Car Tax by State
SELECT STATE LINK AFTER REVIEWING LINK TIP TO FIND TOTAL VEHICLE SALES TAX RATES AND SOURCE DATA
United States vehicle sales tax varies by state, and often by counties, cities, municipalities, and localities within each state.
Car tax is paid based on the state where the car is first registered, so if you live in California and buy a car in Oregon, you will have to pay when you register the car back in your home state.
Within states that have different car tax rates for different cities, you pay the car tax rate based on your home address.
Private party sales within most states* are not exempt from car tax, but unlike dealer transactions the seller does not collect the car tax; the buyer pays it upon registering the vehicle.
Almost all states levy car tax based on the agreed sales price minus a credit for the trade-in vehicle's agreed value.* Trade-ins must be registered or titled in the purchaser's name in the state of trade to receive credit.
American states work together to ensure that consumers pay the proper car tax by state. If you live in the United States and you don't want to pay car tax, then you simply must move to a state that allows exemption. It is unlawful to attempt to avoiding paying car tax by state otherwise.
If you buy a motor vehicle out-of-state and initially register it in your home state, then you should not pay sales tax at the point of purchase, but instead, when registering back home; otherwise you run the risk of paying car tax twice, depending on each state's car tax rules.
American Indians living on a reservation are exempt from car sales tax as long as the motor vehicle is taken possession of on the reservation; meaning American Indians may buy a car at the auto dealership, but the salesman must drive the vehicle to the reservation and document the delivery for the transaction to be exempt from car tax.
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