Vehicle Taxability - Casual Sales     

What is a casual sale?

“Casual sale” is a sale of tangible personal property by a person not engaged in the business of selling such tangible personal property.  While most casual sales are exempt from sales tax under R.C. 5739.02(B)(8), that provision specifically excludes the transfer of a motor vehicle from the definition of casual sale.  As a result, a motor vehicle purchased in a casual sale is subject to sales or use tax, and the tax must be paid to the clerk of courts at the time of title transfer.

The definition of “casual sale” is found in R.C. 5739.01(L).

The definition of “price” is found in R.C. 5739.01(H)(1)(a).

Below are examples of the most common taxable casual sales:

1.) Cash

John purchased a car from a motor vehicle dealer in 2011.  He paid all applicable sales tax at the time of purchase.  In 2013, John sold the car to Sue for $10,000.00.  When Sue transfers the title from John’s name into hers, she must pay sales tax on the $10,000.00 price to the clerk of court's title office. 

2.) Trade

Tim and Scott have agreed to trade their vehicles.  No money will be exchanged because they feel this is an even trade.  When Tim and Scott transfer the titles into their names, they must pay sales tax on the fair market value of the traded vehicle to the clerk of court's title office. 

3.) Bartering

Steve is building custom cabinets for his friend Rick.  Rick has agreed to give Steve his vehicle in exchange for the cabinets instead of paying him in cash.  After the cabinets have been installed, Steve will receive title to the vehicle.  When Steve goes to the clerk of court's title office, he must pay sales tax on the fair market value of the services he provided to his friend Rick.

4.) Loan Assumption

Betty has a loan on her SUV. She has decided to sell her vehicle to Jeff.  Betty and Jeff go to her finance company and have the loan refinanced in his name. No money changes hands and Betty is not making a profit from the sale. When Jeff goes to the clerk of court's title office, he must pay sales tax on the balance of the loan he assumed.

 

Frequently Asked Questions Tool

The Ohio Department of Taxation has compiled a list of frequently asked questions covering many different categories.

To view the questions, click on the "Select Category" bar and then click on  the category you are interested in.  A list of questions will appear pertaining to that category. Then click on the question you are inquiring about and the answer will appear.

  

Can you provide some examples of "consideration" other than money that is given in exchange for a certificate of title?

Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

(A) An item of tangible personal property; such as another vehicle, a boat, a horse, etc., given in exchange. The fair market value of the tangible personal property exchanged is the amount of consideration. If there is an even trade of motor vehicles between two individuals with no money exchanged, each individual must pay tax based on the fair market value of the motor vehicle.

(B) Real property, such as a lot, that is given in exchange. In this instance, the fair market value of the real property is the amount of consideration and tax must be paid on that amount.

(C) Shares of corporate stock, whether transferred to or from a corporation in exchange for a motor vehicle. For example, the transfer of a motor vehicle from an individual to a corporation of which the individual is sole owner or a stockholder constitutes a sale and the fair market value of the stock given in exchange is the tax base. If there is no established market value for the stock or securities, it is presumed that the stock’s value is equal to the fair market value of the vehicle or the value of the vehicle on the corporate books.

(D) Cancellation of debt owed to the purchaser or new titleholder.

(E) The transfer of a motor vehicle resulting from the assumption, by the transferee (new titleholder), of a mortgage through a “transfer of equity or interest agreement” wherein the transferor (previous titleholder) is relieved of its original principal liability and becomes a guarantor is a transfer for consideration and subject to tax. The tax base is the total amount of the mortgage assumed plus any other consideration given.

(F) The transfer of a motor vehicle as the result of the transferee (new titleholder) paying off the mortgage in the name of the transferor (previous titleholder) is a transfer for consideration. The tax base is the amount of the pay off plus any other consideration given either in trade or money.

Can you provide some examples of "consideration" other than money that is given in exchange for a certificate of title?

Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

(A) An item of tangible personal property; such as another vehicle, a boat, a horse, etc., given in exchange. The fair market value of the tangible personal property exchanged is the amount of consideration. If there is an even trade of motor vehicles between two individuals with no money exchanged, each individual must pay tax based on the fair market value of the motor vehicle.

(B) Real property, such as a lot, that is given in exchange. In this instance, the fair market value of the real property is the amount of consideration and tax must be paid on that amount.

