If you're looking to buy a used car in Nevada, buying from a private party can be a great way to save some money. The state of Nevada doesn’t impose sales tax if you buy a vehicle from a private seller.
Nevada has a 4.6% used car sales tax rate, but this is only imposed on purchases from car dealers. When buying from a private party, you’re off the hook for sales tax, but don’t forget about vehicle registration fees, title transfer fees, and license plate fees.
We dove deep into Nevada's vehicle sales taxes and other fees, and here’s the lowdown.
Do You Pay Taxes When You Buy a Car From a Private Seller in Nevada?
When you purchase a car from a private seller in Nevada, the state doesn’t charge sales tax. Private party vehicle sales—whether between family members or total strangers—are exempt from paying sales tax.
Unlike other US states that impose sales tax on all motor vehicle purchases, Nevada differentiates between buying a vehicle from a private seller and from a dealer. Sales tax applies if the sale is considered a “retail sale.” If you go to a car dealer, you will pay 4.6% of the car’s purchase price in sales tax.
Like in other states, you still have to pay registration, license, and vehicle title fees after buying your new-to-you car in a private transaction.
Nevada Registration, Title, and License Fees
Just because you don’t owe sales tax on private party purchases doesn’t mean you can skip on registration, title transfer, and license plate fees for your used car.
Nevada Registration Fees
You must register the car at a Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles office within 30 days of the purchase. You can make an online appointment at the offices in Las Vegas, Carson City, Henderson, and Reno.
The registration fee in Nevada is $33. Before you apply for registration, it’s a good idea to get an estimate of your registration fees so you know what to expect.
To register a vehicle in Nevada, you must bring the following documentation:
- Vehicle title
- Proof of insurance
- An odometer reading
- If the car has never been registered or titled in Nevada before, you need to present a vehicle inspection certificate
- Nevada Emissions Vehicle Inspection report (if needed)
Before registering your car, you must first title it.
Nevada Title Fees
Any car made in 2011 or later must have the Odometer Reading section of the title filled out at the time of sale. If you have a loan or lease on the car, you can’t get a title.
Here are the costs of a title transfer in Nevada and other title fees:
- Transfer of title ownership: $28.25
- Duplicate title sent to a Nevada address: $20
You need to fill out the Application for Duplicate Nevada Certificate of Title form.
- Duplicate title sent out of state: $35
- Title transfer fee from an out-of-state to Nevada title with no change of ownership: $20
NVDMV recommends (and we concur) not purchasing a car for which the seller doesn’t have a title.
Nevada License Plate Fees
Standard Nevada license plates cost $7 for a set of two large plates or $3.50 for a single small plate. Personalized and specialty plates cost extra.
Nevada law requires that sellers keep the license plates and either use them on another vehicle or turn them in to be canceled within 60 days (30 days for special plates) after the sale. If they wish to transfer the plates to the buyer, they need to fill out a License Plate Release form.
Can I Buy a Car in Nevada and Bring it to California?
California residents often cross the border and shop for used vehicles in Nevada. Buying in Nevada is a bit cheaper compared to California, and there’s no sales tax when you buy from private sellers.
But you still need to pay California sales tax when you bring it back and register it in Cali. California imposes a 7.25% sales tax on all motor vehicle purchases, whether you buy from car dealers or private parties. And then there are the local sales taxes: many cities and counties levy their own sales taxes, which can, depending on where in the state you live, bring the total tax to 10% or even more.
Is Buying from a Dealer Better?
Many people think buying from car dealers is a great way to avoid hassle and reduce fees. In fact, when you go to a Nevada dealer, you end up coughing up more cash.
- You owe all the same taxes and fees you’d owe buying from a private seller
- You owe Nevada car sales tax, which you wouldn’t owe buying from a private seller
- The dealership charges you a “documentation fee”
- You usually pay more for the car when you use a middleman (dealer)
When you buy a car from a dealer, you pay all the same fees that you’d pay if you bought it from a private seller. Car dealers have a way of rolling it all up in the fine print, but the charges are still there.
Perhaps more significantly, nine times out of ten, you’ll pay more for a used vehicle when you buy it from a dealer compared to buying the same vehicle from a private seller. Dealers are notorious for buying low and selling high to make a profit. Cut out the middleman and get the best price possible by transacting peer-to-peer on PrivateAuto.
Additionally, dealerships charge a "documentation fee" above and beyond all the other taxes and fees you have to pay. The state of Nevada does not limit the amount of documentation fee a dealer can charge. That’s why Nevada has some of the highest documentation fees in the country, going as high as $440.
Sure, dealers bring convenience that private sellers typically don’t, but that is where PrivateAuto comes in. Our platform offers the same dealer-like experience while allowing you to buy or sell from regular people without paying hefty fees. 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.
Here’s how you can sell your car in Nevada with a few simple steps:
- 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 according to your preferences.
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 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.)
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.
Nevada Used Car Sales Tax FAQ
Can you register a car without a license in Nevada?
In order to register your vehicle in Nevada, you need a valid Nevada driver’s license. You also must be a resident of Nevada if you want to register and title your newly purchased vehicle in the state of Nevada.
