State getting more than its fair share? - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

State getting more than its fair share?

Deena Caruso Deena Caruso
Example of car Deena purchased Example of car Deena purchased

SPOKANE, Wash. - Paying too much at the pump is something that most drivers can relate to but not everyone expects a state agency to overcharge when collecting taxes on vehicle sales. That's exactly what some Washington car buyers say they are running in to.

Deena Caruso thought she had found a good deal on a red Jeep Liberty.  She paid $5,000.  What happened at a Department of Licensing office when she tried to title the vehicle surprised her. 

Caruso says, "when we went to the Licensing Bureau to pay tax on my daughter's car that we had just purchased, and we'd paid cash for it, we figured exactly how much we would need to take, in cash, to pay that.  And what happened was the lady pulled it up on the computer and told us that our taxes that we would be paying were based upon $2,000 more than the purchase price."

"Where does this figure come from", Caruso asked the woman behind the counter and was told, "that that was the number that they had in the computer."

According to the Department of Licensing the agency uses average fair market value and not actual sale price to determine the tax you owe.  Washington passed the law that allows this practice in 2000.

Caruso doesn't like it. "I don't think that is fair, they are asking for more than is due," she says.

There are steps you can take to make sure you pay your fair share at the DOL. Have your own Blue Book research and bill of sale.  If the difference between the price you paid for the vehicle and the state's estimated value of the vehicle is less than $2,000, the DOL will probably side with you.

For more detailed information on the state's use of "Average Fair Market Value," visit DOL.WA.GOV.

 

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