Washington (WA) Vehicle Sales Tax & Fees [+Calculator]

Washington Car Sales Tax

Before buying a car in Washington State, you must consider the 6.5% sales tax and other fees that will impact the total cost of your car purchase.

I’ve done all the research for you to streamline your car purchase in The Evergreen State. Here’s what you need to know about Washington vehicle sales tax and fees.

How Much Is the Car Sales Tax in Washington?

How Much Is Washington Car Sales TaxThe state sales tax on a car purchase in Washington is 6.8%. This number is a sum of the base state sales tax of 6.5% plus a 0.3% “motor vehicle sales/lease tax.”

However, this does not include any potential local or county taxes. The average local tax rate in Washington is 2.368%, which brings the total average rate to 8.868%.

As an example, if you were to purchase a new sedan at a purchase price of $20,000, then you will have to pay an additional $1,360 in sales tax.

Motor Vehicle Lease/Sales Tax

Washington charges a sales/lease tax on the rental, lease, or sale of motor vehicles, including:

  • Recreational vehicles
  • Motorcycles
  • Buses
  • Cars
  • Pickup trucks
  • Commercial trucks
  • SUVs

How to Calculate Washington Sales Tax on a Car

You can calculate the sales tax in Washington by multiplying the final purchase price by .068%.

For example, let’s say that you want to purchase a new car for $40,000, you would use the following formula to calculate the sales tax:

$40,000 x.068 = $2,720.

This means that your sales tax is $2,720 on a $40,000 purchase price.

Calculate Car Sales Tax in Washington Example:

  • Initial Car Price: $40,000
  • Sales Tax Rate: 6.8%
  • Trade-In Amount: $5,000
  • Incentives/Rebates: $2,000

Sales Tax = ($40,000 - $5,000) * .068
Sales Tax = $2,380

Remember that the total amount you pay for a car (out the door price) not only includes sales tax, but also registration, and dealership fees.

Washington Car Sales Tax Calculator

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

The Washington sales tax is the same 6.8% on a used vehicle.

For example, if you were to purchase a used car for $15,000, then you will have to pay an additional $1,020 in sales tax.

Washington Highest and Lowest TaxWhich County Has the Highest Tax? Which Has the Lowest?

The city with the highest car sales tax is Tacoma with a 10.4% tax on all cars.

The county with the lowest car tax is Pierce County with a combined total tax rate of 8.3%.

Here’s a breakdown of the total vehicle sales tax for major cities in Washington State:

  • Tacoma sales tax: 10.4%
  • Fife sales tax: 10.2%
  • Puyallup sales tax: 10.2%
  • Olympia sales tax: 9.0%

Car Sales Tax for Trade-Ins in Washington

Trade In WashingtonYou don’t have to pay sales tax on trade-ins in Washington. In other words, be sure to subtract the trade-in amount from the car price before calculating sales tax.

As an example, let’s say you are purchasing a new SUV for $30,000 and your trade-in is worth $15,000. You will subtract the trade-in value by the purchase price and get $15,000. Therefore, your car sales tax will be based on the $15,000 amount.

Car Sales Tax on Private Sales in Washington

A sales tax is required on all private vehicle sales in Washington, and it’s known as “use tax.”

You must pay use tax when the vehicle title is transferred to you. The use tax in Washington State is calculated based on the fair market value of similar cars. If you think the car is worth less than that, then you can file an affidavit to lower its market value.

As an example, if you purchase a truck from a private party for $10,000, then you will pay 6.8% of that amount to the Washington DMV.

Tax on Rebates & Dealer Incentives

Tax on Dealer Incentive WashingtonYou do have to pay tax on dealer rebates and incentives in Washington. In other words, do not subtract the incentive/rebate amount from the car price before calculating sales tax.

As an example, if you are purchasing a new car for $50,000 with a $5,000 rebate, you will pay sales tax on the full $50,000 final cost of the car.

Washington DMV/State Fees

There are some other state and DMV fees associated with the purchase of a vehicle in Washington.

A few of these fees include:

  • Registration Fee: $50
  • Plate Transfer Fee: $10
  • Title Fee: $26

Washington Dealership Fees

Dealerships apply extra fees, sometimes referred to as “doc fees,” with the sale of the car.

Though these fees vary based on the dealership, Washington law caps these fees at a maximum of $150.

Car Sales Tax Exemptions in Washington

Washington Tax Exemptions

There are a few instances in which a vehicle is exempt from sales tax in the state of Washington, including:

  • Sale to a non-resident
  • Sale to military personnel currently stationed in Washington
  • Sale to authorized Interstate Commerce Carriers (ICC)
  • Sale to a member of a Washington Native American tribe
  • Sale to a federal, state, or foreign government entity
  • Gift of a car that has already had taxes paid on it

Washington EV Rebates & Incentives

Washington offers some EV incentives for folks who purchase electric vehicles.

The federal tax credit ranges from $2,500 to $7,500.

 

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 Washington?

The sales tax on cars purchased in Washington is 6.8%. However, this does not include any potential local or county taxes. The average local tax rate in Washington is 2.368%, which brings the total average rate to 8.868%.

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

Yes, you have to pay a 6.8% sales tax on a used car in Washington.

Which county in Washington has the lowest tax?

The county with the lowest car tax is Pierce County with a combined total of 8.3% tax.

Which city in Washington has the highest tax?

The city with the highest car sales tax is Tacoma with a 10.4% tax on all cars.

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

No, you do not have to pay sales tax on a gifted car in Washington.

How much is registration in Washington?

Car registration in Washington is $50.

Does a trade-in reduce sales tax in Washington?

A trade-in reduces sales tax in Washington. In other words, be sure to subtract the trade-in amount from the car price before calculating sales tax.

How can I avoid paying sales tax in Washington?

You do not have to pay car sales tax in Washington if you are a nonresident, have the car gifted to you by a family member, are military personnel stationed in Washington, are a member of a Washington Native American tribe, or using the car for government purposes.