Private-Party Purchases and Standard Presumptive Values

Standard presumptive value (SPV) is a value of a motor vehicle as determined by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV), based on an appropriate regional guidebook of a nationally recognized motor vehicle value guide service. Values are based on the average sales price of private-party sales of used vehicles sold regionally. The condition of the vehicle is not used to determine the SPV.

SPV applies to motor vehicles purchased in private-party sales that do not involve a licensed motor vehicle dealer. This includes sales between family members, neighbors and others.

The SPV calculation does not apply to any of the following:

  • vehicles sold by dealers
  • salvage vehicles
  • abandoned vehicles
  • vehicles sold through storage or mechanic's liens
  • vehicles eligible for classic car and classic truck license plates
  • vehicles transferred in even trades
  • vehicles transferred via eligible gift
  • vehicles sold by Texas governmental entities or the United States

A used vehicle's SPV is available on the TxDMV website; however, the county tax assessor-collector calculates the taxable value on the day of titling and registration. Tax is calculated on the greater of the actual sales price or 80 percent of the SPV shown for that day.

Calculating SPV

For private-party sales, motor vehicle sales or use tax is based on one of the following:

  • the vehicle's sales price, when the purchaser pays 80 percent or more of the vehicle's SPV;
  • 80 percent of the vehicle's SPV, when the purchaser pays less than 80 percent of the vehicle's SPV; or
  • the vehicle's certified appraised value, when the purchaser pays less than 80 percent of the vehicle's SPV and provides a certified appraisal (using Form 14-128, Texas Used Motor Vehicle Certified Appraisal (PDF)), obtained within 30 calendar days of purchase or entry into Texas.

For a purchaser who pays less than 80 percent of the vehicle's SPV, tax will be calculated on the appraised amount. However, the tax cannot be computed on an appraised value that is less than the purchase price. A certified appraisal can be obtained from one of the following:

  • A motor vehicle dealer licensed for that category of vehicle. The dealer must charge a fee according to a set schedule outlined in Rule 3.79, Standard Presumptive Value, Paragraph (d)(4). An appraisal obtained from a motor vehicle dealer would need to significantly reduce taxable value to overcome the dealer's fee and provide net savings for the purchaser.
  • A licensed insurance adjuster. An adjuster's fee is not subject to a set schedule.

Requesting a Refund

Purchasers may obtain an appraisal even if they have already paid tax on the SPV. Purchasers who obtain a favorable appraisal within 30 calendar days of the purchase date or the date the vehicle is brought into Texas can seek a refund of the difference in the tax paid by