Use tax is a tax on items used in Washington when sales tax hasn’t been paid. When you purchase a vehicle or vessel from a private party, you’re required by law to pay use tax when the vehicle or vessel title is transferred.
Use tax is calculated at the same rate as the sales tax at the purchaser’s address. In addition to the general, vehicles are charged an additional 0.3% .
If you buy a vehicle while on active duty with the military, you may be exempt from paying use tax. For more information, see Tax exemptions: Military personnel.
Why use average fair market value and not actual sale price?
Fair market value reflects the value of a vehicle according to the retail selling price at the place of use, compared to similar vehicles of like quality or character. The actual selling price may or may not be the same as the average fair market value in cases when an individual sells a used vehicle or vessel.
How is the fair market value determined?
We get average fair market values from Price Digests, an industry standard source.
What if a vehicle or vessel is worth less than the average fair market value?
To establish that a vehicle or vessel is worth less than the average fair market value, the buyer may provide:
Does the Department of Revenue use the same valuing system?
Yes, the Department of Revenue uses exactly the same values as the Department of Licensing. Since 1999, both agencies use an automated valuing system that receives data from Price Digests.