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Seattle Model S owners - Free Money (RTA refund)

Robotpedlr

Member
Supporting Member
Dec 17, 2017
700
1,227
Seattle
I unfortunately live in the Seattle area RTA fee zone. I own a 2017 Model S 100D (loaded with most options). My tabs included the hefty RTA is about $1,400 for the year (OUCH). So after seeing all the news about the RTA calculation issues, I tried to figure out what MSRP they were using for my car. It didn't compute, so I called the DOL and asked how to verify what the numbers were. The person said, they would submit an audit request of the MSRP and someone one get back to me...I thought, ok sure, let me hold my breath.

Well, about a week later I got a letter from the state dept of licensing saying that they have adjusted/corrected my MSRP from $114k to 96K and I would be getting a $360 refund check mailed to me. Best 3 min phone call ever.

If you are paying a high RTA fee, call them and ask for an audit. They are not very good at figuring out MSRP on Teslas for some reason. Takes very little effort and at least for me, resulted in a nice refund check. Plus they noted it would be corrected for future year renewals.

Edit - here is the number to call:
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
 
Last edited:

Robotpedlr

Member
Supporting Member
Dec 17, 2017
700
1,227
Seattle
Its 1.1 % but that is than adjusted by a depreciation schedule.

The following formula shows how the fee is calculated:
Current year - year of vehicle + 1 = years of service (value decreases each year in service)
Original MSRP x depreciated percentage = Depreciated value(based on years in service)
Depreciated value x 1.1% (current RTA rate) = RTA amount due

Example for a 2012 Toyota Prius:
MSRP: $24,000

Depreciation years: 2018 (or "current year") - 2012 (year make of vehicle) = 6 + 1 year (to account for first year of offer) = 7 total years of depreciation

7th year depreciation amount = 57% (according to current schedule)

$24,000.00 (original MSRP) x 57% (depreciation) = $13,680.00 (reduced value)

$13,680.00 (reduced value) x 1.1%(current RTA excise tax rate) = $150.00 due

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.

WA State Licensing (DOL) Official Site: Regional Transit Authority (RTA) tax
 
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Robotpedlr

Member
Supporting Member
Dec 17, 2017
700
1,227
Seattle
And I should add that my actual window sticker was $114k when I bought my car (nov 2017) but since Tesla adjusted their MSRP, I think that is why the state now recognizes the lower MSRP. It didnt come with an explanation, just that they changed the reference MSRP from $114k to $96k and were sending me money back.
 
Just called and was told that the valuation is on the original MSRP no the current MSRP. They gave me the current value, that is higher then current MSRP after almost 2 years (I have a 2017) and was told to contact my senator to get it fix. This was the automatic answer once they saw it was a Tesla. I suspect many people called already.
 

Robotpedlr

Member
Supporting Member
Dec 17, 2017
700
1,227
Seattle
As configured I assume. But who knows with the states funny math. Since the letter states that mine was reduced from 114k to 96k I assume that is full sticker (my sticker was $114k). Just not sure why Mike25 above got a different answer, as they adjusted mine down to what current MSRP and more accurate as it is supposed to be on the value of your car (MSRP is depreciation). Since Tesla dropped the prices using the old MSRP seems like over taxing.

I think the push is to eventually use a source like Kelly Blue Book to use real current values.
 
I'd just like to make sure that everyone present understands that MSRP is the "Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price". It is not the current value of the car, nor the depreciated value. (as suggested above by two)

State law is clear that MSRP is used in the calculation no matter how old the car is, and depreciation is not taken into account. That is our legislators' fault, the media's fault, and our fault for not looking closer when we voted Yes.

First of all though, that is a tremendous amount of money. What is Sound Transit doing making political donations with it? And is all that money being used wisely? I doubt it.

Second, who pays MSRP for a car? At least half of us don't. In fact three years ago I bought my P85D wrecked for $28k, yet my tabs cost $1,268 each year.

Third, the only thing we can debate with them now is which MSRP to use. So being armed with the facts, matters. They are probably doing it wrong.
 
As configured I assume. But who knows with the states funny math. Since the letter states that mine was reduced from 114k to 96k I assume that is full sticker (my sticker was $114k). Just not sure why Mike25 above got a different answer, as they adjusted mine down to what current MSRP and more accurate as it is supposed to be on the value of your car (MSRP is depreciation). Since Tesla dropped the prices using the old MSRP seems like over taxing.

I think the push is to eventually use a source like Kelly Blue Book to use real current values.


