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Seattle area RTA registration tax

drawfour

Member
Mar 10, 2018
774
709
Seattle, WA
So wondering from anyone living in the Seattle area who has the additional RTA tax for registration -- how much is it for the Model 3? IIRC, it's based on the value of the car, and they depreciate at a much slower rate than something like KBB would show. So wondering what are the final fees for registration/tax/title?
 

gearchruncher

Active Member
Sep 20, 2016
2,186
2,727
Seattle, WA

Kuhz

Active Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,901
2,071
Mars
You sure they count it off the 35k base price? If so that’s a good deal for the LR owners (coupled with the federal and state incentives)
 

drawfour

Member
Mar 10, 2018
774
709
Seattle, WA
RTA tax is 1.1% of the current value. Depreciation doesn't matter when you buy it, it's 100% of the value. The law says it's based on MSRP, and the MSRP of a Model 3 is $35,000. So the Tax should be $385 when you buy the car.

Here's the depreciation schedule for years in the future

However, the WA House and Senate passed a bill to make depreciation more realalistic going forward, so that table isn't relevant to future years.
Can't be right. MSRP is set by Tesla. $35k is the base. We're not getting the base. So it should be 1.1% of whatever you bought it for, since you are buying it from the manufacturer, and their price is, by definition, the suggested retail price. Maybe the software options might not be considered part of MSRP, but all of the hardware has to be.

I didn't know about the updated depreciation schedule, so thanks for that.
 

gearchruncher

Active Member
Sep 20, 2016
2,186
2,727
Seattle, WA
From the Sound Transit FAQ:

The RTA tax is calculated from the depreciated value of your vehicle. It is determined by using a formula based on the vehicle manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), or purchase price for commercial trucks and commercial trailers, and a depreciation schedule set by state law based on the age of the vehicle.

If they wanted it to be purchase price, they would have done it for all vehicles, not just commercial trucks and trailers.

On my Model X, the RTA tax is on an MSRP of $95,500, which is exactly the MSRP that Tesla listed a 90D at, and the exact price of the model listed on my order sheet. Doesn't matter that it had options on it to raise it higher.

You may be correct that they have a different MSRP for the SR and LR, so it's probably on $44,000, not $35,000. $484 in that case. However, Tesla is kinda tricky in that they consider the LR battery to be an "option" instead of a "model" like they do on the S/X. A model 3 order sheet shows $35,000 as the base price of the car, and the battery as a $9,000 option, so I maintain that it will be based on that.
 
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FrozenPine

New Member
Apr 3, 2018
4
5
Seattle
So wondering from anyone living in the Seattle area who has the additional RTA tax for registration -- how much is it for the Model 3? IIRC, it's based on the value of the car, and they depreciate at a much slower rate than something like KBB would show. So wondering what are the final fees for registration/tax/title?

RTA for me is $649 which is 1.1% of car with configured options plus $1000 delivery/documentation fee ($59,000).
 

gearchruncher

Active Member
Sep 20, 2016
2,186
2,727
Seattle, WA
RTA for me is $649 which is 1.1% of car with configured options plus $1000 delivery/documentation fee ($59,000).

I'd push back on that and dispute it. From the RTA FAQ:

This method of calculating the tax ensures that owners of the same type of vehicle pay the same amount of tax. The MVET value is not based on the fair market value of the vehicle and can be either higher or lower than the vehicle's fair market value or the amount the owner paid for the vehicle.

When is the RTA tax collected?
  • When you renew your tabs.
  • When you purchase a new or used vehicle and register it in your name.
Can I dispute my RTA vehicle valuation?
Yes. If you have questions about your vehicle valuation or to dispute it, contact us:
  • Phone: 360.902.3770
  • Call 711
State law requires us to use the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) to calculate the tax. When the MSRP isn't available at the time of initial registration in Washington State, we'll determine the value using:

  • Any guidebook, report, or compendium of recognized standing in the automotive industry.
  • or
  • The selling price and year of sale of the vehicle.

The only time the selling price should be used is when the MSRP isn't available, and they specifically list that all owners of the same "model" of car should pay the same, and purchase price doesn't do that. There's no reason they shouldn't be using the $35,000 MSRP of the car for this tax, and it should never factor in delivery price. They had no issue with my Model X using the $95,500 MSRP instead of the purchase price with options + delivery.

One possibility is that what you paid is what Tesla charged you so far, but you often get a check back after purchase for over-payment. Has Tesla settled that yet?
 