(C) Shares of corporate stock, whether transferred to or from a corporation in exchange for a motor vehicle. For example, the transfer of a motor vehicle from an individual to a corporation of which the individual is sole owner or a stockholder constitutes a sale and the fair market value of the stock given in exchange is the tax base. If there is no established market value for the stock or securities, it is presumed that the stock’s value is equal to the fair market value of the vehicle or the value of the vehicle on the corporate books.

(D) Cancellation of debt owed to the purchaser or new titleholder.

(E) The transfer of a motor vehicle resulting from the assumption, by the transferee (new titleholder), of a mortgage through a “transfer of equity or interest agreement” wherein the transferor (previous titleholder) is relieved of its original principal liability and becomes a guarantor is a transfer for consideration and subject to tax. The tax base is the total amount of the mortgage assumed plus any other consideration given.

(F) The transfer of a motor vehicle as the result of the transferee (new titleholder) paying off the mortgage in the name of the transferor (previous titleholder) is a transfer for consideration. The tax base is the amount of the pay off plus any other consideration given either in trade or money.

Can you provide some examples of "consideration" other than money that is given in exchange for a certificate of title?

Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

(A) An item of tangible personal property; such as another vehicle, a boat, a horse, etc., given in exchange. The fair market value of the tangible personal property exchanged is the amount of consideration. If there is an even trade of motor vehicles between two individuals with no money exchanged, each individual must pay tax based on the fair market value of the motor vehicle.

(B) Real property, such as a lot, that is given in exchange. In this instance, the fair market value of the real property is the amount of consideration and tax must be paid on that amount.

(C) Shares of corporate stock, whether transferred to or from a corporation in exchange for a motor vehicle. For example, the transfer of a motor vehicle from an individual to a corporation of which the individual is sole owner or a stockholder constitutes a sale and the fair market value of the stock given in exchange is the tax base. If there is no established market value for the stock or securities, it is presumed that the stock’s value is equal to the fair market value of the vehicle or the value of the vehicle on the corporate books.

(D) Cancellation of debt owed to the purchaser or new titleholder.

(E) The transfer of a motor vehicle resulting from the assumption, by the transferee (new titleholder), of a mortgage through a “transfer of equity or interest agreement” wherein the transferor (previous titleholder) is relieved of its original principal liability and becomes a guarantor is a transfer for consideration and subject to tax. The tax base is the total amount of the mortgage assumed plus any other consideration given.

(F) The transfer of a motor vehicle as the result of the transferee (new titleholder) paying off the mortgage in the name of the transferor (previous titleholder) is a transfer for consideration. The tax base is the amount of the pay off plus any other consideration given either in trade or money.

Can you provide some examples of "consideration" other than money that is given in exchange for a certificate of title?

Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

(A) An item of tangible personal property; such as another vehicle, a boat, a horse, etc., given in exchange. The fair market value of the tangible personal property exchanged is the amount of consideration. If there is an even trade of motor vehicles between two individuals with no money exchanged, each individual must pay tax based on the fair market value of the motor vehicle.

(B) Real property, such as a lot, that is given in exchange. In this instance, the fair market value of the real property is the amount of consideration and tax must be paid on that amount.

(C) Shares of corporate stock, whether transferred to or from a corporation in exchange for a motor vehicle. For example, the transfer of a motor vehicle from an individual to a corporation of which the individual is sole owner or a stockholder constitutes a sale and the fair market value of the stock given in exchange is the tax base. If there is no established market value for the stock or securities, it is presumed that the stock’s value is equal to the fair market value of the vehicle or the value of the vehicle on the corporate books.

(D) Cancellation of debt owed to the purchaser or new titleholder.

(E) The transfer of a motor vehicle resulting from the assumption, by the transferee (new titleholder), of a mortgage through a “transfer of equity or interest agreement” wherein the transferor (previous titleholder) is relieved of its original principal liability and becomes a guarantor is a transfer for consideration and subject to tax. The tax base is the total amount of the mortgage assumed plus any other consideration given.

(F) The transfer of a motor vehicle as the result of the transferee (new titleholder) paying off the mortgage in the name of the transferor (previous titleholder) is a transfer for consideration. The tax base is the amount of the pay off plus any other consideration given either in trade or money.