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How Much Are Used Car Sales Taxes in Mississippi?

Are you planning to buy a used car in Mississippi? Before you hit the road, make sure you understand the sales tax rate for your vehicle and any additional local taxes that may apply.

Quick links:

How much tax will I pay?

How does MS calculate tax?

Car sales tax calculator

Do I owe tax on out-of-state purchases?

How do I pay MS car sales tax?

Can I avoid paying tax in MS?

Is it better to go to a dealer?

The statewide rate for used car sales tax in Mississippi is 5% of the purchase price of the vehicle. That’s not too bad compared to some other US states (California car sales taxes are outrageous in comparison).

Here’s the lowdown on Mississippi car sales taxes.

Do You Pay Taxes On a Used Car From a Private Seller in Mississippi?

When you buy a car in Mississippi, you owe sales tax. The 5% tax applies to purchases from car dealers as well as private party sales—no special treatment for the latter.

The word taxes on a white sign on top of cash

Unlike counties in many other states, Mississippi counties don’t charge sales tax on motor vehicle purchases. However, some cities and local jurisdictions within certain counties choose to levy additional taxes on top of the statewide rate. Local governments can levy as much as 1%, which increases the total sales tax amount in some Mississippi areas to 6%.

The following cities have a total car tax rate of 6%:

  • Jackson, Hinds County
  • Pearl, Rankin County
  • Clinton, Hinds County
  • Ridgeland, Madison County
  • Byram, Hinds County
  • Flowood, Rankin County
  • Tougaloo, Hinds County

Some cities—like Tupelo, Saltillo, and Belden—levy a mere 0.25% in sales tax on top of the state rate.

According to Wise Voter, the state of Mississippi has the 19th lowest sales tax rate on motor vehicles in the US, while the registration fee in Mississippi is the country's second lowest.

Aside from the sales tax, other fees are involved with purchasing a used car from a private seller, such as the title transfer fee, registration fee, and license plate fee.

Mississippi Registration, Title Transfer, and Plate Fees

On top of the sales tax on your newly purchased car, you have to pay additional fees for registration, title transfer, and getting new license plates.

Here’s what that will cost you:

  • Registration fee: $15
  • Title fee: $10
  • Mississippi license plates for passenger vehicles: $15
  • A $10 fee if the Tax Collector’s office completes your title application

Unlike many other states, the state of Mississippi does not have a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Driver and vehicle services that the DMV typically provides are shared between the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Mississippi Department of Revenue (DOR).

The Mississippi DOR handles car registration and titling. They also collect sales taxes and fees. When you buy a used car from a private party, it is your responsibility as the buyer to submit the appropriate tax forms and payments to either the DOR or your local county tax collector’s office at the time of the registration.

How is Used Car Sales Tax Calculated in Mississippi?

Sales taxes are calculated based on the vehicle’s purchase price. Some people get the brilliant idea to negotiate a low “official” purchase price and pay the remainder to the seller in a side transaction. That won’t work, as the DOR is way ahead of you.

People who try to avoid paying the full vehicle tax by artificially lowering the price they paid for the car are in for an unpleasant surprise. The Mississippi DOR can simply use the car's "fair market value" (rather than the car price) as the basis for calculating sales tax.

The DOR establishes what the car is worth on the open market by referring to the Kelley Blue Book or other reliable sources of information about used car prices. If it concludes that the car's fair market value is greater than the purchase price, the sales tax will be assessed based on the fair market value.

Car Sales Tax Calculator

If you’re in the market for a used car, you need to figure out how much sales tax you owe. While you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to calculate taxes, it can be a hassle to get to the bottom of your total sales tax amount.

With PrivateAuto’s used car sales tax calculator, figuring out sales tax has never been easier. This free online tool makes it hassle-free to calculate how much tax you have to pay on a used car purchase based on where you live and the purchase price of the car.

Do I Pay Tax on Used Cars Bought Out of State?

If you buy a car out-of-state and bring it back for titling and registration in Mississippi, you owe sales tax in Mississippi.

For example, you struck a great deal with a private seller in Louisiana. You hop across the border to pay for your new-to-you ride and bring it back to Mississippi. Despite the state of Louisiana has a 4.4% sales tax on all motor vehicle purchases, you’re due Mississippi car tax upon registration.

If you live in a different state, buy a car, and register it outside of Mississippi, you will pay that state’s sales tax (unless you’re a resident of a sales tax-free state like Alaska or New Hampshire). When you move to Mississippi, you will have to register and title the car in your new home state, but you won’t owe sales tax. From the paperwork you submit for registration and titling, the Mississippi Department of Revenue sees that sales tax has already been paid in another state and no car tax is due in Mississippi.

