What are you curious about?
The Missoula County Clerk and Treasurer is a combined office incorporating the constitutional offices of the clerk and recorder, treasurer, surveyor, and assessor. Additionally, our office hosts the local registrar appointed by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to maintain vital records. Although our office encompasses a wide array of duties, many of these functions are performed by other departments within Missoula County pursuant to interlocal agreements. Our office primarily handles the collection of property taxes (real, personal, centrally assessed, and mobile homes), motor vehicle registrations and renewals, the issuance of itinerant business licenses (e.g., Christmas tree and fireworks stands), the collection and deposit of funds from other Missoula County departments, the recording and maintaining of real estate records, the filing of certain types of security interests, the maintenance of vital statistics records (e.g., birth certificates, death certificates, and veterans records), and the filing and maintaining of many public records for the County.
Pursuant to an interlocal agreement with the Missoula County Finance Department, most of the accounting and financial reporting obligations of the Treasurer’s office are performed by the Finance Department. Additionally, the Finance Department handles the budgeting responsibilities of the Clerk and Recorder as well as the accounting and financial reporting obligations imposed by statute on the Clerk and Recorder. Missoula County Public Works performs virtually all of the statutory duties imposed on the Surveyor’s office pursuant to an interlocal agreement. Most of those duties are performed by the examining land surveyor as a division of Missoula County Public Works. Pursuant to a revision in Montana law dating back to 1978, the Montana Department of Revenue handles all of the duties formerly assigned to the Missoula County Assessor’s office. Accordingly, we play no official role in the assessment of taxes or ensuring that the information presented on your tax bill is correct, including your billing address.
The seal of Missoula County represents several significant facets of the county. As its artist, DeWayne Arthur Williams, Jr., explained in 2014: “The tree symbolizes the economically important conifers in Missoula County — the Ponderosa pine and the Douglas fir. The roots of the tree refer to the renewable aspect of this resource. The tree also represents several wildernesses within the county and the natural beauty and recreation they provide. The snowflake showcases several ski areas in the county. “A Native American silhouette notes the county’s first inhabitants and their culture. The non-Native (American) silhouette indicates a blending of those cultures through various studies and events at the University of Montana. Below these silhouettes tumbles a chute symbolizing whitewater and abundant angling opportunities in the streams passing through Missoula County. The mountains invite viewers to enjoy the variety of outdoor activities they provide.”
The Vehicle Services Bureau regulates the issuance of vehicle license plates. The following guidelines and procedures apply:
- License plates are issued for a one-year period, by the County Treasurer in the county where owner of the vehicle resides.
- As of 2001, license plates for light vehicles (1 ton or less) of any age may be registered for 24 months (2 years), or a permanent registration may be issued for vehicles 11 years and older. A two year registration costs twice the annual registration, and a permanent registration costs approximately five times the annual registration. Please contact our office for more information.
- A vehicle may be operated without plates for a 40-day grace period, before registration, by displaying a temporary registration permit issued by a dealer; or issued by the County Treasurer in the case of a private sale.
- Anniversary months for renewal of plates are assigned according to the month in which the vehicle is first registered. The anniversary month is identified on the tab on the rear license plate.
- A renewal notice is mailed for passenger vehicles and light trucks on the staggered system. Failure to receive the notice does not relieve the owner of renewal responsibility.
- License plates stay with the owners and may be transferred to another vehicle ONLY when proper application is made through the County Treasurer's office.
For more information on License Plates, please visit the State of Montana's web page on License Plate information.
The Missoula County Registrar is located in the Clerk & Treasurer's Office to help you with:
- Corrections to vital records
- Paternity affidavits & withdrawals
- Burial on private property
- Authorization to transport the deceased
- Disinterment permits
Please contact the Montana Department of Vital Records for additional vital records information.
Montana law requires that if a mobile home is to be moved all taxes, interest, and penalties must be paid in full. You must obtain a tax-paid sticker from the County Treasurer's Office. MCA 15-24-202 explains requirements and exceptions. The County Commissioners will not waive payment of taxes to move a mobile home.
The Montana Title Manual is published by the Vehicle Services Bureau of the Montana Department of Justice and is the most comprehensive guide to registering a vehicle in the State of Montana. The Title Manual is periodically updated, but due to the changing nature of regulations and statutes surrounding motor vehicles, there are sometimes discrepancies between the information in the Title Manual and current statutes and regulations.
Montana requires proof of liability insurance in order to register a motor vehicle, pursuant to MCA 61-3-303(11). The Montana Insurance Verification System (MTVIS) allows the Treasurers Office to verify this electronically in most instances. There will be some instances in which insurance can not be verified with MTIVS, such as commercial policies or out-of-state insurance. In these situations proof of insurance must be provided by the customer before registration can be purchased.
- Required to register permanently: Trailers (including travel trailers), boats, snowmobiles, off highway vehicles, motorcycles, quadricycles.
