Let’s say you’ve decided to become your dealership’s expert on every possible registration and titling scenario for all 50 states (and don’t forget the District of Columbia). You were a quick study in school, so it’s possible, right?
You’re probably thinking that memorizing 51 sets of calculations isn’t so bad. We agree – you could probably do it if it stopped there.
But don’t forget there are 3,141 counties in the U.S. (we’re including county equivalents like boroughs, census areas, and parishes in that number). Some of them also charge registration fees, but not all of them do, so that’s more to remember.
Then there are the individual municipalities. Of the 19,495 incorporated cities, towns and villages in the U.S., there are some that add fees or taxes to a vehicle purchase and others that do not. You’re going to need to know which are which.
And as they say in TV ads: But wait, there’s more!
A quick scroll through the National Council of State Legislatures list of Registration and Title Fees By State reveals many more variables that different states use to calculate their fees.
Some states start with a flat base registration fee, but they’re the exception rather than the rule. Here’s a selection of additional factors used to determine vehicle taxes and registration fees:
- Vehicle weight (weight classes/ranges vary widely from state to state)
- Vehicle body type
- Vehicle class/type
- Vehicle age
- Electric and/or hybrid vehicle fees
- Electric and/or hybrid vehicle discounts
- Fee discounts or exemptions for seniors
- Air quality research fee
- Transportation or infrastructure improvement fee
- Decal fee
- Multi-year registration discounts
- MPG rating
- Registering a vehicle from another state
- Special plate
- Fuel other than gas or diesel (but not electric)
No two states use the same criteria for determining registration fees and taxes. How are you feeling about that plan to memorize every deal scenario now?
The reality is that it takes technology and close coordination with the motor vehicle bureaus from each state to ensure that a dealership has access to reliable cross-border tax and fee calculations to quickly drive the best deal forward. So instead of trying to commit every state’s tax and fee structure to memory, use that research skill to choose the best solution to get your back office ready for more out-of-state customers.