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When you pay off the car, the lender/lienholder will "sign-off" on your title. If you look on the title certificate, there usually is a place for that. It is your responsibility to then take that document to the department of motor vehicles and have them issue a new certificate, without a lienholder. If your state charges sales tax, they will collect it at that time. Until you take care of this, you are the registered owner, but the lender is the lienholder or legal owner. It's not complicated, just make sure you are meticulous about what you are doing, and keep copies of everything. Be accurate about the VIN and milage...mistakes there will haunt you later. Good Luck!
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