When buying a used car in Georgia, don’t get caught off guard by the state’s vehicle sales tax. We give you the lowdown so you know what to expect. Georgia charges 6.6% sales tax on vehicle purchases.
Georgia calls their sales tax “Title Ad Valorem Tax” (TAVT). Don’t let the fancy name fool you: it’s a 6.6% tax on the fair market value of your car. Unlike many other states, Georgia doesn’t have county taxes; 6.6% is the most you’ll pay in tax in Georgia.
Keep reading to get the full scoop on Georgia sales tax liabilities for your used car purchase.
Do you Pay Taxes When you Purchase a Car From a Private Party in Georgia?
According to the Georgia Department of Revenue, “The current TAVT rate is 6.6% of the fair market value of the vehicle.
The Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) became effective on March 1, 2013. TAVT is a one-time tax that is paid at the time the vehicle is titled. It replaced sales tax and annual ad valorem tax (annual motor vehicle tax) and is paid every time vehicle ownership is transferred or a new resident registers the vehicle in Georgia for the first time.”
When buying a car in Georgia, you’ll pay 6.6% of the fair market value, whether you buy from a private seller or a car dealer. Georgia's tax law does not discriminate between the two. Unless you qualify for a tax exemption (discussed below), you are required to pay tax on your car purchase.
TAVT vs Annual Ad Valorem Tax
The term "ad valorem" is Latin for "according to value". In the context of taxes, ad valorem refers to a type of tax that is based on the assessed value of an item, in this case a vehicle.
Georgia has two types of ad valorem taxes: title ad valorem tax (TAVT) and annual ad valorem tax (AAVT). Both are assessed as a percentage of vehicle value. TAVT has replaced AAVT.
If you purchased a vehicle in Georgia before March 1, 2013, you will still be required to pay AAVT. However, if you purchased a vehicle after March 1, 2013, you will only be required to pay TAVT.
Here are the differences.
- TAVT is effectively a sales tax. It is a one-time tax, a percentage of a car's fair market value, that you owe to the state when you buy a vehicle and register it in Georgia. It is based on the value of the vehicle at time of purchase. TAVT is 6.6% of vehicle value.
- AAVT is tied to vehicle registration and was due every year (and still is if you bought your vehicle before March 1, 2013). It is tied to the vehicle’s value on January 1 of each year. AAVT was 0.1% of vehicle value.
License Plates, Title And Registration Fees in Georgia
In addition to the state vehicle sales taxes, you owe other fees when buying a car and registering it in Georgia, such as car registration fees and car title transfer fees.
To register your vehicle at the Georgia county tag office, you must show proof of car insurance. First-time registrations cost $20 plus the $18 title fee.
Georgia's standard license plate fee is included in the registration fee. A personalized plate costs an additional $55.
How is Used Car Sales Tax Calculated in Georgia?
Sales tax in Georgia is calculated based on the vehicle's fair market value rather than its purchase price. There are people who think they can outsmart the government by negotiating a low "official" purchase price and paying the rest in a side transaction. But the Georgia Department of Revenue, Tax Commissioner's Office (the office that oversees taxation for the state of Georgia) can’t be fooled. Fair market value is used even in private-party car sales.
According to the Department of Revenue’s informational bulletin, TAVT Calculator Fair Market Value Discrepancy, “To prevent an unfair result, the Department recognizes and approves the practice of a county tag office changing the FMV for purposes of collecting TAVT if the seller can provide reliable and accurate documentation to prove that a different value existed on the date of purchase and that TAVT was collected based on that value.
An example of such documentation could be a date stamped screenshot from the online calculator showing the value that was available on the date of purchase. If the county tag office is satisfied as to the reliability and accuracy of such documentation, the appeal service in gratis should be used to override the current value, and the value from the date of purchase should be used to determine the amount of TAVT that is due.”
How to Pay Georgia Vehicle Sales Tax
Here's how to pay car tax after buying a used car in Georgia from a private seller:
- To transfer ownership of the vehicle, you and the seller must complete the necessary paperwork, including the bill of sale (when you buy a used car on PrivateAuto, we provide an official Georgia bill of sale and prompt both of you to sign it in our app at the appropriate stage of the transaction process). You'll need the following documents to transfer car ownership in a private transaction:
- The original car title with an odometer reading and the seller’s signature
- Current proof of insurance.
