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What Is the Average Cost of Tax, Title and License for Cars?

By Autolist Staff | November 6, 2019

Whenever you purchase a used or new vehicle, you can expect to pay more than the advertised price. In the case of a new car, some of this is dealer fees, but you will also pay various state and local taxes to finalize the purchase and register your vehicle. For a used vehicle, you'll need to pay sales tax and licensing fees to get the vehicle registered in your name. Here are some of the usual extra fees when buying a used or new vehicle.

Registration

Every state charges a registration fee to get the motor vehicle in your name. The costs vary by state. Sometimes they're flat fees, while other states base the fee on various factors like the vehicle's weight, age or worth. Most states also have fees and penalties if you don't register the vehicle within a certain amount of time after the sale date.

License Plates

The cost of new plates might be part of your registration fee, or it might be a separate cost. Some states let you take your old plates from a car you sold and put them on the new vehicle. Other states require brand new plates upon transferring ownership.

Title Transfer

When you buy a car from a dealer or private party, you'll have to transfer the title from them into your name. Naturally, there's a fee to do this that varies by state.

Lien Recording

If you take out a loan to buy a vehicle, the DMV might add a lien recording fee to your costs.

Documentation Fee

That is a fee usually charged by car dealerships to write up all the paperwork in buying a vehicle. Several states have a maximum amount in place that the dealer can charge for this.

Sales Tax

Most states require sales tax in the purchase of a vehicle. However, this tax amount often varies by city or county. You will typically pay the sales tax of the county or city that you live. For example, if your state sales tax is six percent, but you register the vehicle in a county that has a ten percent tax rate, then you will pay ten percent tax.

Personal Property Tax

Some states also require a personal property tax based on vehicle value. It is usually an annual fee, and rates vary by state.

Emissions and Inspections

Some states require emissions tests or inspections upon transferring ownership from one party to another.

Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

Because owners of these vehicles don't pay much in fuel taxes, some states charge specific fees for buying these vehicles.

Let's take a look at the vehicle registration, tax and title fees on a state by state basis.

Alabama

Alabama charges $15-23 for initial registration, plus $50 annually. The license plate fee is $1.25 to transfer plates, and the title fee is $15. Alabama does not place a cap on dealer documentation fees.

Alaska

Alaska charges a registration fee of $100 and a title fee of $15. It does not charge for license plates or place limits on dealer fees.

Arizona

There's an $8-32 public safety fee, $12 to transfer plates, then a $4 title fee. Arizona does not cap dealer fees.

Arkansas

The registration fee here is $17-30 with a plate fee of $1 and a title fee of $10. This state places a $129 cap on dealer fees.

California

California charges $60 for a registration fee and then adds a transportation improvement fee that ranges between $25 and $175. The state also charges $27 for license plates and $15 for a title fee. An $80 cap is in place for dealer fees.

Colorado

This state's registration fees are based on vehicle weight, and the license plate fee varies by county. It does not charge title fees and places no cap on dealer fees.

Connecticut

Registration fees are $80 for two years, plus $7 for plates, $25 for the title and no limit on dealer fees.

Delaware

It's $40 for registration, then no plate fees and $35-$55 for title fees. Dealer fees are capped at 4.25 percent of the purchase price or NADA value, depending on which is higher.

Florida

New vehicles are charged $225. Otherwise, it's $14.50-$32.50 for registration, plus $28 for new plates. There's no limit on dealer fees and $77.25-$85.25 for title fees.

Georgia

It's $20 for registration and $18 for the title. There's no limit on dealer fees and no plate fees.

Hawaii

This state charges $45 base and then a fee that varies by weight. Plate and title fees are $5 each, and there's no limit on dealer fees.

Idaho

Registration varies by vehicle age and is $45-$69. The title fee is $14, and there are no plate fees or dealer fee caps.

Illinois

Registration is $101 and title fees are $95. There are no plate fees, and there's a dealer fee cap that changes annually.

Indiana

Here, you'll find a $21.35 registration fee and a $15 title fee. There are no plate fees or dealer fee caps.

Iowa

The registration fee is up to 1 percent of the list price depending on the vehicle's age. There are no plate fees or dealer fee caps, and it's only $25 for a replacement title.

Kansas

Registration is $39-$49 depending on the county and title fees start at $10. There are no plate fees or dealer fee caps.

Kentucky

Registration and title are $21 and $9 respectively, but there are no plate fees or caps for dealer fees.

Louisiana

The registration fee ranges from $20-$82 depending on value, and the title fee is $68.50. There is a $200 cap on dealer fees and no plate fees.

