How Much are Used Car Sales Taxes in Connecticut?

When buying a used car in Connecticut, forewarned is forearmed when it comes to the state’s vehicle sales tax.
The Connecticut vehicle sales tax rate is 6.35% for purchases under $50,000 or 7.75% for vehicles over $50,000. Connecticut has no local sales taxes. So, 7.75% is the maximum you’ll pay in sales tax in Connecticut, unlike other states where local governments can tack on additional car taxes over and above the state’s tax rate.

Keep reading to get the scoop on how vehicles are taxed in Connecticut.

Do you Pay Taxes When you Purchase a Car From a Private Party in Connecticut?

You’ll pay a 6.35% or 7.75% tax rate, whether you buy from a private seller or a car dealer. Connecticut tax law does not discriminate between the two. Unless you qualify for a tax exemption (discussed below), you are required to pay tax on your vehicle purchase.
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What is Sales and Use Tax?

Sales tax is a percentage of a car's purchase price owed to the state of Connecticut when you buy a car and register it in Connecticut. The use tax ensures that vehicles purchased within the state and cars brought into the state are taxed identically.

Use taxes are pretty much the same thing, but for buying out-of-state vehicles. When you purchase a car out-of-state and register it in Connecticut, the state levies a 6.35% or 7.75% use tax (the use tax rate is the same as the Connecticut car sales tax rate).

If you paid sales tax on the vehicle purchase in another state, Connecticut deducts that tax so that you are not taxed twice. There are three potential scenarios.

1. You paid no sales tax in another state, in which case you owe the full 6.35% or 7.75% Connecticut sales tax. Let's say you bought a used car in Delaware and didn’t pay any sales tax, given Delaware's 0% tax rate. You’ll pay Connecticut’s full 6.35% or 7.75% rate.
2. You paid less than 6.35% or 7.75% sales tax in another state, in which case Connecticut charges you the difference. Let’s say you bought a used car in Georgia for $23,000. Georgia car sales tax rates are 4%, so you paid $954.5 (.0415 X $23,000) in Georgia tax. When you go to register your car in Connecticut, your total tax bill will be $1,460.50 minus the $954.50 you already paid in Georgia, for a total tax due of $506 to Connecticut.
3. You paid more than 6.35% in the other state (for example, Tennessee levies a 7% tax on every used vehicle purchase). You can receive credit for out-of-state sales tax paid by submitting the right documentation (purchase invoice and tax receipt) to the appropriate state agency.

Connecticut License Plates, Title And Registration Fees

In addition to the state sales tax, you may owe other fees when buying a car and registering it in Connecticut, such as a vehicle title fee and registration fee.

To register your vehicle at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) branch office, you must show proof of car insurance. The first time you register a passenger vehicle, it will cost you $120 plus the $25 title transfer fee.

Connecticut's standard license plate fee is $8. A vanity plate costs an additional $94.

For the full scoop on Connecticut license plate and vehicle registration costs or any additional DMV fees you may face, see the Connecticut DMV page.
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How is Used Car Sales Tax Calculated in Connecticut ?

Sales tax is a percentage of a car's purchase price owed to the state of Connecticut when you buy a car and register it in Connecticut. The use tax ensures that vehicles purchased within the state and cars brought into the state are taxed identically.
If the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) suspects that the purchase price of the vehicle was artificially decreased, they will calculate sales tax based on the NADA value, or the retail price of vehicles.

The DRS establishes your car's worth by referring to the NADA value or bill of sale value (whichever is higher). If they conclude that the NADA is greater than its purchase price, they can opt to base sales tax on the NADA value.

It is important to note that underreporting the purchase price of a vehicle in order to avoid paying sales tax is illegal.

How to Pay Connecticut Vehicle Sales Tax

Here's how to pay the sales tax owed after buying a vehicle from a private seller in Connecticut:

To transfer ownership of the vehicle, you and the seller must complete the necessary paperwork, including the bill of sale (when you buy a used car on PrivateAuto, we provide an official Connecticut bill of sale and prompt both of you to sign it in our app at the appropriate stage of the transaction process). You'll need the following documents to transfer car ownership in a private transaction:

1. The original car title.
2. Proof of Connecticut car insurance.
3. Valid driver’s licenses or IDs
4. Calculate the amount of sales tax due. Multiply the vehicle's purchase price by 6.35% or 7.75%.
5. Submit payment for all taxes and fees.
6. Get payment proof from the Connecticut DRS.
7. Get your registration, title, and new license plates. Once you've paid the sales tax and turned in the necessary documentation, you'll get your new registration and title for the car. The title and registration will show that you bought the car and that the sales tax has been paid. You will get your new license plates in the mail.

How to Avoid Paying Sales Tax on Vehicles in Connecticut?

Motor vehicle tax is something you can't avoid—it's a part of our lives. You are required by law to pay sales tax on private used vehicle purchases in Connecticut or any other state that charges sales tax—unless you meet a sales tax exemption.

Sales Tax Exemptions in Connecticut

Here are the exempt vehicles in Connecticut:

Farm vehicles
Ambulance vehicles
Driver training vehicles
Cars involved in interstate commerce
Hybrid and high miles per gallon vehicles
Commercial vehicles
If you fall into any of those categories, you will need to fill out and submit the appropriate exemption certificate.

For more details, see the Connecticut DMV page.

Is Purchasing a Car from a Dealer Better?

Connecticut residents mistakenly believe that buying a car from a dealer saves money. The opposite is true: going to a Connecticut dealer costs you more money, and it's a pain—unless spending 3 hours in a Connecticut dealership is your idea of a good time.

Dealerships charge documentation fees above and beyond all the other Connecticut taxes and fees you have to pay (the other taxes and fees are exactly the same whether you buy from a dealer or a private seller, by the way). Average document fees in Connecticut are $400.
Used car dealerships typically charge higher prices. Their business model is based on buying low and selling high to generate the spread that keeps them in business. To get the best deals, skip the middleman and go directly to private sellers.

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 we exist. PrivateAuto gives you dealer-like convenience in the palm of your hand while allowing you to transact peer-to-peer with regular folks like yourself.

By shopping for used cars privately on PrivateAuto, you avoid the doc fee and get lower prices.

Connecticut Sales Tax Calculator

If you're in the market for a used vehicle, you'll want to calculate the applicable sales tax. With PrivateAuto's used car sales tax calculator, calculating sales tax has never been easier. This free online car sales tax calculator calculates the amount of tax you must pay on a used car purchase based on your tax rate (6.35% or 7.75%) and the vehicle's price.

Buy or Sell a Car Online With PrivateAuto

PrivateAuto is the only transactional marketplace where you can sell used vehicles conveniently as well as purchase them.
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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. You can also schedule a test drive and negotiate the price without ever disclosing your personal information.

Here are 10 easy steps to selling your vehicle in Connecticut:

1. Gather the required paperwork for selling a car in Connecticut
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 title

Vehicle Sales Tax in Connecticut FAQ

How do I calculate Connecticut sales tax on an Aston Martin?

Which states have the lowest car sales tax rates?

How to register a car in Connecticut?