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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts


Motor Vehicle Tax Guide

Motor Vehicle Sales Tax

Motor vehicle sales tax is due on each retail sale of a motor vehicle in Texas.

A motor vehicle sale includes installment and credit sales and exchanges for property, services or money. A transfer of a motor vehicle without payment of consideration, that does not qualify as a gift, is a retail sale and is subject to the 6.25 percent motor vehicle tax.

Purchaser’s Responsibility

Motor vehicle sales tax is the purchaser’s responsibility. If the seller is not a Texas licensed dealer, the purchaser is responsible for titling and registering the vehicle, as well as paying the tax to the local county tax assessor-collector (CTAC) within 30 calendar days of the purchase date. Active-duty military personnel have 60 calendar days to title and register a vehicle. Tax is not due until that time.

The seller will collect the tax if the seller is a dealer licensed by Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV), and the motor vehicle’s gross weight is 11,000 pounds or less. The seller is responsible for remitting the tax to the CTAC at the time of titling and registration.

A licensed Texas dealer has no collection responsibility when the motor vehicle’s gross weight is more than 11,000 pounds or when the motor vehicle is a non-titled trailer. The purchaser of these vehicles is responsible for remitting the tax to the CTAC at the time of titling and registration.

If a purchaser properly paid motor vehicle tax to a selling dealer, and the dealer fails to transfer title and submit the tax, the state will not hold the purchaser liable for any tax due. The purchaser must provide to the CTAC acceptable documents which show the purchaser paid the motor vehicle tax to the dealer. Acceptable documents include a dealer’s invoice or sales contract that itemizes the motor vehicle tax paid to the dealer.

Not a Retail Sale

A retail sale does not include the purchases of

  • new motor vehicles by a licensed Texas dealer franchised to resell that type of vehicle;
  • used motor vehicles by a licensed Texas dealer for resale purposes;
  • new motor vehicles by a licensed Texas franchised dealer for a lease contract; or
  • new motor vehicles by a manufacturer or distributor when displayed with manufacturer’s license plates.

If a licensed dealer acquires a motor vehicle and operates it only with a dealer plate in accordance with Transportation Code Section 503.061, Dealer’s License Plates, and Transportation Code Section 503.068, Limitation on Use of Dealer’s License Plates and Tags, a taxable retail sale has not occurred.

Trade-In Allowance

If a purchaser trades in a motor vehicle to the seller as part of the purchase transaction, the purchaser pays the motor vehicle tax on the trade difference. The allowance for the motor vehicle traded in is the value of the vehicle and not necessarily the equity in that vehicle. The trade-in allowance also applies to a purchaser’s traded-in vehicle when purchasing a motor vehicle consigned to a dealer.

Calculating Sales Tax on Purchases from Licensed Dealers

For retail sales of new and used motor vehicles involving licensed motor vehicle dealers, the motor vehicle sales tax is based on the sales price, less any amount given for trade-in vehicle(s) and/or dealer discounts. For example, if a purchaser traded in a vehicle worth $15,000 to a licensed dealer as part of the purchase of a $42,000 vehicle, motor vehicle tax is due as follows:

Item Amount
Total Sales Price $ 42,000.00
Less Trade-In - 15,000.00
Taxable Value $ 27,000.00
Tax Rate x .0625
Sales Tax Due $ 1,687.50

The selling dealer’s signature on the title application is an acceptable record of the sales price. The CTAC can, however, request to see the dealer’s invoice or sales receipt from the dealer or purchaser.

For private-party purchases of used motor vehicles in Texas, or out-of-state purchases of motor vehicles brought into Texas for Texas use, the motor vehicle tax requires a comparison of the amount paid for the vehicle to a percentage of the vehicle’s standard presumptive value (SPV) or certified appraisal. See Standard Presumptive Value in this guide.


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