Regional Transit Authority (RTA) tax

If you live in urban areas of King, Pierce, or Snohomish counties, you may be required to pay Regional Transit Authority (RTA) tax. This tax is collected on behalf of Sound Transit (www.soundtransit.org) to pay for their local transit‑related projects

How is the RTA tax calculated?

The RTA tax is a motor vehicle excise (MVET) tax of 0.3%. This excise tax will increase to 1.1% for vehicles with tabs expiring on or after March 1, 2017. This excise tax is calculated using the depreciated value of your vehicle determined by using a formula based on the vehicle manufacturer’s suggested retail price (or purchase price for commercial trucks) and a depreciation schedule set by state law based on the age of the vehicle (years of service).

This method of taxation is used to ensure the owners of the same type of vehicle pay the same amount of tax. The MVET value is not based on the fair market value of the vehicle and can be either higher or lower than the vehicle’s fair market value or the amount the owner paid for the vehicle.  

When is the RTA tax collected?

  • When you renew your tabs.
  • When you purchase a new or used vehicle and register it in your name.

Can I appeal my RTA vehicle valuation?

In most cases, no. State law requires us to use the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSPR) to calculate the tax. We will work with vehicle owners to determine an alternate method of setting the value in cases when the MSRP is unavailable at the time of initial registration in our state.

Use our online estimator

Find out if you’re required to pay and get an estimate of the fee:

Which types of vehicles are subject to RTA tax?

RTA Tax Due:

  • Antique vehicles (no gross weight or less than 6,001 pound scale or empty weight and purchasing gross weight license)
  • Combination use vehicles (less than 6,001 pound scale or empty weight)
  • Commercial use trucks (less than 6,001 pound scale or empty weight)
  • Fixed load (less than 6,001 pound scale or empty weight)
  • For hire vehicles (no gross weight or less than 6,001 pound scale or empty weight and purchasing gross weight license)
  • Log use vehicles (less than 6,001 pound scale weight and purchasing gross weight license)
  • Personal use trailers
  • Motorcycles
  • Motor homes
  • Passenger vehicles
  • Stage use vehicles (no gross weight or less than 6,001 pound scale weight and purchasing gross weight license)
  • Taxicabs
  • Trucks (less than 6,001 pound scale or empty weight)

RTA Tax NOT Due:

  • ATV ‑ all‑terrain vehicles (WATV)
  • Antique vehicles (more than 6,000 pound scale or empty weight)
  • Campers
  • Commercial use trailers
  • Commercial use trucks (more than 6,000 pound scale or empty weight)
  • Converter gear
  • Combination use vehicles (more than 6,000 pound scale or empty weight and purchasing gross weight license)
  • Farm use vehicles
  • Fixed load vehicles (more than 6,000 pound scale or empty weight)
  • Government-exempt vehicles
  • House dollies
  • Mobile homes
  • ORV ‑ Off road vehicle
  • Log use trailers
  • Log use motor vehicles (more than 6,000 pound scale or empty weight)
  • Mopeds
  • Private school vehicles
  • Snowmobiles
  • Stage use vehicles (more than 6,000 pound scale or empty weight)
  • Tow trucks
  • Travel trailers

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