form can be downloaded with this link:  Lienholder Title Request Form


Registration is on a staggered licensing system based on the first letter of the owner’s last name. (See schedule below) All vehicles with tax due at the time of transfer must register the vehicle when transferring title. When a vehicle is traded in, vehicle owner should keep their license plates from that trade in. If a purchase is made on a new or used vehicle while the tag on those plates is still valid, the old plates can be used and owner will get prorated credit for registration already paid.

Renewal Notice

The Motor Vehicle Division mails out a renewal notice listing all vehicles in the owners name that are ready to renew within 90 days of the expiration date. Notices are sent to the individual whose name is listed first on the title. If an individual prefers, the state can send an email instead of mailing the renewal notice. A valid email address will need to be supplied to the Treasurer’s office. The owner has the option to renew online through the State using the South Dakota Customized Automated Registration System, mailing the card and payment to the Lawrence County Treasurer, or coming in person to the Treasurer’s Office (must show ID). Vehicles can also be renewed at any self service kiosk the state has set up across South Dakota. The locations are listed on the customer’s renewal notice. The owner must have a valid South Dakota driver's license or ID card in order to use the online renewal site or the kiosk.

Spearfish has 1 location:

  • Spearfish Rec & Aquatics Center                                                                                                                                                                         122 Recreation Lane (during business hours)

Rapid City has 3 locations:

  • Pennington County Administration Building (during business hours)
    130 Kansas City Street
    Suite 250
  • Rapid City DOR Office (available 24 hours)                                                                                                                                                          221 Mall Drive
  • Driver's License Exam Office (during business hours)                                                                                                                                         1301 E Catron Blvd

Motor Vehicle Kiosk

Renewal Payment Options

We accept cash, personal check from South Dakota banks, cashier’s check, money orders, or credit card through Official Payments or Forte.

When you pay by check, you authorize us to use its information to process an electronic funds transfer (EFT). When we use information from your check to make an electronic fund transfer, funds may be withdrawn from you account as soon as the same day you make your payment.

License Renewal System Annual Schedule

  • January: A, B
  • February: C. D. E
  • March: F, G, J
  • May: H, I, O
  • June: K, L
  • July: M, N
  • August: P, Q, R
  • September: S
  • November: T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z