How Much are Used Car Sales Taxes in Alaska?

Alaska doesn’t charge vehicle sales tax. Before you get too excited, there’s a bit more to the story. Depending on where you live in Alaska, you could pay between zero and 9.5% vehicle sales tax. That’s quite the range, right? If you’re lucky, you owe no tax. If you’re unlucky, you'll pay one of the highest tax rates in the country on your vehicle purchase.
Even though the state of Alaska doesn’t have a vehicle sales tax, some regional Alaskan governments do. And some of them, as you’ll see, levy a pretty hefty one.

We're about to spill the beans on everything you need to know about Alaska's complicated sales tax landscape

Even if you’re in a 0% sales tax area of Alaska, you still need to pay the fees involved with registering the vehicle and transferring the title. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of Alaska license plates as well.

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

When you buy a motor vehicle in Alaska, whether it’s from a private party or a car dealer, you don’t owe sales tax to the state. Where other states rely on sales tax to fund infrastructure and programs, Alaska funds these from personal registration tax and property tax. As a result, Alaska residents pay some of the highest income and registration taxes in the country.

While the state of Alaska doesn’t charge vehicle sales tax, some of its local governments do.

Discretionary Sales Surtax

Some Alaska regional governments charge their own sales tax, called a "discretionary sales surtax.”

Alaska doesn’t really have counties. Instead, it has “county equivalents,” sometimes referred to as boroughs and other times called by other titles. For this article’s purposes, we’ll call them all “counties.” Some charge sales tax, and others don’t. Here they are with their respective tax rates:


Tax Rate

Aleutians East Borough


Aleutians West Census Area


Anchorage Borough


Bethel Census Area


Bristol Bay Borough


City and Borough of Juneau


Denali Borough


Dillingham Census Area


Fairbanks North Star Borough


Haines Borough


Hoonah-Angoon Borough


Juneau Borough


Kenai Peninsula Borough


Ketchikan Gateway Borough


Kodiak Island Borough


Lake and Peninsula Borough


Matanuska-Susitna Borough


Nome Census Area


North Slope Borough


Northwest Arctic Borough


Petersburg Borough


Prince of Wales-Outer Ketchikan Borough


Sitka Borough


Skagway Borough


Southeast Fairbanks Census Area


Valdez-Cordova Census Area


Wade Hampton Census Area


Wrangell Borough


Yakutat Borough


Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area


Say you're in the Aleutians West Census Area and you find a stunning Toyota 4Runner for $45,000.

The Aleutians West Census Area surtax is 4%. This means you'll owe $1,800 in county surtax ($45,000 multiplied by .04).

Title, Registration and License Plates Fees in Alaska

In addition to a vehicle’s purchase price, you'll need to pay for the title transfer, registration, and new license plate fees for your used car.

Alaska Title Transfer Fees

When purchasing a used car, you will need to provide your local Alaska DMV office with the following:

A completed title signed by the sellers and you
A bill of sale (optional)
An odometer verification
A valid driver’s license
A completed title and registration application
Payment for the title transfer fees: $15

See our guide to transferring an Alaska car title for more information on the process.

Alaska Vehicle Registration Fee

Vehicle registration costs $100 plus local tax (if applicable). To register your vehicle, you will first need to transfer the title.
You will need to submit the following documents to your local DMV office:

Completed vehicle title
Application for title and registration (Form 812)
Payment for all applicable fees and taxes

Alaska License Plates Fee

A standard Alaska license plate cost is included in the price of your initial two-year registration fee. If you want a personalized plate, it will cost between $30 and $100. Additional taxes and fees apply to both new and renewal registrations.

Is Purchasing a Car from a Dealer Better?

Many people believe that buying from a car dealer is a magical way to avoid all of the hassle (and possibly a fee here and there). In fact, going to an Alaska dealer will cost you more money, and it's not all that hassle free—unless spending 4 hours in a dealership is your idea of a good time.

Car 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 Alaska is $200.
Dealers usually charge higher prices on 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—unlike our competitors.

When you shop for used cars from private sellers on PrivateAuto, you can avoid the doc fee and get lower prices.

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.

Shop used cars for sale by owner today!

Here’s how you can sell your car in Alaska with a few simple steps:

1. Gather necessary paperwork
2. Register on PrivateAuto and get verified
3. List your car
4. Set your terms
5. Vet incoming offers
6. Choose a buyer
7. Schedule a meeting
8. E-sign documents
9. Get paid, instantly
10. Transfer the car title

Sales Tax in Alaska FAQ

Which state has the lowest car sales tax rate?

The states with the cheapest car tax are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon, with a tax rate of zero. Nevada's tax rates are zero on private-party car sales, though not on dealership purchases.

If you really want to avoid car sales tax, you might consider moving to one of these states.

With the exception of the above states, each state charges sales tax on every private-party car purchase. States such as Oklahoma, North Carolina, Colorado, and Alabama charge some of the lowest vehicle sales tax rates on motor vehicles.

Can I buy a car in Alaska to avoid paying sales tax?

What are sales and use tax?

Does Alaska have excise taxes?

What is the best selling car in Alaska?