- Allowed to register permanently if 11 years old or older: Light vehicles, motorhomes, and collector vehicles with qualifying collector plate.
- Not allowed to register permanently: Large trucks, light vehicles and motorhomes 10 years old and newer, vehicles with restricted license plates or exemptions.
- Transfer of ownership: Permanent registrations do not stay with the vehicle. Registration ends whenever there is a change in ownership. In addition to titling fees, new owner(s) must register anew, paying all required taxes and fees. Unless required by vehicle type (TL, SN, OHV, BT, MC), a new owner has the option to register the vehicle on an annual or permanent basis if applicable.
- Late renewals: If an owner wishes to register a qualified vehicle permanently and if the vehicle was not 11 years old in its original renewal period, the vehicle may not be permanently registered until vehicle registration is brought current. Then a second registration may be processed for permanent registration.
- Permanent registration requests beyond typical renewal period: If a customer has already received an annual registration and requests to permanently register before the vehicle's next grace period, the customer may register permanently, but no credit is given for the fees already paid.
For more information on registration fees and requirements, please visit the State of Montana Motor Vehicle Website.
The Missoula County Board of County Commissioners has some authority to authorize refunds or to waive certain taxes, penalty and interest, fees and costs that have been paid to the Missoula County Treasurer's Office. Under limited circumstances, Missoula County will authorize a refund of fees and taxes paid for a motor vehicle transaction. Refunds will only be considered if your renewal was made on or before the end of your renewal period.
If you are requesting a refund for motor vehicle payments made in our office via mail or in person, complete a refund request form. If you are requesting a refund for a motor vehicle payment made online, please use the State of Montana's refund request form and submit to the Helena address listed at the top of the form. Please include all necessary information and write legibly, or type, your request so that it can be promptly reviewed.
Examples of requests that may be approved:
- Motor vehicle was renewed in error after it had been sold or totaled. The sale or accident must have occurred on or before the registration expiration. Also, you must provide proof of sale or proof of insurance that the vehicle was totaled and the original tab and registration. You must submit your request within 30 days after the date it was renewed.
Examples of requests that will not be approved:
- Motor vehicle was sold or totaled in a wreck after the registration was renewed.
- You intend to skip registration for a year but register prior to the end of the renewal period.
- Motor vehicle falls under the Montana lemon law statute, MCA 61-4-503.
If you paid to use a credit/debit card or electronic check, the processing fee will not be refunded for any reason. This is an expense incurred by Missoula County.
Example: If your tab indicates your registration period is June, your registration actually expires on May 31. You are given a 30 day grace period to complete the renewal. If you register your vehicle prior to the end of the renewal period you must register for the current year.
Montana law provides that certain owners of motor vehicles are exempt from taxes. Please note, if you qualify for any of the following exemptions you must bring the required proof with you at the time you register your vehicle or renew your registration. Also, you must bring proof of exemption every time you register or renew your vehicle. Must have exemption at time of renewal. Refunds will not be approved.
- Military. Montana residents on active duty stationed outside Montana are exempt per MCA 61-3-456. Affidavit form (MV53) available from the Montana Department of Justice.
- Non-profit. Need proof that organization is exempt. Contact the Montana Department of Revenue for process.
- Tribal. Letter from Tribal Office indicating owner is on tribal roll and lives on reservation.
The taxable value for passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles previously registered in Montana is based on the manufacturers’ suggested retail price, depreciated according to a set schedule as the vehicle ages. The County Option Tax is calculated at one half percent of the taxable value of the vehicle.
For more information on registration fees and requirements, please visit the State of Montana Motor Vehicle Website.
Tax Due Dates: Real property taxes are due on or before the last day in November and May each year (if that day falls on a weekend or holiday, than the due date is the next business day), unless you have applied for and received certain forms of taxpayer assistance through the Montana Department of Revenue. You have the options of making the payment online, in person at the Treasurer's Office, or by mail. If paying by mail the payment must be postmarked on or before the due date. If payment is not posted in the Treasurer's Office or postmarked on or before the due date you will be assessed penalty and interest per MCA 15-16-102.
Please note: Real property tax assessment notices will not be forwarded. It is your responsibility to notify the Montana Department of Revenue if you want to change the address to where your assessment is mailed. Notice must be received sufficiently in advance of when the statements are prepared and mailed.
Refunds: Refunds may be approved if the Montana Department of Revenue determines the assessment or appraisal of your property was in error (no more than 5 years), the Montana Department of Revenue made an error on the tax bill, or you have proof you submitted a change of address that was not entered into the system. A refund may be approved if a special district (e.g. rural fire, refuse, or utility district) made an error in assessing a fee.
