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I bought a 2007 Toyota Rav 4 while stationed in Guam. I paid no tax on the vechile since this is the way things are in Guam. However, i have heard that i have to pay tax when i bring it back to my homestate and register it? Whats the deal with this and is there any way around it. I own the car outright if that makes a difference? Thank you for all your help.

disgruntled tax payer
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When you register the car, your county/state will charge "use tax" ie sales tax.
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thats bull...
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I bought a 2007 Toyota Rav 4 while stationed in Guam. I paid no tax on the vechile since this is the way things are in Guam. However, i have heard that i have to pay tax when i bring it back to my homestate and register it? Whats the deal with this and is there any way around it.

It depends on the state laws of your home state.

Some states require a flat fee for initial vehicle registrations. Others require that you pay a tax that varies, often based on either the value or the age of the car.

It doesn't matter if you are bringing the car from Guam, from Nevada or from Florida. If you move to another state, the new state generally wants a tax or a fee to register the car for the first time.

If you are still serving in the military, you may not have to register the car in your new state, especially if you claim Guam as your home. But if you are moving back to the state that you claim as your home, you will probably have to register it in your new state.

I own the car outright if that makes a difference?

Not usually. If you owed money on the car, and the title documentation was held at the bank who serviced your loan, you may be allowed to let the title remain in the previous place of residence. So that may save you a title fee, for now. But you will still probably be required to register the car in your new domicile. And if you want to sell the car, having it titled in a different jurisdicion than it's registered in may result in additional paperwork and/or fees.

AJ
- has lived in 3 different states in the past 10 years, and has had to pay several fees/taxes for the initial registration for a car.
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thats bull...

Take it up with the State Legislature and Governor of the state to see if you can get it changed. Otherwise, it's the law, not bull...

AJ
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Whats the deal with this and is there any way around it.

That's a state-specific question. They all handle this a little bit differently.

What state do you plan to bring the car to?

--Peter
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I do not know about your definition of bull. In New York and New Jersey it is called an "end use tax" that is the difference between the sales tax you paid elsewhere and the sales tax you would have paid had you bought it in the state where you register the car. Technically, they can do this for anything, even a toothbrush, but they do not persue it except for very large items (cars, boats, ...).

If by bull, you mean this is a bad idea, I agree with you. It seems to be in restraint of trade among the states and unconstitutional. But this has been through the courts and found legal.
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It is actually a bit more complicated than most posters here make it out to be. I specialize is a different sub-sector of state sales tax law.

All states want to prevent you from buying a car in state X with no/low sales tax and then immediately registering it in their state. Otherwise there is nothing to prevent everyone from doing that.

So when you register a newly purchased car from another state, the state charges you its sales tax. It then gives you a credit for any recently paid sales tax on the same car. For example, on Monday you buy a car in State X and pay $1,000 in sales tax. A week later you go to State Z and it has a $1,200 sales tax on the same purchase. State Z will give you a $1,000 credit for its tax due. That way everything is to balance out.

The kicker comes when a bonafide resident of State X with no sales tax moves to State Y with a newly purchased car.

All states basically state if you were bonafide resident of State X with no sales tax and (1) recently purchased car and (2) then moved to State Y it will not charge you its state sales tax. The kicker is that each state has a different length of time. For example, California used to have (still has?) a 90-day requirement. You must have taken possession of the car out-of-state, been an out-of-state resident, etc. before you bring the car into California. Meet the requirements and there is no sales/use tax owed.

Hope this helps.

SJ
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I think some of the other posters may have gotten buying a car from out of state mixed up with moving to a new state with a car that you already own.

A few years ago I was moving from Oregon which had no sales tax to Georgia that has a sales tax. Unfortunately my car in Oregon did not have air conditioning (Yes these exist!) and there was no way that I would be in Georgia with out A/C. This meant that I needed to buy a new car.

In researching it before the move, since I had not moved yet and was an Oregon resident, if I bought a car there and got it titled and registered in Oregon then I could move to Georgia and get it registered there without paying sales tax (or anything similar). When I registered it I of course would have to pay the normal annual “tag fee” of a couple of hundred dollars to get my license plates.

If I moved to Georgia then bought a car back in Oregon, I would have had to pay the Georgia sales tax when I registered the car.

Getting the car registered and getting the Oregon license plates would have taken several weeks. The additional time and expense of moving the car across the country made buying the car in Georgia and paying the sales tax a better choice.

My wife’s car from Oregon was several years old. We were able to register it here and only had to pay the normal annual registration fees.

Greg
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I think some of the other posters may have gotten buying a car from out of state mixed up with moving to a new state with a car that you already own.

There are some states that charge you an additional fee the first time you register your car in that state, even if it's one that you have owned for several years.

Again, as I said in my original post - the OP needs to look at the laws in the state they are moving to.

AJ
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...The kicker comes when a bonafide resident of State X with no sales tax moves to State Y with a newly purchased car.....

For what it is worth, this is very important for people who decide to sell their house and live in an R.V. full time.

I have heard that retired people buying expensive R.V.’s sometimes move to Oregon for long enough to establish residency so they can buy the new R.V. and pay no sales tax in addition to very low registration fee. Depending on their situation, they may then move to a state with no income tax and establish their residency there.

Greg
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Again, as I said in my original post - the OP needs to look at the laws in the state they are moving to.

Sort of. It's different for active military because they can choose the new state or their home state(or maybe even another state).

rad
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Sort of. It's different for active military because they can choose the new state or their home state(or maybe even another state).

An exception for military personnel was also noted in my original post.

AJ
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This helps alot. Thank you for your reply.
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There are some states that charge you an additional fee the first time you register your car in that state, even if it's one that you have owned for several years.

There may also be a personal property tax assessed. My roommate registered her car in a new state last year, having owned it over a year in previous state. She had to have it inspected ($$), new plates ($), "use tax" ($$$), and THEN she got a personal property tax bill from the county ($$$). Neither of us had ever lived in a state or county that assessed personal property tax. She incorrectly assumed it was a duplicate of the use tax bill, as it was within $10 of the same amount, and ignored it. Then the county assessed a late fee on top of the tax bill.

Kasha
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