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FrozenPine

New Member
Apr 3, 2018
4
5
Seattle
I'd push back on that and dispute it. From the RTA FAQ:



The only time the selling price should be used is when the MSRP isn't available, and they specifically list that all owners of the same "model" of car should pay the same, and purchase price doesn't do that. There's no reason they shouldn't be using the $35,000 MSRP of the car for this tax, and it should never factor in delivery price. They had no issue with my Model X using the $95,500 MSRP instead of the purchase price with options + delivery.

One possibility is that what you paid is what Tesla charged you so far, but you often get a check back after purchase for over-payment. Has Tesla settled that yet?


Thank you, I pick up car tomorrow. I was basing my comment off of the purchase agreement.
Total Cash Price
A. Cash price of motor vehicle, options, accessories and fees.
(See attached Vehicle Configuration for itemization.) $ 59,000.00 (A)
B. Less Tesla Vehicle Trade-In (see Trade-in Annex) $ 5,800.00 (B)
C. Other $ (C)
D. Other $ (D)
E. Subtotal of Taxable Items (A through D) $ 53,200.00 (E)
F. Sales Tax $ 2,204.80 (F)
G. Lien Balance due on Trade-in $ 0.00 (G)
Total Cash Price (E through G) $ 55,404.80 (1)
2. Amounts Paid to Government Agencies*
A. Registration/Transfer/Titling Fees $ 125.75 (A)
B. Vehicle License Fees $ 0.00 (B)
C. Other RTA County Fee $ 649.00 (C)
D. Other $ 0.00 (D)
Total Government Fees (A through D) $ 774.75 (2)
3. Subtotal (1 through 2) $ 56,179.55

Also looks like the charged me sales tax based on Seattle 10.1% rather than Shoreline 10% where I live. Ill mention it, I assume I'll get some cash back like you suggest.
 
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gearchruncher

Active Member
Sep 20, 2016
2,186
2,727
Seattle, WA
So I figured it out. The DOL doesn't yet have the Model 3 in their system. You can look up RTA taxes for a new car here. Click the "start" button in the lower right corner, and put in your address, and other info.

They have the Model S/X in the system, and their MSRP's are as Tesla lists them for the base models of each battery size (75D, 100D, P100D) But no Model 3, and if you put a Model 3 in, they say "unknown vehicle." Which pushes you to use the "purchase price"

Someone should call the DOL and get them to put the Model 3 in, or call Tesla and get them to do it. The difference in tax is ~$220 per car, so they've over-charged Model 3 owners by a couple hundred thousand bucks so far.
 

seattlite2004

Active Member
Apr 12, 2016
1,186
1,342
Puget Sound
FYI, I've written to the WA DOL and I'm working to get the Model 3 added to the RTA system at the correct MSRP.
Would that be the MSRP for the mythical SR or the currently shipping LR? Doesnt the Model S/X have different MSRPs depending on batt size and pef? Wouldn't the Mod 3 also have different MSRPs for the SR and LR?
 

gearchruncher

Active Member
Sep 20, 2016
2,186
2,727
Seattle, WA
@seattlite2004 - On the Model S/X, they consider the battery sizes to be different models. This shows up on your order sheet from Tesla, where the top line is a "Model S 100D" and that base model is $92,000 (or whatever). Then below that are the options. The options are not part of the RTA tax.

However, on an Model 3 order, the car is always listed as a Model 3, with an MSRP of $35,000. The "LR" battery is a $9,000 option, like any other option. So I believe it applies to the $35,000 MSRP.
 

gearchruncher

Active Member
Sep 20, 2016
2,186
2,727
Seattle, WA
I won't be, but I'll also be interested to see where they get that $44K from given the Monroney sticker on the car shows a $35K car with options. Either way, tax on $44K is better than the $50k+ they are charging now, given you pay it every year forever.
 

gearchruncher

Active Member
Sep 20, 2016
2,186
2,727
Seattle, WA
Glad I could help. I guess my karma for today is that I got my model 3 VIN too!

Now, one thing to consider is that anyone that has paid RTA tax on what they paid for the car might want to ask for a refund from the DOR. It's about $250 different.

Onward to try and get the DOR to "extend" the tax break until June like I believe the law says it should. I'll probably file a FOIA on Monday to get the communications between DOL and DOR to see when they were told.
 
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TallGuy3

Member
May 29, 2016
21
16
Seattle
Glad I could help. I guess my karma for today is that I got my model 3 VIN too!

Now, one thing to consider is that anyone that has paid RTA tax on what they paid for the car might want to ask for a refund from the DOR. It's about $250 different.

Onward to try and get the DOR to "extend" the tax break until June like I believe the law says it should. I'll probably file a FOIA on Monday to get the communications between DOL and DOR to see when they were told.
Great ideas! How can the rest of us help?
 

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