The Missoula County Board of County Commissioners has the authority to authorize refunds or to waive certain taxes, penalty and interest, fees, and costs that have been paid to the Missoula County Treasurer's Office under limited circumstances per 15-16-603, MCA. Please submit a refund request form to the Treasurer's Office.
Montana law does not allow the following requests to be approved for refund or waiver of penalty and interest:
"Due to a family emergency (or finances) I was not able to send payment on time."
"I dropped my payment in a Post Office receptacle."
"Bill was sent to the wrong address."
"I was out of town and didn't get the bill."
"I thought the mortgage company was paying the bill."
Tax exemptions: Montana law provides that certain categories of real property owners are exempt from taxation. Please note: the exemptions do not apply to fees, such as SID's, that are imposed. Please contact the Montana Department of Revenue to determine if your situation qualifies for tax exemption.
Under certain situations Montana taxes personal property. If you are required by law to report personal property you must complete a form available from the Montana Department of Revenue. If you do not submit a completed form to the Montana Department of Revenue, the County Commissioners will not consider a request for a refund or waiver.
Check Your Deed!
- Add a return name and address in the upper left-hand corner (may be within margins)?
- Name the sellers?
- Name the buyers?
- Place the buyers’ address in the body of the deed?
- Add a legal description from a previous deed?*
- Have the sellers’ signatures notarized?*
- Complete a Realty Transfer Certificate?
Does it fit?
Margins should be:
- 3 inches from top of first page
- 1 inch from bottom of first page
- 1/2 inch from sides of first page
- 1/2 inch from all sides on subsequent pages
* Please obtain legal descriptions from previous deeds NOT taxes. Contact us if you require assistance locating this information.
* If you are signing on behalf of another individual, a trust, or a company, please state the capacity in which you are signing and the name of the individual or entity represented. Acceptable notary blocks are available from the Montana Secretary of State.
Let us look it over! E-mail deeds to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a pre-recording review.
The recording fee for documents meeting the following standards is $7 per page. The fee for non-standard documents is $7 per page and $10 per document.
(1) Unless accompanied by the appropriate fee required in 7-4-2637, a document submitted for recording must:
(a) be legibly printed or typed in blue or black ink on white paper that is either 8 1/2 x 11 inches or 8 1/2 x 14 inches in size;
(b) provide the names of the parties to the conveyance on the first or second page of any document with more than one page;
(c) provide a description of the property if the document conveys an interest in real property;
(d) have all signatures, initials, dates, or handwriting in blue or black ink;
(e) except as provided in subsection (1)(f) and except for page numbers, initials, or other designations, have margins that are clear of all markings in the following dimensions:
(i) at least 3 inches at the top of the first page and at least 1 inch at the top of the second and any subsequent pages;
(ii) at least 1 inch on the bottom of each page;
(iii) at least 1/2 inch on the sides of each page; and
(f) include the name and mailing address of the person to whom the document is to be returned in the upper left-hand corner of the first page between the 1/2-inch side margins of each document submitted and may include legibly printed or typed transactional information.
(2) (a) Except as provided in subsection (2)(b), only documents submitted for recording and filing that conform to the provisions of this section are considered standard documents for the purposes of 7-4-2637.
(b) Documents that are acknowledged as having been executed prior to April 28, 2007, must be accepted for recording and considered standard documents, regardless of whether they conform to the provisions of this section.
(3) (a) An acknowledgment by a notary is exempt from the color and margin requirements of this section.
(b) Page numbers, the name and mailing address of the person to whom the document is to be returned, and other administrative information or designations may appear in the margins.
(c) If the notarial seal is made by impression of an embosser, the seal is exempt from the margin requirements of this section.
(4) An officially certified court or other government document, whether from an in-state or out-of-state office, is exempt from the provisions of this section.
The Missoula County Clerk & Treasurer's Office currently supports the submission of electronic documents through the following E-Recording vendors:
- Phone: 866-652-0111
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 903-563-6752
- Email: Mike@GOePN.com
- Phone: 877-272-5250
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Simplifile is waiving first year annual fees for new e-recording submitters while public access is restricted (a per document fee will still apply). Contact us at email@example.com or (406) 258-4752 for more information.
- Phone: 800-460-5657
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact our office for additional fee information.
Document Type Fees
Deeds & Mortgages
$7 per page
Liens & Lien Releases
Notice of Right to Claim a Lien
plus $0.50 per lot up to 100 lots
plus $0.25 per lot over 100 lots
plus $0.50 cents per lot
$1 will be charged for each page of a document required to be recorded with a subdivision, townsite plat, or certificate of survey.
$0.50 for the first page
$0.25 for each additional page of the same document
Please make checks payable to Clerk and Recorder
- Missoula County accepts documents with technology based notarizations when they meet the legal requirements of the state in which the notarization is commissioned. To verify the validity of an electronic notarization, remote online notarization, or remote notarization, please consult the secretary of state's office or statute in the state where the notary resides.