Occasionally, a purchaser will title and register a motor vehicle in another person’s or a company’s name, rather than the purchaser’s name, for fleet price, insurance/financial, convenience or personal reasons.
When a purchaser titles and registers a motor vehicle in the name of another person or company, motor vehicle tax is due on the purchase price.
If the motor vehicle is later transferred back to the purchaser, the motor vehicle tax may be due again, since this would be a second transaction. If no consideration (including a lien assumption) is given at the time of the second transfer, tax would be due on the standard presumptive value (SPV) provided by the Registration and Titling System (RTS), unless the transfer qualifies as a gift (in which case the $10 gift tax is due).
Exceptions to this provision include transfers between spouses that is not community property and changing from an individual’s name to a sole proprietor business name. In certain situations, neither motor vehicle sales and use tax nor gift tax is due.