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Old 07-21-2013, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado
3,293 posts, read 4,047,951 times
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Does anyone know how this works? I was told the car taxes in MOntana are the highest in the country, but this applies if you have a newer car. If I have a 2008 model Toyota, would I be best holding on to it, rather than buying a newer car to avoid having to pay the registration fees or car taxes. I was told the car tax applies mostly to newer cars. Can anyone tell me how this works? I tried looking it up on the Montana government websites, but couldn't find any page that was understandable or could answer my question. The pages seem very obscure and information was scattered.
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Old 07-21-2013, 11:59 PM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
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Not sure if you found this website, but it lists the registration fees, cost of plates, etc.

It's about half way down the page and has the title: Light Vehicle Registration and Fees

https://doj.mt.gov/driving/vehicle-t.../#lightvehicle
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:24 AM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado
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Thanks for posting this ElkHunter. I have seen this in the past, but never could figure out how this worked. It is very confusing.. So, if I buy a 2011 Toyota Highlander with 30,000 miles for like $27,000, what type of tax would I pay each year when I register the vehicle? This is what I am wondering. I just cannot figure out what you would actually pay based on this chart. I don't even quite get what the county option tax is exactly. I see there is a $217 registration fee, which is already high, but then there is some other types of taxes?
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:35 AM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
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Hopefully a Montana Resident will answer your questions. I live in Wyoming so I am not familiar with exactly how Montana is set up. I had saved that website a while back when somebody else posted it and just thought it might help. We have several local users that will help you out as soon as they see this thread.
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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Simplest way to do it is buy a vehicle that is 10+ years old and put permanent plates on it. Then you don't have to worry about it.

My 1994 Dodge Ram D-2500 cost $210 for permanent plates, but I never have to put plates on it again.

Usually you have your registration fee, transfer of title etc when you buy your vehicle.

If I were to do my renewals on an annual basis for my truck, it wold be about $70 / year.

Part of the confusion comes from the fact that license fees are also dependent on the county where you license. They can be really cheap, or really high but it depends on the county taxes. It is called the county option tax, and is based on county property taxes. That charge is rated on the age of the vehicle and depreciates over time, so for a new year vehicle, the value would be based on 100% of value.
That is depreciated each year until the vehicle is 10 years old and the vehicle is then rated at say 31% of marketable value for a pickup for instance.
At 10 years you can either keep going with the annual plates, or buy the lifetime plate.

It is confusing, but the permanent plates are part of the reason you see so many older vehicles on Montana roads. Buying a new car is expensive, most folks here don't have the money for exchanging cars every couple years, so they keep the old ones running as long as they can, and putting a permanent plate on cuts costs even further.

For instance, I have a 1967 International Scout that runs good and I will keep as my backup vehicle forever, and I don't have to ever license it again

Part of the confusion and cost come from fees tacked onto the license, State park fees, you don't have to pay an entrance fee to a state park because you already paid for it on your license, Junk Vehicle tax, that one is supposed to pay to have junk vehicles hauled away, Insurance verification, etc. etc. etc.

If you want new cars every year or so, yeah, you'll pay through the nose to license it.

If you know where you are going, you can always call the county and ask what the fee is for a specific year/model/make.
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado
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I appreciate you sharing this information MTSilvertip.. Now, I am really confused! There is no way I can part with my 2008 Highlander, so I guess if I don't buy a newer car, I would be stuck paying whatever tax is required on it. This whole car taxation deal is extremely confusing. It appears Montana would have the heaviest tax burden, along with its state income tax of all the Northwest states, which is too bad. I guess I would use Missoula and Flathead counties as my reference, which I would think would probably have the highest tax rates and be the most likely places I would relocate, if I moved to Montana.

I did notice there was a lot of older cars in Montana when I was there and now I know why. I am a bit baffled about why they impose such a tax, considering they have a state income tax and already charge high registration fees ($200+). It only cost me $125 to register my car in the Puget Sound area, which is already considered expensive and has no state income tax.

I guess Western Montana is not a cheap place to live, cost of living or tax-wise, but I do find it to be a beautiful area. I always was eager to understand the car taxation deal and still I am confused by it. I do know that if you have an older car that you don't have to pay this county tax, but in my experience, the older cars I had, ended up costing me more anyhow, because I would have to pay large fees to keep fixing them at the mechanic.
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
4,910 posts, read 5,794,767 times
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The main reason for licensing fees, car taxes and income taxes are simple, we don't have a sales tax.

Also, your 2008 is already depreciated, and you are half way there to permanent plates if you choose.

Flathead County isn't the worst in the state for taxs, Missoula, Helena and Bozeman are about at the top of the scale.

Or you could do like most folks in Lewis and Clark county, because Helena sits right on the borders of Broadwater and Jefferson Counties where the taxes are way lower, folks live in Broadwater or Jefferson and drive to work in Lewis and Clark thereby avoiding the higher taxes
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:15 PM
 
18,852 posts, read 31,694,472 times
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The car registration is high in Montana. About 4x what it was in Florida for me. I can't figure it out, just go and pay. They re new it on your birthday. Nice gift!

I figured if you can afford a new car, the fees should not kill you.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:40 PM
 
Location: Brew City
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It's to make up for our lack of sales tax. It's a sliding scale. It's based off the tax value of your vehicle. When we bought a brand new truck I believe the tags were $450? They come down a little every year. I don't remember what they were last year. My 2005 jeep cost about $130 I think last year.
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
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I assume that if I move in from out of state with a vehicle older than 11 years I can move straight to the permanent registration for that vehicle. Am I correct?
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