TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Tax Deductions and Credits / Is Your Car Registration Deductible?

Is Your Car Registration Deductible?

Updated for Tax Year 2016


OVERVIEW

Your car registration fees may be partially deductible on your federal income taxes, but only under certain circumstances.


Annual car registration fees may be partially deductible on your federal income taxes, but only under certain circumstances. A portion of the registration fee must be charged based on the vehicle's value -- as opposed to its size, age or other characteristics. If part of your registration is indeed deductible, you must itemize your deductions to claim it, rather than using the standard deduction.

Value-based fees

Every state has its own way of calculating the registration fee on a vehicle, and those calculations typically take several factors into account. For example, say your annual car registration fee is based on a formula that charges $2 per 100 pounds of vehicle weight, $1 per $1,000 of value, a flat $10 for license plate tabs, and $35 in other taxes and charges. If you had a 4,200-pound vehicle with a value estimated by the state at $25,000, then your fee would be $154 ($84 plus $25 plus $10 plus $35). Of that, only $25 would be an itemized deduction, because that's the only portion based on the actual value of the vehicle.

Annual fees

To be deductible, a value-based auto registration fee must also be assessed on an annual basis. What matters here is the frequency with which the tax is charged to you, not the frequency with which it's actually collected. A state could collect half of the fee every six months, for example, or allow you to pay two years' worth of fees at a time, but you can still take a deduction as long as the fees are assessed on a per-year basis.

Taking the deduction

To deduct the value-based portion of your registration fee, you must itemize your deductions using federal Schedule A. Car fees go on the line for "personal property taxes." Note that your state might not specifically refer to the fee as a personal property tax. Nevertheless, if the fee is value-based and assessed on a yearly basis, the IRS considers it a personal property tax.

Identifying value-based portion

Depending on your state, it might not be apparent whether a portion of your car registration is value-based or how to identify what portion of the fee qualifies for the deductions. In California, for instance, the value-based portion is identified on car owners' billing statements as a "vehicle license fee" and is specifically labeled as tax-deductible. In Iowa, the state provides a worksheet for determining the deduction based on information from the car registration document. In Texas, on the other hand, no portion of the registration fee is based on car value, so you can't deduct anything.

When you use TurboTax to prepare your taxes, we’ll help you determine which portion of your registration fee, if any, is deductible.

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $54.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Absolute Zero $0 federal (1040EZ/1040A) + $0 state offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed: File your 2016 TurboTax Self-Employed return between 4/19/17 and 10/16/17 to receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 10/31/18. Activation by 12/31/17 required. Sign in to QuickBooks Self-Employed via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/turbotax; e-mail address used for activation and sign-in. Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers. See QuickBooks.com for price comparison.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not purchase TurboTax Self-Employed by 10/15/18, you will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 10/31/18 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself (TurboTax Self-Employed): Estimates based on deductible business expenses calculated at the self-employment tax income rate (15%) for tax year 2016. Actual results will vary based on your tax situation.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or on-screen); not included with Federal Free Edition (but available for purchase with the Plus bundle). SmartLook on-screen help is available on a PC, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. TurboTax experts provide general advice, customer service and product help; tax advice provided only by credentialed CPAs, enrolled agents and tax attorneys. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • Tax Return Access, My Docs and My Analysis & Advice features: Access to all tax-related documents we have on file for you is available until you file your 2017 tax return or through 10/31/2018, whichever comes first. Terms and conditions may vary and are subject to change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • #1 rated online tax prep provider: Based on independent comparison of the best online tax software by TopTenReviews.com March 13, 2017.
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2015 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2011 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.