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Virginia Vehicle Sales Tax & Fees

Virginia Car Sales Tax

Virginia Car Sales Tax

Before making a vehicle purchase, you should understand the total cost. The purchase price of a vehicle is only one part of your out-the-door cost. Sales tax is another fee that can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Because of the potential expense of vehicle sales tax, many people want to know how to avoid paying car sales tax or if buying a car out of state can help.

Compared to some other states, Virginia has a fairly low vehicle sales tax.

How Much Is the Car Sales Tax in Virginia?

Virginia charges a 4.15% Motor Vehicle Sales and Use Tax (SUT) on the vehicle's gross sales price or $75, whichever is greater.

The actual sales tax may vary depending on the location, as some counties/cities charge additional local taxes. In some parts of Virginia, you may pay up to 7% in car sales tax with local taxes. However, 4.15% is the statewide sales tax.

How to Calculate Virginia Sales Tax

To determine the sales tax on a car, add the local tax rate to the statewide 4.15%. Then, multiply the car price by the rate to see what you’d pay in taxes. Keep in mind that the original price is used without rebates/incentives and trade-ins.

  • Vehicle Price: $25,000
  • Rebates/Incentives: $2,000
  • Trade-In Value: $8,000
  • Total Cost to Buyer: $15,000
  • Price Used to Calculate Sales Tax: $25,000
  • Sales Tax: $25,000 X .0415 = $1,037.50

This example does not consider the additional local tax rate, it only uses the Virginia statewide tax rate.

Do I Have to Pay Sales Tax on a Used Car?

In Virginia, you will have to pay the 4.15% sales tax even if you purchase a used vehicle.

Which City Has the Highest Tax? Which City Has the Lowest Tax?

The Virginia local area with the highest local tax is York county which has a county tax of 2.70%. When you add the 4.15% state sales tax, you get a total sales tax of 6.85%.

In most cities and counties, there is a base local tax of 1%. When you add the 4.15% state sales tax, you get a total state sales tax of 5.15%.

Car Sales Tax for Trade-Ins in Virginia

Trading in your vehicle allows you to reduce the purchase price of a new vehicle. In Virginia, the auto sales tax is applied to the price of the vehicle before trade-in credits. Therefore, trading in your vehicle does not reduce the taxable price of the new vehicle.

For example, consider a new vehicle that costs $15,000. You trade in your old vehicle and receive a $6,000 credit. The out-of-pocket cost for the new vehicle is $9,000 after trade-in. In Virginia, you still have to pay sales tax on the $15,000 you paid for the vehicle before trade-in.

Car Sales Tax for Private Sales in Virginia

Private car sales are taxed in the same manner as dealer sales. For example, let’s say that you purchase a vehicle for $25,000 from a private owner. You would then multiply the purchase price amount by the state sales tax of 4.15%. This would give you a state sales tax amount of $1,037.50.

Tax on Rebates & Dealer Incentives

Manufacturer rebates and dealer cash incentives are common strategies dealerships use to encourage sales. While the rebates or incentives may lower your out-of-pocket cost for the vehicle, they will not reduce the car sales tax you must pay. Virginia auto taxes apply to the vehicle price before incentives or rebates.

If you find a vehicle for $20,000 that includes a $2,000 rebate, this lowers the price to $18,000. However, you will have to pay sales tax for the $20,000 full price of the vehicle.

Other Taxes & Fees for Virginia

DMV/State Fees

  • Vehicle Registration (4,000 pounds or less): $30.75
  • Vehicle Registration (4,001 pounds of more): $35.75
  • Electric Vehicle: $109.00
  • Pick-up Truck (4,001 pounds to 6,500 pounds): $35.75
  • Pick-up Truck (6,501 pounds to 10,000 pounds): $44.75
  • Permanent Trailer Registration (0 to 1,500 pounds): $70.00
  • Permanent Trailer Registration (1,501 to 4,000 pounds): $75.00
  • Permanent Trailer Registration (4,001 pounds or more): $105.00
  • Trailer Registration (0 to 1,500 pounds): $18.00
  • Trailer Registration (1,501 to 4,000 pounds): $25.50
  • Trailer Registration (4,001 pounds or more): $40.00
  • Original Title: $15.00

Dealership Fees

Dealer fees can vary by each individual dealership. However, the average doc fee is about $470. In addition to dealership fees, there may be some other fees that you will have to pay:

  • Processing Fee: Some dealerships may charge a processing fee. However, Virginia does not require any dealership to charge a processing fee to buyers.
  • Advertising Fee: Dealers will try to charge an advertising fee. This is the fee to market the vehicle. However, you should be able to negotiate that down.
  • Destination Fee: The destination fee is the charge to have the vehicle transported to the dealership. You may be able to negotiate this fee away.

When Sales Tax is Exempt in Virginia

If you have had your vehicle titled in another state or by a branch of the American Armed Forces, then you do not have to pay state sales tax. Disabled veterans of the United States Armed Forces and the Virginia National Guard are also exempt from state sales tax.

Additionally, vehicles received as gifts are exempted from state sales tax.

Virginia EV Rebates & Incentives

Beginning on January 1, 2022, you can get a $2,500 EV rebate in the state of Virginia on new electric vehicle purchases. Used electric vehicle purchases are eligible for a $500 EV rebate.

Tax information and rates are subject to change, please be sure to verify with your local DMV. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the sales tax on cars purchased in Virginia?

The sale tax on cars purchased in Virginia is 4.15%. For example, if you purchase a new vehicle for $50,000, then you would multiply that purchase price by .0415 and get a sales tax amount of $2,075.

Do I have to pay sales tax on a used car in Virginia?

Yes. You will have to pay a state sales tax on used vehicle purchases.

Which city in Virginia has the highest tax? Which has the lowest?

Many cities and countries have a flat 1% local tax. The area with the highest local tax in Virginia is York County, with a 2.70% local sales tax.

Do I have to pay sales tax on a gifted car in Virginia?

Gifted cars are exempt from paying state sales tax in Virginia. However, the gift recipient needs to complete and submit the Purchaser's Statement of Tax Exemption.

How much is registration in Virginia?

Vehicle registration in Virginia ranges from $30.75 to $35.75. Electric vehicle registration is $109, and pickup truck registration ranges from $35.75 to $44.75.

Does a trade-in reduce sales tax in Virginia?

No. A trade-in reduces the purchase price but does reduce the taxable amount. For example, a $25,000 car with a $5,000 trade-in is still taxed at the full $25,000 price.

How can I avoid paying sales tax in Virginia?

You can avoid paying sales tax in vehicle sales in Virginia by purchasing a vehicle out of state, being a disabled veteran of the Armed Forces or Virginia State Guard. Also, if you are gifted a vehicle, you are exempt from state sales tax.