programs Criminal Investigation Division

Motor Vehicle Sales Tax Cases

The Tax Code (Section 152.003) authorizes the Comptroller to supervise the collection of motor vehicle sales taxes (MVSTs) and to make rules for determining the taxable value of motor vehicles. Purchasers pay taxes on motor vehicle sales to their local county tax assessor-collectors, generally through automobile dealers.

Crimes and Punishment

The Tax Code (Chapter 152, Subchapter F) also sets forth MVST violations; two of the offenses are felonies punishable by fines and/or imprisonment:

Failure to Remit Taxes Collected (Sec. 152.104)
Dealers or persons acting in that capacity may be criminally liable for failing to remit collected taxes to county tax-assessor collectors. The penalty range is determined by the amount of tax withheld. Dealers may face felony charges. If $1,500 or more is not remitted; if the amount in question is $200,000 or more, they may be charged with a first-degree felony punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison.

Signing a False Statement or Certificate (Sec. 152.101)
It is a third-degree felony to sign required statements knowing that they are false in any material fact.

Other Consequences

Convictions may result in the suspension or revocation of a motor vehicle retail seller's permit (Tax Code, Sec. 152.068). Once a permit has been revoked, the Comptroller's office may not issue a new permit unless satisfied that the former permitholder will comply with motor vehicle sales tax laws and applicable Comptroller rules.


Motor vehicle sales tax crimes are prosecuted in the counties in which they occur.