Mississippi Use Tax

Here’s another scenario when buying a car out-of-state.

You found an even better deal in a state that doesn't charge sales tax on car sales. If you buy a used car in Montana, Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, Oregon, or Nevada, no sales tax is due. In the so-called NOMAD states, buyers don’t owe sales tax, which makes these five states a car tax paradise—for their residents only. (Nevada does have a sales tax on motor vehicle purchases, but private party sales are exempt from paying it.)

If you buy a car in one of these states and don’t pay sales tax, the state of Mississippi will charge you use tax when you register the car.

Let’s say you purchase a used car in Oregon. The state of Oregon does not levy sales tax on motor vehicle purchases—which is great for Oregon residents. When you bring the car to Mississippi and register it, the DOR will see that you haven’t paid the sales tax in the state in which you bought it and will charge use tax.

The use tax rate is the same as the sales tax: 5% of the vehicle’s purchase price.

How to Pay Mississippi Vehicle Sales Tax

Not sure how to pay car sales tax in Mississippi after buying a used car from a private seller? We’ve got you covered.

Car tax on top of a blue wooden car

How to Avoid Paying Sales Tax on a Car in Mississippi?

Unfortunately, property tax, income tax, sales tax, and other taxes are part of life. There is no way to legally avoid paying sales tax on used cars in Mississippi or in any other state that charges vehicle sales tax—unless you meet an exemption.

Here are some tax exemptions on private party purchases in the state of Mississippi:

  • If you buy a car from your spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild, the sale is not subject to sales tax. If you buy a car from a cousin, in-law, or other family members, sales tax is due.
  • Churches and other religious institutions may be exempt from paying sales tax if the purchase involves vehicles used primarily for religious and educational purposes. If you qualify for this tax exemption, fill out the Affidavit of Church Utility Exemption form.
  • Mississippi Armed Forces members who purchase vehicles to be used outside of Mississippi don’t owe sales tax.
  • Vehicles purchased and used by nonprofit organizations don’t owe sales tax.
  • If the buyer was a resident of another state at the time of the purchase, sales tax may not apply.

If you plan to move to a state with no sales tax, try purchasing the car after your relocation. Otherwise, we don't recommend attempting to avoid paying car sales tax in Mississippi or anywhere else. The thousands of dollars you might save are not worth the legal and financial implications, nor the loss of your peace of mind.

Bottom line: unless you live in Montana, Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, Oregon, or Nevada (or qualify for an exemption), you owe sales tax when you purchase a used car from a private seller.

Can I Save On Taxes and Fees By Buying From a Dealer?

Many people think buying from car dealers is a great way to avoid paying taxes and fees. In fact, when you go to a dealer, you end up paying more.

Not only will you pay more in fees, but you’ll probably pay more for the car itself when you buy it from a dealer compared to buying the same vehicle from a private seller. That’s because dealers need to buy low and sell high to make a profit. Cut out the middleman and get the best price possible by transacting peer-to-peer on PrivateAuto.

When you buy a car from a dealer, you pay all the same taxes and fees that you’d pay if you bought from a private seller. Dealerships charge a "documentation fee" above and beyond all the other taxes and fees you have to pay. The average documentation fee in Mississippi is $230. Fortunately, the state imposes a doc fee limit of $425, which is still a pretty hefty number, if you ask us.

We do admit that dealers bring a certain amount of convenience that you don’t traditionally get when you buy from a private party. 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.

Avoid documentation fees and get lower prices when you shop used cars from private sellers right here on PrivateAuto.

Buy and Sell Used Cars on PrivateAuto

Conduct private car transactions easily and safely with PrivateAuto. 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.

PrivateAuto allows you to negotiate the price you want, schedule the test drive meetup, and pay for the car—all within our app without compromising your personal information.

Whether you want to shop used vehicles for sale or are trying to sell your used car for top dollar, PrivateAuto will help you get the deal done.

Get started with PrivateAuto today.

Here’s how you can sell your car in Mississippi with a few simple steps.

  1. Gather necessary documentation

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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Set your terms

It’s your car, so you drive the deal! 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 to your preference.

5. 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 info is protected: no more giving out your phone number or email address. All communication happens in our app.

6. Choose a buyer

When you find an offer you like, accept it and proceed to the next step with that buyer.

