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      07-16-2013, 08:33 PM   #1
lukasbmw
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Buying a car from a private party in California

Forgive me for the basic question, but I'm an Arizona dude.

In AZ, you can simply buy a car from a private party, take the title to the DMV, and transfer the title into your name (no tax if you buy from a private party). If you want to actually drive the car on the road, you then need to pay registration. If the car has not been smogged within 2 years, then it will need to pass smog.

How does it work in California?

My understanding is that you must take the title to the DMV and then pay tax on the value of the car. Is this correct?

What if I buy a track car and don't want to register it or drive it on public streets? Can I simply put the title in my name and avoid paying tax if I don't register the car? Or must tax be paid when the title transfers?
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      07-16-2013, 09:23 PM   #2
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that's pretty much how it works.

if it's purely a track car... you can't get pulled over anyway. though if you still want it registered, there's a "planned non operation" registration that's cheaper. perhaps do that for a year and then just let it expire.

i would just buy it, write my name on the door with a sharpie, and be done with it
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      07-16-2013, 10:27 PM   #3
lukasbmw
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I've decided I have to transfer the title to my name. I guess that means there is no way to avoid taxes. Even with a track car, I have to resell it eventually. Can't resell it with the title in someone elses name. Taxes may be cheaper in the future as the car depreciates but I'm not going to bend the law.
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      07-16-2013, 10:28 PM   #4
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if you pay cash you can ask the guy to put a lower amount on the pink slip. that's what i did when i sold my integra. doesn't affect the seller one bit, hell break him off a little if he hesitates
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      07-16-2013, 10:28 PM   #5
lukasbmw
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So in Cali:

-Transfer title
-Pay taxes on car value
-Register
-Drive

I imagine I have to smog the car prior to registration?
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      07-16-2013, 10:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bosster hymen View Post
if you pay cash you can ask the guy to put a lower amount on the pink slip. that's what i did when i sold my integra. doesn't affect the seller one bit, hell break him off a little if he hesitates
Yeah, I hear people do that a lot in Cali. I'd hesitate to do that tough. May as well just play by the rules and pay 8% on $8,000 instead of 8% on $6,000.00. Too many ways to get caught in this "1984 style" surveillance state we live in.
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      07-16-2013, 10:44 PM   #7
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btw, that sale value is used to calculate your annual registration fee

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      07-18-2013, 12:18 AM   #8
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It sucks that they tax a used car from a private party twice!! One from the original owner and again from the new owner.
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      07-18-2013, 12:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kthankzbye View Post
It sucks that they tax a used car from a private party twice!! One from the original owner and again from the new owner.
It's a blue state run by morons. But as a real estate guy, the commissions on one average house ($450k avg price) more then makes up for the increase in state income tax, registration, sales tax, etc.

Plus the weather is perfect year round. No more 6 months of awesomeness followed by 6 months of 110o temps.
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      07-18-2013, 01:24 PM   #10
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The last time I checked and this is old since I live in CA in the 90's it does not matter what value you say you paid in a private sale. In CA they will verify what you claimed to pay against their database of car values. Remember CA has over 30M register vehicle and can easily determine FMV of a car and they will use this number not what you say unless you paid more.

Yes you can register as non-op and it is $19, http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/fees/miscellaneous.htm

I can not remember if you are still required to pay the registration tax on the vehicle. I do know that if you no-op you can not park the car on the street, actually it may not be even in your driveway visible, so it may need to be covered.

Last edited by Maestro; 07-18-2013 at 01:32 PM.
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      07-18-2013, 09:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukasbmw View Post
So in Cali:

-Transfer title
-Pay taxes on car value
-Register
-Drive

I imagine I have to smog the car prior to registration?
The seller is responsible for getting the car smog checked, and it needs to be within 90 days of the sale.

You don't pay "sales tax" when you buy a car from a private party - you pay a "use tax", which oddly enough just happens to be the same percentage as sales tax.
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      07-18-2013, 09:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro View Post
The last time I checked and this is old since I live in CA in the 90's it does not matter what value you say you paid in a private sale. In CA they will verify what you claimed to pay against their database of car values. Remember CA has over 30M register vehicle and can easily determine FMV of a car and they will use this number not what you say unless you paid more.

Yes you can register as non-op and it is $19, http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/fees/miscellaneous.htm

I can not remember if you are still required to pay the registration tax on the vehicle. I do know that if you no-op you can not park the car on the street, actually it may not be even in your driveway visible, so it may need to be covered.

Not really. Of course, if you sell a 30K car and put down you sold it for $200.00, then that may be questioned.

If you sell it non-op, the only money you save is the registration fee, not the use tax.
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      07-19-2013, 08:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadDog View Post
Not really. Of course, if you sell a 30K car and put down you sold it for $200.00, then that may be questioned.

If you sell it non-op, the only money you save is the registration fee, not the use tax.
To your point when in CA I transacted two vehicles a 53 Ford 100 which was my dad's and he gave it to me and when I transferred ownership they ask what I paid and the right answer was $0 well the DMV did not like that answer I was not allowed to say the value was $0. The DMV could not look up a value since at the time KKB did not put a value on old cars. However, I learned that DVM would only allow a minimum value of $100 nothing less at the time so I paid registration and tax on that.

The second car I did was a 66' mustang which need to be restored in was in okay shape. I paid $1000 we told the DMV $500 (had a receipt) they said no way, that car value was $1800 so I had to pay registration and tax on $1800 and there was no discussing it with them.

My understand it still works that way except they do not use KKB but their own database of car values. I am not sure how they handle thing like my truck which I still have and is a street rod. it was a value of around $10K today.

Last edited by Maestro; 07-19-2013 at 09:52 PM.
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      07-19-2013, 01:20 PM   #14
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That's rough. I'm in Florida and for all 3 project cars I've bought from private parties I had the person write down the car was a gift. I actually paid $2,000 $3,500 and $3,000 for each and never had a problem when I went to the tax collector.
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      07-19-2013, 09:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro View Post
To your point when in CA I transacted two vehicles a 53 Ford 100 which was my dad's and he gave it to me and when I transferred ownership they ask what I paid and the right answer was $0 well the DMV did not like that answer I was not allowed to say the value was $0. The DMV could not look up a value since at the time KKB did not put a value on old cars. However, I learned that DVM would only allow a minimum value of $100 nothing less at the time so I paid registration and tax on that.

The second car I did was a 66' mustang which need to be restored in was in okay shape. I paid $1000 we told the DMV $500 (had a receipt) they said no way, that car value was $1800 so I had to pay registration and tax on $1800 and there was not discussing it with them.

My understand it still works that way expect they do not use KKB but their own database of car values. I am not sure how they handle thing like my truck which I still have and is a street rod. it was a value of around $10K today.

If your Dad gave you a car, you shouldn't have paid any tax. There's a form you fill out saying it was a gift.
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      07-19-2013, 10:34 PM   #16
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california's desperate and doing anything they can to raise funds. don't give into anything without putting up a fight.

they can question the value of the car all they want... just say "it needs work"
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