If you’re planning to shop for used cars in Oregon, you won't have to worry about paying sales tax on your purchase. Oregon is one of the five states that impose no sales taxes on motor vehicle purchases.

Quick links:

Are there exceptions to OR sales tax?

What fees do I owe when buying a used car?

Is there sales tax in neighboring states?

Is it better to go to a dealer?

The Beaver 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 Oregon license plates as well.

We're about to spill the beans on everything you need to know about buying a car from a private party in sales tax-free Oregon, and you don’t want to miss it.

Do You Pay Taxes When You Buy a Car From a Private Seller in Oregon?

When you buy a motor vehicle in Oregon, 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, Oregon funds these from personal income tax and property tax. As a result, Oregon residents pay some of the highest income and property taxes in the country.

Car tax on top of a blue wooden car.

Like in other states, you’ll still have to pay registration, license, and vehicle title fees after buying a used car in Oregon.

Registration, Title, and License Fees in Oregon

Beyond the car’s purchase price, you have to factor in registration, title transfer, and license plates fees for your used car.

Oregon Registration Fees

Registration fees in Oregon depend on the vehicle’s weight, age, and combined MPG (miles per gallon) rating. The Oregon DMV suggests you use fueleconomy.gov to find out how much you’ll pay for your vehicle’s registration, but generally, the amount ranges between $126 and $316.

To reduce the registration fee, the state of Oregon offers its residents the OReGO app, which allows enrollees to pay 1.9 cents for each mile driven in Oregon. If you have a used car and enroll in OReGO, your registration cost will be $86, while the rate is doubled if you own a new vehicle.

Before registering your car, you must first title it.

Oregon Title Fees

Similarly to registration fees, the title transfer fee depends on your vehicle’s combined MPG (miles per gallon) rating. The amount ranges from $101 to 192.

A salvage title will cost you $27.

If you’re 31–60 days late to transfer your title, you’ll be fined $25 on top of the transfer fee. If you fail to transfer your vehicle’s title for more than 60 days, there’s a $50 late fee.

Here’s what you’ll need to transfer a title in Oregon:

  1. A completed title application form.
  2. Original title or ownership document. If the title is lost, you need to provide an odometer disclosure and get a replacement title before you can transfer it for vehicle models year 2011 or newer. If your vehicle is model 2010 or older, complete a Replacement Title Application form.
  3. If the original title was issued by another state, contact that state and get a replacement before applying for an Oregon title. You’ll need a VIN inspection ($7) which can be done during your appointment at DMV.
  4. Original releases or bills of sale from any previous owners. Get the original lien release from previous security interest holders.
  5. An odometer disclosure.
  6. The title fee and any registration and plate fees.

The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles can help you calculate your title fees and prepare all the necessary documentation online for your passenger vehicle.

Oregon License Plate Fees

If you’re applying for a title transfer and license plates, you can use the ORDMV’s calculator to figure out how much you owe. Standard Oregon license plates cost $25.50. You’ll pay $6 to transfer Oregon plates to a new vehicle (and owe registration and title fees if the vehicle you’re transferring the plates to doesn’t belong to you).

You can also apply for custom and special plates, for which you pay additional fees. For more details, check out the official Oregon state guide to license plates.

The state of Oregon requires cars to have two license plates, one in the front and one in the rear. Some states require front license plates in addition to rear plates, while other states only require rear license plates. By Oregon law, it is forbidden to alter your plates or cover the numbers, letters, tags, or stickers with a frame.

Oregon vs Neighboring States

If you’re buying a vehicle in Oregon, consider yourself lucky: the state levies no sales tax on used or new vehicle purchases. Be glad you don’t live in California, where the sales tax rate on car purchases is 7.2% (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 7.5%.

If you take a look at the states bordering Oregon, you’ll see that the sales tax on vehicle purchases in Washington is 6.8%; in Nevada, it’s 6.9%; and in Idaho, it's 6%. These states also impose local (city, county, or both) taxes, resulting in a significantly higher total sales tax on motor vehicles.  

If you want to buy a car in these states around Oregon—or anywhere else where sales taxes are levied—but you’re not sure how much tax you’ll pay, here’s our used car sales tax calculator to help you figure it out.

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 dealer, you end up coughing up more cash.

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 average documentation fee in the state of Oregon is $60, with a state limit of $150.

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 buy a vehicle or are trying to sell your used car for top dollar, PrivateAuto will help you get the deal done.

Sell your car with PrivateAuto

Get started with PrivateAuto today.

Here’s how you can sell your car in Oregon 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 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.

Oregon Used Car Sales Tax FAQ

Do Oregon residents have to pay Washington sales tax on cars?

If you’re an Oregon resident and you buy a used car in Washington, you do not pay Washington sales tax. Sales tax in Washington does not apply to sales of motor vehicles to nonresidents that will use the vehicle out of state.

According to Washington law, a vehicle bought in Washington is exempt from sales tax in that state if it is immediately registered and licensed under the laws of the buyer’s state.

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

Nonresidents can’t avoid paying sales tax by purchasing a car in Oregon, because they’ll still owe the car tax in their state of residence when they register the vehicle.

