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Used Car Taxes and Fees

Used Car Taxes and Fees

Whenever you are thinking about purchasing a used car, either from a dealership or a private seller, you should be prepared to spend more than just the asking price.

You may need to pay a sales or use tax on your purchase, registration, and title transfer fees to the appropriate DMV agency, and vehicle inspection/smog check fees.

The extra costs that come along with a used car purchase make it even more important to make sure you are getting the right price. Before you spend a dime, be confident that you are dealing with an honest seller and that the used vehicle you have your eye on is as good as it seems.

You can order a vehicle history report/VIN check to make sure you are really getting what you are paying for. Prior accidents, damage and any DMV back-fees may be useful bargaining points to lower the seller's asking price.

Be Prepared for Additional Fees

To prevent any surprise fees when budgeting for a used vehicle you must acknowledge all real and potential costs.

Common fees and costs you'll be responsible for include:

  • Car insurance.
  • Title transfers.
  • Vehicle registration.
  • Vehicle inspections, smog checks, or emissions testing.

Before you buy a used car, you may want to shop around and compare auto insurance rates to make sure you'll be able to find a package that you can afford.

Visit our Car Insurance Center to begin looking for an auto insurance policy that works for you.

You should also consider visiting some of our pages about title transfers and vehicle registrations to become familiar with some of the common fees in your state.

In addition to car insurance, registration and maintenance, additional fees may also include used car fees and taxes.

Since the amount varies by state, used car fees and taxes are easy to overlook and can create unwanted budget bombshells for unsuspecting buyers. This, for example, is especially true in North Carolina, which charges an annual property tax on all vehicles.

Calculate Used Car Sales Tax

To avoid surprises in the final cost, calculate your used car sales tax before signing your name to a car deal. This will provide you with a concise cost estimate, allowing you to clearly determine if your targeted vehicle fits your budget. Plus, knowing your estimated cost will help alert you to any possible hidden, last-second fees thrown in by the seller.

Your taxes may be based upon your vehicle's weight or the purchase price. The specifics will vary from state to state.

Some states offer a sales tax and fee calculator or chart that can help to give you an idea of what you'll need to pay. You can also contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Secretary of State (SOS), Department of Revenue (DOR), Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), or your local county clerk for more information about the specific fees and taxes that may apply to your used vehicle purchase.

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