- The buyer and the seller’s valid driver’s licenses or IDs
- Calculate the amount of sales tax due. Multiply the vehicle's purchase price by 6%.
- Fill out the sales tax form.
- Submit payment for all taxes and fees.
- Get payment proof from the Tax Commissioner's Office.
- Get your vehicle registration, title and new license plates. Once you've paid the sales tax and turned in the necessary documents, you'll get your new registration and title for the car. The title and registration will show that you bought the car and that the sales tax has been paid. You will also get your license plates in mail.
If you’re buying a used car from a private seller, it is recommended that both you and the seller go to a county tag office to finish the transaction, which protects both of you. If you do not complete the transfer of title within 30 days of the sale, you will be charged a late transfer penalty fee of $10.
How to Avoid Paying Tax on Cars in Georgia?
There's no getting around it; car taxes are an unavoidable part of life. You are required by law to pay the tax on private used car purchases in Georgia or any other state that charges sales tax—unless you meet an exemption.
Georgia Tax Exemptions
Here are some purchases exempt from TAVT:
- Non-titled cars and trailers
- Military veterans
- Disabled veterans compensated at 100%
- Prisoners of war
- Purple Heart recipients
- Medal of Honor recipients
- Public safety first responders (allowed a TAVT exemption on a maximum of $50,000 fair market value)
- Law enforcement officer
- Publicly employed emergency medical technician
- Surviving spouse of such a first responder
While new residents don’t exactly get a tax exemption, they do pay a lower tax rate: 3% TAVT.
Is Buying a Car from a Dealer Better?
Many people believe that buying a car from a dealership is a magical way to avoid all of the hassle (and possibly some fees). In fact, going to a Georgia dealer will cost you more money and is not particularly convenient, unless you enjoy spending three hours in a dealership.
- Georgia dealerships charge documentation fees above and beyond all the other taxes and fees you have to pay (which are exactly the same whether you buy from a dealer or a private seller). The average documentation fee in Georgia is $545.
- Dealers usually charge higher prices for used cars. Their business model is based on buying as low as possible and selling as high as possible to make the spread that keeps them in business. Cut out the middleman and go directly to private sellers to get the best deals.
We do admit that dealers bring a certain amount of convenience that you don’t traditionally get when you buy from a private seller. In fact, that’s why PrivateAuto exists. We give you dealer-like convenience in the palm of your hand while allowing you to transact peer-to-peer with regular folks like yourself.
When you shop for used cars from private sellers on PrivateAuto, you can avoid the doc fee and get lower prices.
Georgia Vehicle Sales Tax Calculator
If you're in the market for a used vehicle, you'll need to calculate the amount of sales tax you'll be required to pay. While it is not necessary to be a rocket scientist to calculate taxes, determining your sales tax amount can be time-consuming.
Calculating sales tax has never been easier than with our used car sales tax calculator. This free online calculator determines how much tax you must pay on a used car purchase based on your sales tax rate (6.6%) and your vehicle's purchase price.
Our innovative platform connects buyers and sellers and gives them all the tools to complete the deal, from in-app financing to secure messaging to integrated payments. You can also schedule a test drive and negotiate the price without ever disclosing your personal information.
Here’s how you can sell your car in Georgia with a few simple steps:
- Gather documentation required in Georgia. You’ll need your vehicle title and other documentation. Have all the paperwork you need to sell your car privately, so you’re not scrambling to find it at the moment of completing a sale.
- Register on PrivateAuto and get verified. To make PrivateAuto a safe place for everyone, we require email, phone, and driver’s license verification, including facial recognition.
- List your car. Easily create your PrivateAuto listing with our step-by-step guide. Bonus: we include a window brochure with a QR code scannable to your listing.
- Set your terms. You can control where, when, and who you meet. Decide whether to accept only ID-verified buyers, or buyers with verified funds. Don’t waste your time with buyers who aren’t verified according to your preferences.
- Vet incoming offers. Manage offers in one place with the ability to accept, reject, or counter offers within the app. Listing on multiple sites? Filter all communications through PrivateAuto by sharing your listing link on all platforms. Your personal information is protected: no more giving out your phone number or email address. All communication happens in our app.
