Buying and Selling FAQs in South Dakota

What is South Dakota's Wheel Tax?

Initiated in 1986 to help subsidize bridge and highway maintenance, you pay the South Dakota wheel tax when you are registering your vehicle with the South Dakota Department of Revenue (DOR). As the name implies, you pay a certain amount for each tire, depending on your vehicle's weight class and county.

NOTE: Only some SD counties mandate the wheel tax. Please contact your local county South Dakota DOR for more information.

If you've recently purchased a vehicle or if you are thinking about making a purchase, along with the asking price and the wheelage tax, you should consider:

  • The South Dakota DMV registration fees you'll owe.
  • Any titling transfer fees.
  • The cost of your car insurance policy.
  • The cost of a vehicle inspection/emissions test.
  • State sales tax and any local taxes that may apply.

Additionally, if you want to avoid surprise maintenance costs after buying a used car, you should think about ordering a vehicle history report/VIN check. The vehicle history report will generally provide you with information about a vehicle's:

  • Previous owners.
  • Past accidents.
  • Major repairs/damages.

For more information, please visit our Vehicle History Reports page.

Do I have to pay an excise tax every time I register my car in South Dakota?

No. You pay the state's excise tax (4% of the vehicle's purchase price) only when registering a vehicle for the first time after a recent purchase/change of ownership.

Can I import a vehicle into South Dakota for the lone purpose of repair or modification?

Yes you can, but you won't be allowed to operate it in South Dakota under any circumstances. Upon entering the vehicle into the the United States you will need to provide customs with a completed Declaration Form (EPA Form 3520), making sure to declare code "G," and you will need to post a bond. For more information, please contact the EPA or your local South Dakota Department of Revenue office.

What certifications are required if I want to import a vehicle to South Dakota from another country?

To meet National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards, the vehicle's certification label should include the manufacturing date, name of manufacturer, and the following line: "This vehicle conforms to all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) in effect on the date of manufacture shown above." This label must be attached to the driver-side hinge-pillar or the door-latch post or the door-edge adjacent to the door-latch post.

Are there are any restrictions I should know about if I want to buy my car in Canada?

Yes. The vehicle cannot be reconstructed or be deemed as salvage and you can only bring it over the border if it is for personal use. In other words, you can't bring it into South Dakota with the intent of selling it.

When crossing customs, you'll need to present a letter from the vehicle's original manufacturer, composed on the manufacturer's letterhead, listing the vehicle's identification number and confirming that it conforms with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

For more information, please contact the South Dakota Department of Revenue.


EPA Form 3520
Declaration Form
Submit this form to U.S. Customs if you're importing a vehicle from out-of-country unless the vehicle is new, directly from the manufacturer, and has EPA certification.
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