Effective October 1, 2006:
State law changes the method to calculate motor vehicle sales and use tax due when you buy a used vehicle. The tax will continue to be due when you title and register the vehicle at the county tax office. A purchaser must pay the tax within 30 calendar days from the date of purchase or the date the vehicle was brought into Texas for use to avoid penalties.
Estimate Tax Calculation For Buying A Used Motor Vehicle:
How much tax is due?
If you buy the vehicle from a licensed dealer, the tax is 6.25% of the sales price. If you buy from a private party, such as a friend or relative, the tax is 6.25% of:
- the sales price, if you paid 80% or more of the vehicle’s standard presumptive value (SPV);
- 80% of the vehicle’s SPV, if you paid less than that amount; or
- the certified appraised value, if you paid less than 80% of the vehicle’s SPV and you get a certified appraisal.
What is the Standard Presumptive Value (SPV)?
The law requires the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) to determine and publish a SPV data base for used vehicles. Check the TxDMV Web site at www.TxDMV.gov.
My vehicle may be valued less than the calculated Standard Presumptive Value (SPV). Do I have an option?
Yes. You may obtain a certified appraisal on the Texas State Comptroller’s “Used Motor Vehicle Certified Appraisal form” (form 14-128) and submit it when you apply for title, within 30 days of the sale date. The signature on the form must be original. (no photocopy)The certified appraisal form 14-128 must be completed and signed by one of the following:
- Licensed Dealer
Appraisal fee: $100 - $300 (cars/light trucks)
- Licensed Insurance Adjuster
Appraisal fee: determined by the adjuster
For details, please refer to the instructions on the form 14-128.
I just bought/sold a car. How do I transfer the title?
- The seller must write the purchaser's name and address, the odometer reading and date of sale in the title assignment.
Purchaser and seller must each sign both the title and the title application form (form 130-U).
Both signed documents must be given to the purchaser, along with the registration receipt.
The purchaser must then go to any Harris County Tax Office location and file the title application.
You may also mail the application to:
Ann Harris Bennett, Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar
Attn: Title Mail Dept.
P.O. Box 4089, Houston, Texas 77210-4089
If presented in person or by mail the owners photo ID is required. The ID must contain a unique identifier, expiration date, date of birth and expiration date. Proof of current insurance will be required in the new purchasers name. If the vehicle was purchased over 30 days ago insurance must be provided in the new purchasers name on the vehicle. If the vehicle was last registered in a non-affected (attainment) county, proof of emissions-testing will be required. Please see Emissions-testing regulations.
- The title fee is $33, plus motor-vehicle sales tax (6.25 percent).
There is also a $2.50 transfer of a current registration fee. If the license is not current,
there may be a registration fee. Please note sales tax is paid on the actual price or 80% of the Standard Presumptive Value -- whichever is the higher amount.
SPV values can be found on the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles website.
- When you purchase a vehicle from a licensed Texas dealer located in Harris County, the dealer is required to complete all the paperwork necessary and file the documents with the Harris County Tax Office. The dealer and general public are required to file the documents with the Harris County Tax Office within 30 calendar days of the date you purchased the vehicle. Additional penalties will be collected if the paperwork is filed after the 30 calendar days.
Contact the Comptroller’s office at 1-800-252-1382 or your local county tax office for more information. For more details, see Comptroller 's website, County Procedures for Standard Presumptive Value and Used Motor Vehicles.
Publication 96-1220, explains the law and its provisions and is available on the Comptroller’s Window on State Government at www.window.state.tx.us