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Old 01-22-2008, 01:14 PM
8 posts, read 98,588 times
Reputation: 26


Here's the deal:

I'm returning from overseas (separating from the USAF after 11 years) with a nice new U.S. spec BMW. I bought the car on 15 Jan 08. I paid cash and the Certificate of Origin (kind of like a title) is in hand. It is looking more and more like I may be headed to the Doylestown, PA area for work.

I'm wondering if anyone knows the PA laws concerning sales tax due when registering vehicle. In particular, I'm interested if there is an amount of time (for example TN is 90 days, CA is 12 months) that I must have had the car registered in my name in order to avoid paying PA sales tax. Basically, I don't want the state to consider the car an 'out of sate' purchase. I come home in May and will register it in Jul/Aug.

I've looked for the answer and can't seem to find it online.
Any help would be appreciated!

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Old 01-22-2008, 04:58 PM
Location: Pittsburgh, USA
3,131 posts, read 9,371,916 times
Reputation: 1111
If you didn't buy it in PA, what entitles the state to charge you sales tax? Why don't you want it considered an out of state purchase?

When I was in the service one of the reasons you bought a new car while stationed overseas was to avoid the state sales tax.
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:06 PM
Location: Midwest transplant
2,050 posts, read 5,941,885 times
Reputation: 1623
You can check out the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation website. Google it and plow through the manual, you should find your answer. You could also try contacting a AAA office, since that seems to be where most people end up getting assistance with car registrations/license plates etc. I don't believe you will have to pay sales tax on a car as long as you have title and ownership. Although people who attempt to buy in Delaware get zapped because DE has no sales tax, and they are PA residents. I'd also check with someone when you disengage yourself, it was my understanding that military personnel were exempt from many of these types of taxes.
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Old 01-23-2008, 04:31 PM
3 posts, read 76,502 times
Reputation: 15
Sorry Leland, many states including PA charge sales tax when you transfer your auto title that was purchased in another state. Most go by the low end on the blue book. However, if the auto was purchased within 120 days, the original sales tax paid in another state will be transfered to PA and you only pay a small fee for the out of state transfer. Note, PA has no exceptions for military service.
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Old 02-15-2008, 01:52 PM
Location: near Mansfield, PA
75 posts, read 408,402 times
Reputation: 39
Yes, I have to agree you will need to pay the 6%. The only way I've seen to get out of it is if you have proof paying the sales tax to the state the vehicle is registered in, and it may even depend on the state. When I moved from NY to PA, I didn't have to pay PA since NY's more than covered the 6% PA would have got while when I moved from NC to PA, I had to pay because those two dont have reciprocation agreements in place (according to the notary). Also, living near the border now, I have bought all my vehicles in NY and have never gotten to escape PA sales tax, as you can't get a plate or a title without proof of paying it.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:11 PM
1 posts, read 72,096 times
Reputation: 15
Default Pa sales tax on transfer of vehicle

The real answer to this is yes. If you visit the Pa dmv site and go under the info center and then motor vehicle info for new residents you will find this statement.

If you hold a valid title issued in another state and have owned the vehicle for at least 6 months before moving to pa, no pa sales tax is required to be paid. If it has been less than 6 months, you must provide your sales tax reciept. Since De does not have a sales tax, you would not have a reciept and you would be required to pay the tax. If it was from a state that charged the sales tax, you would provide a reciept as proof.

I know I just transfered a business vehicle titled in De and registared in De, to my home in Pa and paid no sales tax because the vehicle was owned for more than 6 months in De.
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Old 07-06-2008, 05:14 PM
4 posts, read 153,289 times
Reputation: 15
my understanding (or as it was told to me in PA regardless where you buy the auto you are required to pay the percentage of the sales tax for the county in pa you live in so if you buy a care in a tax free state you are still required to pay the pa sales tax and to complicate matters even more there are 2 different tax rates 7% for allegheny county and philly and 6% for the rest of the state and don't say i'll go to another county and buy the car to save the 1% extra the sales tax on autos is set in the county you live in so if you live in alleghenny county you pay 7%

but there is a way around auto sales tax a puc certificate (if only used for business porpouses only)
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Old 07-06-2008, 05:15 PM
4 posts, read 153,289 times
Reputation: 15
now that's is if you home base is in pa but if you move from another state then no tax is due
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:24 AM
681 posts, read 2,877,602 times
Reputation: 544
LoneWolfSeth had a good idea, but it only works if you have a house or other valid residence/business address in another state (such as Delaware).

If you are newly titling a vehicle in PA, and you already paid sales tax of at least 6% elsewhere, you do not have to pay PA state sales tax when you title the vehicle in PA. Of course, I'm not sure how that works for buying a vehicle in another country... it definitely works for buying a vehicle in another state, however. See, here's how it works. Let's say you buy the car in Maryland, where the sales tax is only 5%. PA forgets that MD must have other higher taxes to offset that... and they force you to pay an extra 1% sales tax on the car when you title it in PA because God forbid you give the government money it hasn't earned, in the amount of LESS than 6% of the purchase price of a car. No, you have to give the government money it hasn't earned in the amount of 6% of the purchase price of the car. Are you following me so far? Good. The state of Texas has 8.25% sales tax (but no income tax). So, if you buy a car in Texas and then title it in PA, one would think (by PA's mathematics) that you should be entitled to a REFUND of 2.25% sales tax, right? WRONG!!! They just keep the money! Any way you look at it you lose.

The best way to get around sales tax is to understate the purchase price of the car, if you can. Beware, though... that can come back to bite you. It happened to me... I bought an old car for $750 and told NJ that I only paid $300 for it... but when I proceeded to give it away to a friend, I could only take a "capital loss" deduction on my federal and state income taxes for $300 rather than $750. I assure you, the income tax I'd have saved on the extra $450 in capital loss was much more than the sales tax I saved by deducting $450 from the purchase price of the car when I titled it.

OR... you could move to a state such as Delaware or Oregon. Then, you don't have to worry about sales tax. (They get you in other ways, of course. I lived in Oregon... I know this stuff. PA's income tax rate is something like 3.07%. Oregon, with no sales tax, has a flat 10% state income tax rate. Go figure.)
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:01 PM
20 posts, read 134,932 times
Reputation: 13
Be glad you are not in Philly. They stick you with an extra 1%.
But the long and the short of it is YES you need to pat it.
If it is a used car and you bought it from another person you can cheat a tiny bit and ask them ( the seller ) to write in a lower price on the sales slip.
However if it is too low they will go to the book and pick a value for taxing.
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