- Choose a buyer. When you find an offer you like, accept it and proceed to the next step with that buyer.
- Schedule a meeting. The buyer will want to look at your car. No more back-and-forth texts. You never have to give out your phone number. Rather, use our handy scheduling feature to schedule test drives and coordinate a time and place for meetings. (Oh, and you’ll be able to finalize the transaction instantly at the first meeting, FYI.)
- E-sign documents. After the buyer is satisfied with your car and the two of you have agreed on a purchase price, you can easily e-sign the bill of sale within our app, from your phone. With our shared documents feature, you can easily locate the paperwork needed after the sale.
- Get paid, instantly. Before PrivateAuto, receiving funds was the most stressful part of the entire selling process, especially for any used car sale over $5,000. There just aren’t a lot of good ways to move large amounts of money quickly and conveniently. Those days are over! Verify and receive funds instantaneously with PrivateAuto Pay, our innovative banking integration. Guaranteed funds for transactions large and small.
- Transfer title. When you sell your vehicle, fill out the necessary information on the back of the certificate of title and sign it in order to transfer ownership of the vehicle to the new owner.
Georgia's Car Sales Tax FAQ
How much is registration in Georgia?
For passenger vehicles, registration costs $20. To apply for a Georgia license plate, you must have vehicle registration cards from the Georgia county tag office. In Georgia, you can register your vehicle in person. To make things more efficient, title transfers and registration are done simultaneously. Registration renewal costs $20, and it's done annually.
You will need to submit the following documents to your local county tag office:
- A completed tag and title application (form MV-1)
- Proof of a valid Georgia auto insurance policy
- A valid GA driver’s license or state ID card
- Proof of Georgia residency documentation, such as:
- Lease or closing statement for your new residence
- Utility bill
- Shipper’s bill or truck rental agreement
- Vehicle ownership
- Vehicle inspection
- Payment for vehicle registration: $20
- Payment for any Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) due
Does Georgia have excise taxes?
Certain goods and services, such as sales of alcoholic beverages, gasoline, and tobacco, are subject to excise taxes. In Georgia, excise taxes are used to fund numerous programs, including education, transportation, and public safety.
The following are some of the excise taxes that are levied in Georgia:
- Gasoline: The state gasoline tax is 18.4 cents per gallon.
- Diesel fuel: The state diesel fuel tax is 24.4 cents per gallon.
- Cigarettes: The state cigarette tax is $0.500 per pack.
- Alcoholic beverages are taxed at 70 cents per liter, while alcohol produced outside of Georgia is taxed at $1.40 per liter.
What is the current TAVT rate in Georgia?
The Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) has been 6.6% since March 1, 2013, when it replaced the annual ad valorem tax.
How to calculate Georgia sales tax on a 2020 Toyota Tacoma?
To calculate the Georgia vehicle sales tax on your Tacoma, follow these steps.
- Find out Georgia's sales tax rate using the official Georgia calculator (6.6% of the fair market value)
- Turn the percentage into a decimal and multiply it by your vehicle’s purchase price (.066 X fair market value price)
In this case, the average estimated fair market value for a used 2020 Tacoma is $45,525. The estimated tax (TAVT) for your vehicle is $3,004.65.
Which state has the cheapest car tax?
The states with the lowest tax rate are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon, with a tax rate of zero. Nevada has no taxes on private-party car sales, though it does have them for dealership purchases.
If you really want to avoid sales tax on car purchases, you might consider moving to one of these states.
With the exception of the above states, all US states charge sales tax on private-party vehicle purchases. There are some states, such as Oklahoma, North Carolina, Colorado, and Alabama, that charge 4.5% or less.
How can I find a used car for sale near me?
PrivateAuto is the best place to find the used vehicle of your dreams.
Here is how you can find your dream car in just a few simple steps:
- Browse used vehicles for sale on PrivateAuto.
- Look at the top of the page for the "Filter by Location" button. There, you will enter your location.
- Set a search radius, such as 25, 50, or 100 miles.
- You can make your search even more specific by choosing more filters, such as make, model, year, price range, trim, and other criteria.
- When you click "Search," a list of all the vehicles that match your search criteria will appear.