If you’re planning to shop for used cars in New Hampshire, you won't have to worry about paying sales tax on your purchase. New Hampshire is one of the five states that imposes no sales tax on car purchases.
The Granite State lets you off the hook for sales tax, but you still need to pay the fees involved with registering and titling the vehicle. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of New Hampshire license plates as well.
We're about to spill the beans on everything you need to know about buying a used car privately in sales tax-free New Hampshire, and you don’t want to miss it.
Do You Pay Taxes When You Buy a Car From a Private Seller in New Hampshire?
When you buy a motor vehicle in New Hampshire, whether it’s from a private party or a car dealer, you don’t owe sales tax. Where other states rely on sales tax to fund infrastructure and programs, New Hampshire funds these from personal registration tax and property tax. As a result, New Hampshire residents pay some of the highest income and registration taxes in the country.
Title, Registration and License Plates Fees in New Hampshire
In addition to the car's purchase price, you have to factor in the title transfer, registration, and new license plate fees for your used car.
New Hampshire Title Transfer Fees
The fee for transferring a New Hampshire car title is $25. To transfer New Hampshire vehicle titles successfully, sellers must complete the transfer of title by seller section on the front of the certificate of title. You will need to submit the following to your local DMV office.
- Proof of insurance under the buyer’s name
- ID for buyer and seller
- Proof of inspection
- Completed title certificate
- A completed verification of vehicle identification (form TDMV 19A)
- Payment for the New Hampshire vehicle title transfer fee of $25
A salvage title will cost you $10 to transfer.
New Hamphsire Registration Fees
New Hampshire's registration fee ranges from $31.2 to $55.20, depending on the vehicle's weight.
- 0-3000 lbs: $31.20
- 3001-5000 lbs: $43.20
- 5001-8000 lbs: $55.20
- 8001-73,280 lbs: $ .96 per hundred lbs. gross weight
To register the vehicle in New Hampshire, you will have to present a properly assigned title certificate to the city clerk where you reside. You will also have to provide proof of residency.
New Hampshire License Plate Fees
Standard New Hampshire plates cost $8, which is included in the vehicle registration fee. If you’re applying for new license plates, you will go to your local county treasurer's office. The standard issue plates come with the "old man of the mountain" design.
The state of New Hampshire requires cars to have both front and rear plates. While New Hampshire requires a front license plate, some states require only rear plates.
New Hampshire vs Neighboring States
Consider yourself fortunate if you are purchasing a vehicle in New Hampshire: the state does not levy sales tax on used or new vehicle purchases. Be glad you don’t live in Kansas, where the sales tax rate on a car purchase is 7.5% (plus local taxes that vary depending on the county or city). California has the second-highest car sales tax after Kansas, with a whopping average of 7.2%.
If you take a look at the states bordering New Hampshire, you’ll see that the sales tax on cars in Massachusetts is 6.25%, and in Maine, it’s 5.50%. These states also impose local (city, county, or both) taxes, resulting in an even higher total sales tax on motor vehicles.
Is Buying from a Car 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 dealer, you end up coughing up more cash.
When you buy a car from a New Hampshire dealership, 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.
Additionally, dealerships charge a "documentation fee" above and beyond all the other taxes and fees you have to pay. The state limit for the documentation fee is $25.
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.
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—unlike our competitors. 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 transactional marketplace gives buyers and sellers all the tools to complete the deal, from in-app financing to secure messaging to integrated payments.
We allow you to negotiate the best price, schedule test drive meetups, and pay for the car all within our convenient app without giving out any personal information.
Whether you want to buy a car 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 New Hampshire with a few simple steps:
- Gather necessary paperwork
- Register on PrivateAuto and get verified
- List your car
- Set your terms
- Vet incoming offers
- Choose a buyer
- Schedule a meeting
- E-sign documents
- Get paid, instantly
- Transfer the title
Frequently Asked Questions
Which state has the cheapest car tax?
The states with the cheapest car tax are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon, with a tax rate of zero. Nevada has a zero tax rate on private-party car sales, though not on dealership purchases.
If you really want to avoid paying sales tax on vehicle purchases, consider moving to one of these states.
With the exception of these states, all US states levy sales tax on vehicle purchases. Some states have a tax exemption for certain types of motor vehicles. States such as Oklahoma, North Carolina, Colorado, and Alabama charge some of the lowest sales tax rates on motor vehicles (less than 3.5%).
Does New Hampshire have income tax?
New Hampshire residents have to pay a 4.00% individual income tax rate.
Can I buy a car in New Hampshire to avoid paying sales tax?
Nonresidents can’t avoid paying sales tax by purchasing a car in New Hampshire because they’ll still owe the car tax in their state of residence when they register the vehicle. Sales tax is paid to the state of registration rather than the state of purchase.
There are five states in the US that impose no car tax: Oregon, Montana, Alaska, New Hampshire, and Delaware. Unless you are an actual resident of one of these tax-free states, there is no way to avoid paying the sales tax.
And don’t forget about the costs of registration and titling. Wherever you purchase your car, you’re due registration, title, and license plate fees.
What are sales and use tax?
Sales tax, as we've established, is a percentage charged on the sale of a vehicle in a state. Sales tax is calculated on the purchase price of a vehicle.
Many states have a separate “use tax” that is pretty much the same thing as sales tax, and you’ll pay one or the other, depending on your status. In most cases, the tax rate is the same for both.
Use tax often applies when you purchase a vehicle outside of your state but intend to register and use it in your state. If you didn't pay any sales tax (or paid less than your state's standard rate) at the time of purchase, you might owe a use tax when you register the car in your state. It basically levels the playing field and makes sure that cars bought in the state and cars brought into the state are taxed the same way.
Let's say you bought a used Alfa Romeo in New Hampshire and didn’t pay any vehicle sales tax, given New Hampshire's 0% tax rate. You want to register the car in Maine. You’ll pay Maine's 5.5% tax plus any applicable county surtax.
Where is the cheapest state for car buying?
According to an iSeeCars.com analysis, the cheapest states to buy a used car are Vermont and New Hampshire. The average one-to-five-year-old car price was around $33,600 in December 2022. The average used car price in Vermont was $31,445, followed by New Hampshire with an average of $31,833.
The cost of living in Vermont and New Hampshire impacts the prices of used cars. Both states have a similar cost of living, with New Hampshire being a slightly cheaper place to live. While Vermont has a higher overall tax burden (property, income, and sales taxes), New Hampshire does not levy a sales tax and has very low vehicle registration fees.
Are used car prices dropping?
The recent Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index report indicates that the average price of used cars may be undergoing a correction. Many have jumped on the Manheim data and proclaimed that the used car market is indeed dropping. We’re seeing a bit of softening, but prices are still holding steady compared to the apocalyptic predictions of some.