How Much are Used Car Sales Taxes in Kansas?

When buying a used car in Kansas, don’t get caught off guard by the state’s vehicle sales tax. Kansas has a 6.5% statewide sales tax on vehicle purchases.
Kansas charges 6.5% of your vehicle's purchase price. On top of that, you may owe local taxes as well. And then there are the fees.

Keep reading to get the scoop on Kansas vehicle sales taxes and fees.

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

When making a car purchase in Kansas, you’ll pay 6.5% of the vehicle’s purchase price, whether you buy from a private seller or a car dealer. Kansas sales tax law does not discriminate between the two. Unless you qualify for a tax exemption (discussed below), you have to pay tax on your vehicle purchase.
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In addition to the 6.5% state tax, you may owe local sales taxes on your vehicle purchase.

How Local Vehicle Sales Tax Works In Kansas

Kansas municipalities and counties charge local sales taxes. These are in addition to the state’s 6.5%. Make sure to contact your local county treasurer's office to find out the exact sales tax rate you have to pay.

Understanding the Tax Basis of a Car Sale

Car sales tax is owed on the value of the car you purchased. The value is assumed to be the car’s purchase price, unless the purchase price is suspiciously low.

Some people get the brilliant idea to negotiate an artificially low purchase price, then pay the difference in a side transaction. Don’t do this; your county treasurer's office is way ahead of you.

The county treasurer establishes what the car is worth on the open market (its fair market value, or FMV) by referring to the NADA value or other reliable sources on used car prices.

If the county treasurer's office establishes that the car's FMV is significantly greater than its purchase price, they can opt to base the tax on the NADA assessed value.

Note that underreporting the purchase price of a vehicle in order to avoid paying sales tax is illegal.
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What is the Compensating Use Tax?

The compensating use tax is a percentage of a car's purchase price owed to the state of Kansas when a car is brought into the state for registration.

When purchasing a vehicle out-of-state you will have to pay a 6.5% use tax (the same rate as the sales tax) when you register the car in Kansas. On top of that, you may owe local sales taxes as well.

If you paid sales tax on car purchases in another state, Kansas deducts that tax so that you are not taxed twice. There are four potential scenarios (leaving out local taxes for simplicity).

1. If you paid less than 6.5%, you will have to pay the difference. In which case Kansas charges you the difference. Let’s say you bought a used car in Iowa for $25,000. Iowa sales tax rates are 5%, so you paid $1,250 (.05 X $25,000) in Iowa tax. When you go to register your car in Kansas, your total tax bill will be $1,625 minus the $1,250 you already paid in Kansas. You can expect to pay $375 to Kansas.
2. You paid exactly 6.5% sales tax in Arkansas or one of the other states with the same 6.5% sales tax rate as Kansas, in which case Kansas will give you a pass.
3. You paid no sales tax in another state. Let's say you bought a used car in Montana and didn’t pay sales tax, given Montana’s 0% tax rate. You’ll pay Kansas 6.5% use tax.
4. You paid more than 6.5% in the other state (for example, Tennessee levies a 7% tax on every used vehicle purchase). We wish we could tell you that Kansas will give you a refund, but no. At least they won’t charge you any more tax.

How to Avoid Paying Sales Tax on Vehicles in Kansas?

Motor vehicle taxes are part of our lives. There are the only two ways we know of to avoid paying sales tax on a vehicle purchase.

1. Move to a state that doesn’t have a vehicle sales tax and buy a car there.
2. Meet a sales tax exemption in Kansas.

Kansas Car Sales Tax Exemptions

Here are the exemptions for Kansas motor vehicle sales taxes:

1. Transfers made solely in exchange for stock. There is no tax due when an individual transfers a vehicle to a corporation solely in exchange for stock in the corporation. If the individual receives anything other than stock in the corporation, the transfer is subject to sales tax based on the vehicle's fair market value.
2. Sales between members of one's immediate family. The sale or transfer of a car to a family member is tax-free.
3. Vehicles purchased by U.S. government agencies and instrumentalities.
4. Vehicles purchased by the state of Kansas and Kansas political subdivisions (cities, counties, school districts, etc.)
5. Vehicles purchased for use by elementary and secondary schools .
6. Vehicles purchased by parent-teacher organizations (PTA or PTO).
7. Nonprofit organizations.

License Plates, Title And Registration Fees in Kansas

In addition to vehicle sales taxes, you owe other fees when buying a car and registering it in Kansas, such as a registration fee and a vehicle title transfer fee.

To register your vehicle at the Kansas county treasurer’s office, you must show proof of car insurance. First-time passenger vehicle registration costs $42.50 or $52.25, depending on the gross weight of your vehicle, plus the $10 title fee.

Kansas's standard license plate fee is included in the registration fee. A personalized plate costs $45.50.

Is Purchasing a Car from a Dealer Better?

Many people believe that buying a car from a Kansas dealer will save them money. Going to a Kansas dealer is more expensive.

Dealerships charge documentation fees above and beyond all the other Kansas 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). An average documentation fee in Kansas is $285.
Used car dealerships usually have higher prices. Their business model is based on buying low and selling high in order to generate the spread that allows them to stay in business. Skip the middleman and deal directly with private sellers to get the best deals.

We admit that dealers provide a level of convenience that you do not typically get when buying from a private seller. That is, after all, why we exist. PrivateAuto puts dealer-like convenience in the palm of your hand while also allowing you to transact with regular people like yourself.

When you buy a used car from a private seller on PrivateAuto, you avoid the doc fee and get a better deal.

Kansas Car 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 vehicle sales tax calculator calculates the amount of tax you must pay on a used car purchase based on the combined state and local sales tax rate in Kansas (6.5%) and the vehicle's price.

Sell or Buy a Vehicle Online With PrivateAuto

PrivateAuto is the only transactional marketplace where you can buy and sell used vehicles safely and conveniently.
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Browse used cars for sale

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 via our banking gateway, PrivateAuto Pay. You can also schedule a test drive and negotiate the price without ever disclosing your personal information.

Here are the steps to selling your car in Kansas.

1. Gather the required paperwork for selling a vehicle in Kansas
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

Kansas Vehicle Sales Tax FAQ

Does Kansas have excise taxes?

Kansas has several excise taxes. These include:

- Tire excise tax
- Vehicle rental excise tax
- Liquor drink tax
- Cigarette and tobacco products tax

Do I need to submit a vehicle sales tax exemption certificate in Kansas?

What is a quiet title in Kansas?

What does PWR mean on Kansas plates?

Is Kansas or Missouri more tax friendly?

Where do I register my car in Kansas?

Which states have the lowest car sales tax rates?

With the exception of the above states, all US states charge sales tax on private sales. Oklahoma, North Dakota, North Carolina, Colorado, Wyoming, and Alabama charge 4.5% or less vehicle sales tax.