Sales tax papers on the office table.

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, you’re likely to pay sales tax in the state where you register and title the vehicle.

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.

Can I buy a car in Oregon and bring it to California?

If you buy a car in Oregon and bring it to California, you usually have to pay sales tax on the car in California based on the purchase price or the fair market value of the vehicle, whichever is higher.

You might be able to get a credit on your California use tax if you paid sales tax in another state that was equal to or higher than the rate in California. This rule doesn’t actually apply to Oregon, as the state of Oregon levies no sales tax on motor vehicle purchases. But if you want to register and use your Oregon-purchased car in California, sales or use tax is due.

If you don't pay your California use tax on a vehicle from another state, you could face fines and interest, so make sure to follow California's tax rules.

Can a non-resident register a car in Oregon?

To be able to register a car in Oregon, you must provide proof that you are a resident of or live in Oregon. Fill out the Certification of Oregon Residency or Domicile form when applying for vehicle registration.

However, certain exemptions may apply if:

  • Your business owns the vehicle and has a main office, branch office, or warehouse in Oregon
  • You use the motor vehicle in Oregon for pay or profit (other than seasonal farm work)
  • Your car is:
  • Usually located in Oregon when you are not in Oregon
  • Used mainly for personal transportation in the state of Oregon
  • A private passenger vehicle or a vehicle with a loaded weight under 10,000 pounds
  • Not a camper or a motorhome

What is proof of residency for vehicle registration in Oregon?

To be able to register a vehicle in Oregon, you must provide proof of residency with at least one of the following proofs of address:

  • Proof of identity and date of birth document (birth certificate, Canadian birth certificate, US Consular Report of Birth Abroad, US Government-issued Certification of Report of Birth, US passport, not expired more than five years, etc.) that includes applicant’s name and current residence address
  • An Oregon student card
  • A Medicare card or Medicaid card
  • US Tribal ID card
  • Mortgage documents or rental or lease agreements
  • Monthly rental receipts or letters from a hotel, motel, campground, or recreational vehicle park
  • A loan agreement, payment booklet, voucher, statement or other financial record
  • Any document delivered to the current resident address by the US Postal Service, FedEx, UPS, or other delivery service.
  • Oregon vehicle title or registration documents belonging to the primary owner listed and containing the owner’s residence address
  • Any document that proves and includes both your identity and date of birth. If the document does not contain both, you must present an additional document.

How to buy a used car in Oregon?

Car keys on top of a one-hundred dollar bill.

Here are the necessary steps you should follow when buying a used car from a private party in Oregon:

  1. Find a car you like. It's better to buy from a private owner than from a car dealer in Oregon because cutting out the middleman is usually a great way to save some cash.
  2. Set a price with the seller.
  3. Arrange a meeting with the seller. Setting up the first meeting means trading personal information and having a lot of back-and-forth between the buyer and the seller. PrivateAuto is the best app for buying and selling cars because it offers a safe way to meet the seller without giving out personal information.
  4. Plan a test drive. When you find the perfect used car and agree on a price, it's time to take the car for a test drive.
  5. Handle the paperwork. By this, we mean prepare the vehicle title, odometer disclosure, Oregon bill of sale, and check the VIN number.
  6. Pay the seller. Did we mention our ground-breaking PrivateAuto Pay gateway? It allows you to send money right away, no matter the amount and time of day. We don’t care about after hours, weekends, or national holidays. And we don't charge a fee to process payments.
  7. Have the seller transfer vehicle ownership. This is the most important step. Once the seller signs the title and hands it over to you, the vehicle is all yours. (You still need to register it and pay the car tax, but technically, the vehicle is yours.)
  8. Register the car in your name and pay sales taxes and additional fees.
  9. Get new license plates.

Where is the cheapest place to buy a car in the US?

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 or an income tax and has very low vehicle registration fees.

The states with the cheapest car tax are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon, with a tax rate of zero. If you really want to avoid car sales tax, you might consider moving to one of these states.

Is Oregon a tax friendly state?

According to Kiplinger, Oregon is not a tax-friendly state. While it has no sales tax, Oregon has one of the highest income tax rates in the country.

On the other hand, Oregon’s tax landscape favors retirees. The state does not tax Social Security benefits, but it does tax withdrawals from retirement accounts and other types of retirement income. Pension income from both the government and the private sector is also partially taxed.

How long do you need to live in Oregon to be a resident?

You must physically stay in the state of Oregon for 12 consecutive months in order to establish residency or domicile in the state. You can start the process of becoming a resident as soon as you arrive. You are considered a resident of Oregon and have to pay taxes if you live there for at least 6 out of every 12 months.

Further Reading

Can I Transfer a Vehicle Title Online?

How Long Can You Finance a Used Car?

Safe Ways to Transfer Money in a Private Car Sale

4 Tips for Buying a Car Out-of-State

How to Change License Plates?

How to Buy a Car Remotely

Are Used Car Prices Falling?

Best Places for Turo Hosts to Sell Fleet Cars

How to Sell a Car With a Salvage Title?