I was told that even if the MSRP dropped it didn't matter as the original MSRP will be used for the life of my car or until the legislator fix the issue and use Kelly Blue Book. Called a second time, got different person same answer, however when I asked for the MSRP used for my car they told me 97.5k and that by next renewal will be 89% of that based on the depreciation schedule so about $950 for the RTA itself.

I also have a 2017 100D like you and don't really know why the difference between 97.5 vs 96k but it seems like they most have reduced the MSRP across the board. Didn't say that I will get any reimbursement either when asked. I did pay almost $1400 in November when renewed.
 

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,913
8,808
Seattle area, WA
That is our legislators' fault, the media's fault, and our fault for not looking closer when we voted Yes.
It's a tax on people's social guilt (we should have a transit system for poor people to ride) and lack of math skills (it's a less than 1% increase, not much, most didn't notice it was almost 1% added to .3%, so 4x increase).

First of all though, that is a tremendous amount of money. What is Sound Transit doing making political donations with it? And is all that money being used wisely? I doubt it.
Of course it is a large amount of money. Over the lifetime of a vehicle, it adds up to more than doubling the sales tax of 10%. What do we get for it? A vague promise of some transit project in 20 years. I remember reading it on a ballot and thinking, yep, they learned from the failed Seattle project where they promised a much shorter timeline, didn't deliver, and had to return the money. With 20 year timeline, the plan is people will forget about it, and even if anyone asks, they will just say "we don't know, the people who took this money are long gone, retired or dead".

Welcome to politics. This is standard government playbook, as is adding a tiny tax and then raising it sky high after it's voted in - WA did it with the EV surcharge, on the ballot it was $10, next year it went to $100, now $150.
 

Robotpedlr

Member
Supporting Member
Dec 17, 2017
700
1,227
Seattle
I'd just like to make sure that everyone present understands that MSRP is the "Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price". It is not the current value of the car, nor the depreciated value. (as suggested above by two)
=

That is NOT correct. It is the MSRP less depreciation (based on a flawed depreciation schedule), but they do take into account depreciation. Here is language from their site:

"The RTA tax is a motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) 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 trailer, and a depreciation schedule set by state law based on the age of the vehicle (years of service)."

WA State Licensing (DOL) Official Site: Regional Transit Authority (RTA) tax


The funny part is their schedule shows that after 3 years you car only depreciates 11%. What a load of crap. I would love to lease a car with that depreciation schedule.
 

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,913
8,808
Seattle area, WA
The funny part is their schedule shows that after 3 years you car only depreciates 11%. What a load of crap. I would love to lease a car with that depreciation schedule.
Yea, the government doesn't actually claim the car is worth that much, only that they will taper the taxes at that rate. I found that out when trying to use the government depreciation schedule as valuation for insurance claim purposes.
 
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whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,913
8,808
Seattle area, WA
No. Sir.

My tabs used to be $140 at most. Now they are 9x as much. I am honest enough to acknowledge the facts.
You don't live in the RTA tax zone in Seattle, so what does how much you pay for tabs in SoCal have to do with this? Here, the tabs went up 3-4 times, for some vague project in 20 years - no details who will build what for whom.

I didn't/don't have any "social guilt" about mass transit. I am still in strong favor of it for many reasons, not least to reduce traffic jams. {eh, der} Mass-transit is not just for the ni**ers, in case you didn't know.
Yea there is. Around where I live almost nobody, not even most low income housing residents, use public transportation much. A lot of times buses ride empty, so they've been cutting the frequency and routes to avoid that. Most people around where I live have not seen an inside of a bus. Public transit works great in high density areas, so L.A. sure, but in low density areas with large distances not so much. I tried to take a bus once, but after figuring out how far out of the way I'd have to go, how many switches between buses, and how much wait between, I realized it's completely not feasible.

Yes, we all hear the clarion call that you claim to be 'Rich,' whitex, by selfishly and callously denouncing giving the Poor any 'benefits'.
Where did you ever see me claim I'm rich or denouncing anything? Using use false premise doesn't make it true (like if I asked you, when are you going to stop going off your meds?).

Can I ask whitex, what are you doing here? You don't belong here. You know it, and everyone around you knows it. We are Leftist here.

Please go back to Nebraska and make whatever kind of Thunderdome you'd prefer to live in. We will build a wall to keep you out when you've realized what a terrible mistake you have made, and will evict all your relatives too.
What's your point? It's hard to understand what you're saying, other than you are getting overexcited and trying to be insulting.
 

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