How does the Washington sales tax on automobiles work?

Each state in the United States has its statutes regarding vehicle sales tax. Washington is no exception, and depending on the automobile purchases or acquisitions you make, you must comply with the tax duty.

Before purchasing any vehicle, know the tax statutes and everything related to this issue. You would rather not end up paying more than you want to.

Washington Car Sales Tax!

According to the Washington sales tax manual, 6.5% of sales are collected. To that, you have to add 0.3% for purchasing a car, then the total you will pay will be 6.8%.

It would help if you considered that, depending on where you live in Washington, local governments might levy a local sales tax, known to be as high as 4% in some areas of the city.

Before purchasing a new vehicle, make sure you are familiar with the law where you live. The tax for major cities in that state is:

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

In addition, Pierce, Snohomish, and King counties collect vehicle sales taxes of up to 10.3%. If you want to lower the rate, you should do business in Skamania and Wahkiakum counties; the rate in these places is 7.3%.

How would car trade-ins be done in Washington?

Doing a car trade-in benefits you by adjusting your initial price and has advantages because it changes the taxable amount of your new car purchase.

For example, buy a vehicle valued at $28,000 and decide to trade it in for your car that gets a $3500 credit. Eventually, you will only have to pay the tax at the county rate, assuming you are in Spokane, which is only calculated at 9.3% on $24,500.

Washington Vehicle Sales Tax Exemptions

Although not a common situation, you can find some exemptions; you can have them when the sale is to a person who does not reside in the state, to a licensed interstate commercial motor carrier, to active military personnel in Washington.

They also apply when the sale is to a local Native American tribe member or a state, federal or foreign governmental entity. However, to obtain these exemptions, you must follow some guidelines to verify that you can receive them.

Calculating the Washington Automobile Sales Tax

To avoid endless numbers or mistakes when doing the calculations, the best thing to do is to use a Washington sales tax calculator; in a few minutes, you will have a clear idea of the price of the vehicle you wish to purchase.

On the Internet, you can find different options for these calculators; to use them, you have to add the value of your car if you want to exchange it and the zip code of your dealership. Note that all calculations will be estimates; you need to talk to an agent to know the real prices.

Other taxes or fees added to vehicle purchases in Washington

When you buy a new vehicle, you must face many additional payments and taxes; in Washington, it is common to encounter other costs such as:

  • Registration fee: $50
  • Title fee: $26
  • License plate transfer fee: $10

Depending on the dealership you choose, you may be asked to pay additional fees for documentation and proper handling by the legal team; the documentation fee is usually $150 because it is stipulated by state law.

Likewise, when you start the process at the dealership, you should ask what additional fees you need to adjust. Hire a professional to facilitate the process.