Maine

Expect to pay $35 for registration and $33 for the title, but there's no plate fee or cap on dealer fees.

Maryland

Between $135 and $187 will cover two years of registration, and then there's $100 for the title and $10 to transfer plates. Dealer fees are capped at $300.

Massachusetts

Registration is $60 for two years, plus $25 to transfer plates and $75 for the title. There's no limit on dealer fees.

Michigan

Registration is based on vehicle value and the title fee is $15. There's a $200 cap on dealer fees and no plate fees.

Minnesota

This state charges $35 and up based on vehicle value. It's $12 for double plates and the title fee is $28.25 as of 2020. Dealer fees are capped at $125 as of 2020.

Mississippi

There's no limit on dealer fees here and no plate fees. Registration costs $12.75 to renew and $14 for the first time, while the title fee is $9.

Missouri

Here there's no limit on dealer fees and no plate fees. Title fees are $11, and registration starts at $21.75 and is based on taxable horsepower.

Montana

This state has no limit on dealer fees and no plate fees. Title fees are between $10 and $12, while registration is $28-$217 depending on vehicle age and adding a 3 percent fee.

Nebraska

Registration is $20.50, and plates are $3.30 each, while title fees are $10. There's no limit on dealer fees.

Nevada

Registration costs $33, plates are $8, and the title fee is $29.25. There's no limit on dealer fees.

New Hampshire

Registration is based on weight and starts at $31.20. Plate fees are $8, and the title fee is $25. Dealer fees are not capped.

New Jersey

It is another weight-based registration state ranging between $35.50 and $84. Plate fees are $6, and title fees are $60 usually and $85 with a lien. Dealer fees aren't capped.

New Mexico

Vehicle registration fees range between $27 and $62 based on weight and model year. There are no plate fees or dealer fee limits, but the title fee is $5.

New York

The title fee is $50, plates are $25, and registration is $26-$140 based on weight. Dealer fees are capped at $75.

North Carolina

Registration is based on weight between $36-$67. Title fees are $52, and plate fees are $20. Dealer fees aren't capped.

North Dakota

Registration is based on age and weight between $49 and $274. Title fees are $5, and there are no plate costs or dealer fee caps.

Ohio

It's $34.50 for registration, $15 for the title and $4.50 to transfer plates, $11.75 for new. Dealer fees are capped at $250 or 10 percent of the sale price, whichever is less.

Oklahoma

A new registration costs $96, then decreases over time. Title fees are $11, plus $17 to transfer. There's no limit on dealer fees or a cost for plates.

Oregon

Title fees here are $93, and plates are $24 for new, $6 to transfer and the registration is $112-$172 for two years. New cars cost $248-$368 to register. Dealer fees are capped at $115-$150.

Pennsylvania

Registration is $37, the title is $53 and there are no plate fees. Dealer fees are capped at $118-$141.

Rhode Island

The registration charge is $41.50 and the title fee is $51.50. Dealer fees are not limited, and there's no plate charge.

South Carolina

Registration is $40 and the title fee is $15. Plate costs are not applicable, and there's no dealer fee cap.

South Dakota

Registration is based on weight and model year, the title fee is $10, but there's no plate cost or limit on dealer fees.

Tennessee

It's $76 for registration, but plate fees are included. There's no limit on dealer fees and no title fee.

Texas

Registration is $51.75, plus various local fees. Plate costs are included, and the title fee varies by county. Dealer fees shouldn't exceed $150.

Utah

Registration varies by model year, but plate costs are included, and the title fee is $6. Dealer fees aren't limited.

Vermont

Plates are included in the $76 registration cost, plus a $35 title fee. There's no limit on dealer fees.

Virginia

Plate costs are included in registration, which is between $40.75 and $51.75 based on weight, plus $2 for emissions in some places. The title fee is $15, and there's no limit on dealer fees.

Washington

It's $30 for registration, plus filing fees, $15 for the title and $10 per plate. There's a $150 cap on dealer fees.

Washington DC

Here there's no limit on dealer fees, plus $26 for the title, $7 for a plate transfer, $10 for replacement and $72-$155 registration based on weight. Hybrids are $36.

West Virginia

The title fee is $15, and plate costs are included in the $51.50 registration fee. Dealer fees aren't capped.

Wisconsin

Registration is $75, plate costs are included and title fees are $69.50. Dealer fees are not limited.

Wyoming

Plate costs are included in registration at $30 plus county fees. There's no limit on dealer fees and the title fee is $15