How do I avoid paying sales tax on a car in Nevada?
If you want to avoid paying sales tax on a motor vehicle in Nevada, just buy the car from a private seller, and you owe no sales tax.
If you’re buying from a dealer, you might be exempt from tax if you fall into any of the following categories. Consult your local DMV office to be sure.
- If you’re a veteran, you may be exempt from paying sales tax.
- Members of the military on active duty are exempt (Active Duty Military Combat Affidavit form).
- If you’re a member of the Nevada Native American Tribe residing on tribal lands, you may qualify for an exemption. You need to submit the Application for Governmental Services Tax Exemption form at the time of registration.
- If you’re a farmer and use the vehicle to operate on the farm, you may be exempt from paying the sales tax. Fill out and submit the Farmer/Rancher Affidavit form.
Can I buy a car in Nevada to avoid sales tax?
If you buy a car from a private party in Nevada and register it in a state that levies car tax, you will not be able to avoid sales tax. Wherever you buy the vehicle, you will be required to register it in your state and pay the sales tax associated with your state.
If you’re a Utah resident and buy a car in Nevada, when you bring the car back to your home state, you will have to register and title it and pay applicable sales tax. The sales tax in Utah is 6.85% of the car’s purchase price. Utah cities and counties often levy additional tax..
If you’re a resident of the state of Oregon and you buy a car in Nevada, we have some good news for you: Oregon doesn’t impose a sales tax on car purchases, whether you buy from a dealer or in a private transaction. If you buy a car in Nevada from a private seller and register and title it in Oregon, you’re due no sales tax in either state—but still need to pay for registration and titling.
Is Nevada a zero tax state?
Nevada imposes a state sales tax of 4.6% on new or used cars purchased from dealerships. If you buy from a private party—for example, on PrivateAuto—you don’t owe sales tax.
On top of the state sales tax, those who choose to buy from car dealers should factor in the county taxes that each of the 17 counties in Nevada impose on the buyer. Here are the combined (state and county) sales tax rates in the six largest Nevada counties:
How long does title transfer take in Nevada?
Your title can be mailed to you in approximately six weeks if your car was last titled in Nevada and there are no liens on it. You can mail your application to the DMV or bring it to your local DMV office.
How do I register a car in Nevada from another state?
Here’s what you’ll need to register your out-of-state vehicle in Nevada:
- Your valid driver’s license
- Nevada proof of insurance
- Emissions vehicle inspection report
- Current registration and license plates
- Certificate of title (unless held by lienholder)
- VIN inspection
- Payment of registration and titling fees
Before registering your out-of-state vehicle, you must apply for and pass the test for your Nevada driver’s license. You must be a resident of Nevada to transfer the registration of your vehicle, and you should do that within 30 days of becoming a resident. If you fail to do it within 30 days, you may face an initial fine of $1,000.
You can find more information about out-of-state vehicle registration on the Nevada DMV's New Residents page.
Does Nevada do electronic titles?
The state of Nevada allows you to exchange vehicle and title information electronically through the Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) program. This way, the lienholders can reduce or completely eliminate paper titles and replace them with electronic titles.
The ELT program offers secure online storage and fast and easy lien management. You can also save some money on the mailing costs of liens and titles. If you’re a lienholder in the ELT program, you no longer have to apply for a duplicate title to replace a lost one or physically sign off a lien on a title or lien release.
Read more about the benefits and how to enroll in the Electronic Lien and Title program here.
Can I sell a car without the title in Nevada?
If you want to sell your car in Nevada, you must provide a properly signed-off title to the buyer in a private party sale. If you want to sell a car that doesn’t have a title, you must apply for a duplicate from the state where the car was last titled.
There is only one exception: if the vehicle was last titled in Nevada, the model year is 2010 or older, and the car has no liens (or the owner has a lien release), the buyer and seller can complete an Application for Duplicate Title and a bill of sale to transfer the title.
What is title jumping in Nevada?
“Title jumping” refers to buying a car and selling it without putting your name on the title. It is also called “floating a title.” People do this to hide who really owns a car. Title jumping is against the law in Nevada, and both the buyer and the seller can be punished and fined.
When a car is sold, the seller must sign the title and hand it over to the new owner right away. The new owner then has to register it with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles and pay applicable fees.
Do you have to return license plates in Nevada?
In Nevada, you have to keep your license plates and either put them on another car or hand them over to the DMV. Depending on the type of license plate you have, you may have 30 or 60 days to use it on another vehicle or give it back. If you sold your car, you must remove the license plates in Nevada and cancel your registration, unless you will not use the plates on another vehicle.
Which state has the lowest sales tax in the USA?
There are five states in the US that impose no sales tax on motor vehicle purchases:
- New Hampshire
The sales tax rate in these states is zero, although Alaska allows local counties to levy county taxes. If you want to avoid paying sales tax when you buy a car, you should probably plan to move to one of these five states. Don’t forget that Nevada levies no sales tax on private party purchases.
States with low sales taxes are:
Hawaii, New York, Wyoming, New Mexico, and South Dakota have a 4% sales tax on motor vehicle purchases.