7. 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 driving and coordinate a time and place for meeting. (Oh, and you’ll be able to finalize the transaction instantly at the first meeting, FYI.)

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. Transfer title

When you sell your vehicle, fill out the necessary information on the back of the Certificate of Title and sign in order to transfer ownership of the vehicle to the new owner.

Mississippi Used Car Sales Tax FAQ

How are car sales taxes calculated in Mississippi?

Sales taxes are calculated based on the car’s purchase price. Multiply the purchase price of your car by the state tax rate, which is 5%. Remember to factor in the additional taxes imposed by some cities and local governments.

For example, you’ve got your heart set on a used Jeep Wrangler that costs $23,600. Multiply $23,600 (the car price) by 0.05 (the sales tax in decimal form), and voilà. The sales tax amount you need to pay for your new-to-you Jeep Wrangler is $1,180.

Remember to add registration, title, and license fees on top of this.

Is Mississippi a tax-friendly state?

Mississippi is generally considered a tax-friendly state because its income tax rates are low and it doesn't tax social security income. Withdrawals from retirement accounts are not taxed. Public and private pension income are also not taxed.

However, there is a 7% sales tax rate on most goods in the state, and property tax can be pretty high. The sales tax rate for motor vehicle purchases is 5%, whether you buy from a car dealer or a private party.

Does Mississippi have a use tax?

The state of Mississippi charges use tax when sales tax hasn’t been paid. Use tax applies to out-of-state car purchases. For all practical purposes, sales tax and use tax are the same thing.

Some US states don’t charge car tax on private party transactions—Nevada is one of them—so when you bring your newly purchased car to Mississippi, the DOR will see that you haven’t paid any car tax. That’s when they charge you use tax.

The use tax rate in Mississippi is the same as the sales tax rate.

How long can you drive without a tag in Mississippi?

In Mississippi, you can’t legally drive a car on public roads without a tag. You have seven days from the day you purchase the car to register it and get a license plate. During this time, the only reason you can drive the car without a tag is to get the inspection sticker, registration, and title for the car.

You have 15 days to renew your car tag without penalties. Mississippi does not have a temporary tag or a "drive out" tag.

Can you register a vehicle without a title in Mississippi?

It is illegal to transfer vehicle ownership without a proper title. The title is proof of ownership and must be shown when the car is registered. If you’re planning to buy a vehicle without a title, the seller must obtain a duplicate vehicle title and then transfer ownership.

Can I transfer an out-of-state title?

When you want to transfer the title of a car from another state to Mississippi, you will need to provide:

  • The vehicle's out-of-state title
  • The current legal registration receipt.
  • A completed Odometer Disclosure Statement.

As soon as you move to Mississippi, you have 30 days to register and title your car from another state.

You must pay all the fees for transferring the title and registering the car. Bring the documentation and proof of payment to your local Mississippi DOR office. When the DOR gets your application for the car title, your title will be sent to you by mail within 4 weeks.

When the DOR gets your application for a car title, your title will be sent to you by mail within 4 weeks. At the DOR office, you will also have to register your car.

Who pays sales tax in the USA?

In the US, sales tax is usually paid by the person who buys the product or service that is taxed. In a private vehicle sale, the person who buys the car usually pays the sales tax.

Sales tax papers on of an office desk next to a pen

Outside of Nevada, Montana, Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Oregon (which don’t charge sales tax on private-party vehicle transactions), sales tax rates are set by each state and are based on the purchase price of the vehicle. In some situations, the sales tax due may take into account trade-ins or rebates. Some states may also offer exemptions or lower rates for certain buyers, like people in the military or people with disabilities.

Which state has the highest sales tax?

California has the highest sales tax rate in the United States. If you’re a resident of the Golden State, you’ll have to pay a whopping 7.25% in sales tax—plus additional local taxes that inflate that rate even further. California allows cities and counties to levy local sales taxes, so the total sales tax rate in some parts of the state can go as high as 10.25%.

Just behind California, the states of Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Indiana levy 7% sales tax on car purchases—and that’s without factoring in local sales taxes. If you live in a state that charges astronomical sales taxes, maybe you should think about moving to sales tax-free Delaware, New Hampshire, Montana, Oregon, or Alaska.

Can I buy a car in Oregon to avoid sales tax?

You can avoid paying sales tax on a car purchased in Oregon only if you’re a resident of Oregon or any other state that charges no sales tax.

If you live in Louisiana and decide to shop for used cars in Oregon, you will owe sales tax when you register it in Louisiana—unless you meet an exemption.