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Anyway to avoid paying Seattle area sales tax on a Tesla?

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by acarney, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. acarney

    acarney Active Member

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    I live on the East side of the state (Richland, WA 99354) where I believe sales tax on cars is 8.9% (2.1% local rate, 6.5% state rate, additional use rate of 0.3%) but we don't have any Tesla dealers here. The Tesla store who I've been talking is located in Seattle and they seem to have a 10.1% tax rate. It's not a huge difference, but based on the cost of the car it's worth a difference of about $517. I'm also 205 miles away from the University Village Tesla store (who I've been talking to). If I order online at Tesla.com will they calculate and apply the vehicle tax based on my address where I live (the 8.9% rate), or will it be calculated based on a delivery store location? Can I have the car delivered to my home without an additional charge? I original was told on the phone I could since I was far enough away, but a different sales rep is saying I have to come pick it up...
     
  2. jebinc

    jebinc M3 LR AWD w/FSD and white premium interior

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    No. I tried the "Home delivery" angle, as I live in unincorporated King county (8.6% total), but not more than 50 miles from a SC. Even so, I was told the tax rate is based on the SC the car is delivered from. So, even if delivered to my house, I would still not see 8.6%. Was stuck having to take delivery at the Bellevue SC, where I was soaked for 10.1% sales tax. Buy in Portland OR - road trip?
     
  3. acarney

    acarney Active Member

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    Hmm.... could Portland be an option? Obviously I would have to pay sales tax when I bring it into Washington state, but would I be able to drive it home on a temp title/plates? Can I do that?

    Edit: Actually that's not an option, I forgot that Aug 1st WA brings back the sales tax exemption for $2500 on EVs $45k or less... I assume I would have to BUY the car in Washington to qualify for that...
     
  4. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

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    • Disagree x 2
  5. acarney

    acarney Active Member

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    Oof, as tempting as that is, isn’t it just asking for trouble when the car wouldn’t spend a minute in that state? Also, probably not an option if I need to get financing for the car...
     
    • Like x 1
  6. marksvend

    marksvend Member

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    The Spokane service center just started accepting service reservations. I wonder if they will be delivering cars there too?
     
    • Informative x 1
  7. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

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    You would get financing as the llc and the Montana firm has a list of suggested finance companies. And I’m not a lawyer but I’ve seen commercial vehicles with out of state tags all my life and they don’t seem to have a problem. Plus, if the police run your plate and the registration comes back to a Montana llc, what’s the problem? If you really want to anonymize things you can first set up a Wyoming llc and then have that llc set up the Montana one. The benefit there is that Wyoming llc’s are confidential under state law and any llc they set up would also be.

    I wouldn’t listen to me, though. I’d call them and ask questions and possibly call an attorney in my home state and ask if there’s an issue with an out of state llc’s operating there.
     
  8. im.thatoneguy

    im.thatoneguy Member

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    Portland would probably have a bit of hassle since it would require a temporary permit and then re-register in Washington and probably pay a registration fee and Tesla wouldn't take care of any of the paperwork on your behalf. Especially a hassle if you need to deal with financing and registration to the lien holder. Some people have picked up in California with temporary plates and driven up which saved a little money so it's definitely possible but I think Spokane is your best bet.
     
  9. jebinc

    jebinc M3 LR AWD w/FSD and white premium interior

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    Yes, I believe you can. My brother lives in Medford and bought a Subaru up here as it was $1000’s cheaper. Didn’t have to register it in WA, as he paid $30 for a permit to take it back to Medford. He didn’t pay any sales tax at all.
     
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  10. Seattle

    Seattle Member

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    It's apparently at least quasi-legal but morally wrong. It's like apple and google making their european profits be booked in the lowest tax area like Ireland - France is trying to block the practice, who knows if it will happen. One of my neighbors brags that his car has a montana llc ownership and license plate and he also says he's smart because he doesn't have to get his diesel car emissions checked here in WA where we have unfair emissions standards. I tried to explain my side of it to him but I'd say he just thinks I'm a fool for paying my taxes. This might give him away but he also claims the Fed is some kind of an incredible scam and we need to be on the gold standard.

    I claim it's wrong because the taxes you pay to register your car cover the costs of the infrastructure in the state you live in. Whether that is roads, police, fire of environmental protection, it's what the people of your state and their elected representatives chose to do.

    But on the original topic, I'm sure there is a way to buy your car and pay your taxes for only the domicile you live in, instead of the highest taxed rates in the state. If it's not possible that's very wrong.
     
    • Like x 8
  11. N8DGR8

    N8DGR8 Member

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    My mother-in-law lives in Prosser and bought her Volvo in Portland because Seattle didn't have the color she wanted. Purely by accident, it did end up saving her over a thousand dollars.

    It was very easy to do. The Portland Volvo dealer handed her the paperwork she needed to take to the local Washington licensing office. All legal and only slightly harder than buying the car in Washington.
     
    • Informative x 2
  12. chokai

    chokai Member

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    #12 chokai, Jul 12, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
    *edit* misread thread context.
     
  13. im.thatoneguy

    im.thatoneguy Member

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    They aren't talking about avoiding state sales tax, just city. You can buy out of state and then register in your local municipality. Seattle sales tax is much higher than smaller counties.
     
  14. jebinc

    jebinc M3 LR AWD w/FSD and white premium interior

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    Right, they may also charge a $30 "permit" fee....
     
  15. Alysashley79

    Alysashley79 Member

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    *had anyone read the fine print on the new sales tax exemption? Tesla told me that pretty much zero of their cars (unless you buy a new completely stripped down 3) will work with the exemption. They said that the retail has to be less than $45k new and $30k used.

    To the OP in wa state Tesla only has two delivery centers despite which retail location you order through or online. When we took delivery in May only Bellevue was doing deliveries and we had to pay the full 10.2% sales tax. We were given the option to take delivery in Portland and then title it in our state based on our own home county. But when I factored the 3 hour drive to Portland (and then the what if there’s an issue) and the 3 hour drive home. The $400 I would have saved wasn’t worth it for me.
     
  16. jebinc

    jebinc M3 LR AWD w/FSD and white premium interior

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    Yes, your experience and view rings true to me as well. I also took delivery in Bellevue and was soaked for the 10.x% Sales tax as well.
     
  17. marksvend

    marksvend Member

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    My friend got confirmation from the University Village Tesla store that you can take delivery in Spokane to get a lower sales tax rate.
     
    • Informative x 1
  18. jebinc

    jebinc M3 LR AWD w/FSD and white premium interior

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    8.9% - Kinda wish I took a road trip!
     
  19. acarney

    acarney Active Member

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    Model 3 SR and SR+ should qualify pretty easy. I’ve got a SR+ with a blue paint upgrade and white interior upgrade and I’ll qualify pretty easy.

    Now, I will say that long range Model 3’s don’t seem to be possible to qualify at all, I even spoke with Tesla about unbundling autopilot (to then be purchased after delivery) in the hopes that then a modest inventory vehicle discount could squeeze it under the limit, but that doesn’t seem possible.
     
    • Like x 1
  20. PNWLeccy

    PNWLeccy Member

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    A little confused how all this works but theoretically, if I live in Seattle and traveled to Spokane for pickup would I be able to pay the 8.9% vs. ~10.1% sales tax? Or would it still just be based on where you live?
     

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