How To Pay Your South Dakota Excise Tax

South Dakota charges a 4% vehicle excise tax on every vehicle sold in the state. This tax is payable upon registering the car. Learn more here!
Written by Jason Tushinski
Reviewed by Amy Bobinger
All motor car owners must pay a vehicle excise tax on all passenger vehicles purchased in South Dakota at a rate of 4% of the purchase price.
Taxes aren’t considered fun by anyone (ok, except maybe accountants). Still, you need to know what taxes you need to pay and when to pay them, or else you could be in serious trouble. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide about South Dakota’s vehicle excise tax, which is levied on any vehicle purchased in The Mount Rushmore State.
In this article, we’ll cover how much of an excise tax you’ll have to pay, when you have to pay it, and where that money goes. Let’s get started!

What is a vehicle excise tax in South Dakota?

If you buy a passenger car in South Dakota, you’ll have to pay a 4% vehicle excise tax on it, payable to your local county treasurer at the time you register your vehicle. This excise tax is levied in lieu of sales tax.
An excise tax is a tax levied on specific goods or services to ensure revenue for a Government (in this case, the State of South Dakota), as well as to discourage the use and consumption of products deemed harmful to the environment—like gasoline-powered vehicles, which emit harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. 
The particulars of the South Dakota vehicle excise tax are laid out in
of South Dakota’s Codified Laws, but we’ll break down the important parts so you don’t have to strain both your eyes and your brain interpreting legal jargon:
  • The South Dakota vehicle excise tax is 4% of the vehicle’s actual purchase price (not the MSRP)
  • The vehicle excise tax is levied at the time of purchase, and is payable at the time of vehicle registration 
  • The vehicle excise tax is not an annual tax
Upon buying a car in South Dakota, you must register it within 45 days of the purchase price, and that’s when you’ll pay the excise tax.
For more details on the South Dakota vehicle excise tax, visit the
South Dakota Department of Revenue's guide
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Calculating your excise tax payment

Calculating the amount you owe for the South Dakota vehicle excise tax is simple—it is 4% of the purchase price. So, as an example, let’s say you purchased a new
Ford F-150
for a purchase price $35,000, all taxes and fees included. So in this case, you would 4% of $35,000, which is $1,400—that’s what you would owe in vehicle excise tax. The vehicle excise tax is payable to the
county treasurer office
where you register your vehicle.

Penalties for nonpayment

You won’t be able to register your vehicle in South Dakota without paying the vehicle excise tax—you have 45 days from the purchase date to register your vehicle in the state.
If you don’t register your vehicle and pay the vehicle excise tax, you’ll be subject to both interest payments as well as a one-time penalty:
  • Interest: Interest on the amount of tax owed for each month that payment is late—either 1% or $5, whichever is more for the first month, and 1% per month after 45 days from the date of purchase.
  • Penalty: A one-time penalty equal to 10% of tax owed, or $10, whichever is more, will be automatically applied to an application for vehicle registration made more than 60 days after the purchase date. 

How to avoid excise tax in South Dakota

As of now, the State of South Dakota does not list any exemptions for the vehicle excise tax—everyone must pay it. But luckily, you now have all the information need to pay your excise tax in South Dakota!
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