Taxes and Registration if you buy out of state and ship

Hi Hackers. I’ve tried researching this myself but haven’t gotten enough detailed info. If I buy a car from say California and drive it for a month before shipping to Colorado, how are the taxes and registration fees handled.

Similarly, I might wait and buy a car after I’ve moved to Colorado and ship the best deal I can find to my new residence. The same question applies. What happens with tax and registration?

Tax and reg is based of registration location. Are you going to stay in Cali for a month?

If you’re driving it on the roads in CA, you get to pay the super high registration and taxes for the first month. Can’t leave the dealer lot, unless on a trailer, otherwise as far as I know.

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Not sure how CA handles a situation where you need to drive in the state for a month but you are a CO resident after all so I’m guessing you will just pay the CO TTL at signing. One of our dealer reps or brokers can probably confirm.

Contrary to what some might think, the good news is CA combined taxes and registration is cheaper than CO. Next time I may just keep it registered in CA but then I’ll have to roll around with CA plates and deal with the hostility of these pesky natives who think they own this place. We all know what happens to natives in this country. :shushing_face:

Wow you’re right. That’s a shock. I looked up the sales tax in Arapahoe County (future residence starting in late July) and it’s much less than Los Angeles County (current residence).

BUT… registration in CO seems to be based on weight and MSRP. OUCH. And here I am thinking everything in the midwest was going to be cheaper.

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Yes. Moving truck comes July 24th. Until then I’m in LA. I was thinking of selling my 2013 Prius before I left b/c it’s worth more in this zip code and I’ve heard they’re terrible in the snow. Plus it would be much better for my family to have two family friendly cars.

So out of curiosity, I looked up CO registration for my current car. Definitely about $200 more than CA. Do you pay that amount every year or just up front?

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You can with a one way trip permit

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It was a shock to us, too. We’re out in Douglas County about 2 miles south of the Arapahoe County border. Our insurance for both auto and homeowners is significantly more than what we were paying in SD. The hail & wind damage risk exposure is much greater out here. Our homeowners premium effectively doubled since we moved out here in 2018.

Not every year. I don’t have the chart pulled up but the biggest chunks IIRC are the first 2-3 most current years (from new) where the % of original MSRP is the highest. After that, it drops off quite a bit. As an example, comparing our 2016 Nissan GTR and 2018 TLX, we pay more for the TLX in registration than we do for the GTR even though the GTR is currently “worth more” by the tune of 100% more. I paid 450-ish for the GTR registration this year and the TLX was close to $600 because it is newer dictating a higher % of MSRP if that makes sense.

I just went through this in April.

What you want is a ‘one trip permit’. This will allow you to avoid CA registration.

It’s most likely that the dealer will not want to deal with this and they will force you to register in California. This is what happened to me.

While the registration fees are high in CA the state makes up for it with low property, income, sales and gas taxes…oh wait :open_mouth:

Waiting for someone to chime in with “the price of good weather”. I’m looking at you @jeisensc

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So when you bought and registered the car in CA b/c the dealer wouldn’t do a one trip permit, did you then have to turn around and pay for registration again when you got back to your home state?

You have to pay the registration fee again to your home state when you reregister.

I got lucky that it’s $64 for light trucks in PA.

Did you drive it out of CA or ship it out of CA?

I planned on driving it out of CA. They did not want to issue me the permit. They claimed they couldn’t issue those.

It was also an FCA dealer so YMMV.

I vaguely recall your thread and thinking that a reasonable person might conclude you didn’t qualify for the one-trip permit.

The dealer didn’t force you to do anything. They told you their interpretation of the law, with no benefit to themselves how much you paid to the state of CA. You decided you would rather pay CA reg rather than wait til you were legally a resident of another state in a couple months, in case the RV dropped, IIRC

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You are correct that the dealer didn’t force me to do anything.

However, I am a resident of PA (since 2019) with a PA drivers license drivers license. I was attempting to comply with PA law that requires residents to register vehicles there. The dealer did not care since PA is not going to prosecute them and they already know how the CA system works.

I did end up taking it since I feared the RV would drop. Fortunately, I was correct and it ended up working out.

What did you end up actually doing?

I’m guessing what’s most relevant for the OP is that the address was in CA, ie he/she shouldn’t be surprised if a dealer declines to issue a one-trip permit when the address is in CA.


Originally planned on shipping it in mid May.

Plans changed and now it will be July.

I know that invalidates the one trip permit but that was not known in April.

Dealer address or OPs address?