Car Sales Tax in Virginia

Car purchases in Virginia are taxed at a rate of 4.15%, but additional personal property taxes are assessed annually and vary by county and vehicle.
Written by Pat Roache
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
The car sales tax in
starts at 4.15% with a minimum of $75 for all vehicle purchases.
  • In addition to the state sales and use tax rate of 4.15%, Virginians need to pay annual personal property taxes, which are assessed at the county level.
  • The state sales and use tax is assessed based on the purchase price of a vehicle after rebates and incentives but before any trade-in credit has been applied.
  • Be prepared to pay about $550.75 in additional fees ($624 for electric vehicles) before tax when registering a new car purchased from a Virginia dealership.

Virginia car sales tax: 4.15% plus local tariffs

The state sales and use tax on all new and used car purchases in the Commonwealth of Virginia is:
  • 4.15% based on the sales price, OR
  • A minimum of $75.
However, your specific motor vehicle sales tax will be determined by a combination of the following sales tax rates:
  • State sales and use tax: Standard rate of 4.15% or a minimum of $75 collected by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (VA DMV) upon registration.
  • Annual local personal property tax: County taxes on the annual assessed value of your vehicle and collected by local municipalities.

Trade-ins are taxed in Virginia—but not rebates or incentives

Trading in a car
is a great way to save money during the car buying process, but it won’t change the taxable value of your new vehicle in the state of Virginia. However, rebates and incentives are deducted from your taxable value.
Trade-in example: You trade in an old
Ford F-150
for a $3,500 credit to towards a new $28,000
Toyota RAV4
. Although your new starting price for your RAV4 will be $24,500, you’ll still need to pay 4.15% on the original sticker price of $28,000, bringing your final total up to $25,662.
Rebate example: Your dealer applies an additional $1,000 manufacturer rebate with your trade-in credit to bring your RAV4’s purchase price to $23,500. This time, you’ll only pay tax on $27,000 of value, rather than $28,000—bringing your total to $24,620.50.
MORE: Trade-in vs private sale: What’s the best way to sell your car?

How to calculate Virginia sales tax on a car

You can use a little simple math to determine the total cost for a new vehicle purchase after applying Virginia sales tax:
  1. Subtract the value of any rebates or incentives from the sticker price of your vehicle.
  2. Multiply this number by 0.0415 for your isolated sales and use tax rate.
  3. Add these two numbers together.
  4. Subtract the value of any trade-in credit to get your total vehicle purchase price.
Keep in mind: This will help you estimate a budget for your car at the dealership, but you’ll still need to account for your local personal property tax rates. To find these, you’ll need to look for personal property tax assessment guides through your local county websites.

Exemptions from Virginia car sales tax

All new and used car purchases in Virginia are subject to the state sales tax, but there is a long list of exemptions outlined under the
Code of Virginia Statute 58.1-2403
. If you qualify for a tax exemption listed in this statute, you can fill out a
Statement of Tax Exemption
to present at your vehicle’s titling. 
Here are some examples of vehicle tax exemptions in Virginia:
  • Vehicles sold to a local, state, or federal government agency
  • Vehicles purchased by disabled veterans
  • Vehicles sold and registered to a member of a recognized Native American tribe in Virginia such as the Mattaponi and Chickahominy tribes
  • Cars bought in a different state at least 12 months ago with proof of prior taxation
  • A wide variety of circumstantial gifts or transfers
You can check your eligibility for exemption and more on the
Virginia DMV website

How to estimate Virginia tax, title, and registration fees

You’ll need to pay DMV fees in addition to taxes when you register your vehicle in Virginia. The dealership where you buy your vehicle will also charge documentation fees that are unregulated by the state.
What to expect: Here are some averages to help you estimate all of the additional costs associated with your Virginia car purchase:
Average cost
Sales tax
Personal property tax
Varies by county
Vehicle registration fee
$30.75 to $35.75
Title fee
License plate transfer
Doc fees
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