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 a third party purchase a leased vehicle without payment of sales and use tax twice?

Most motor vehicle lease agreements prohibit the sale of a leased vehicle from the leasing company to anyone other than the lessee or to a motor vehicle dealer during the lease term. However, there are times when the leasing company will allow the lessee to sell the leased vehicle to a third party.  In that case, the lessee and the third party should, prior to the transfer of the vehicle, enter into a written agreement providing the following:

(1) The lessee has determined the amount required to purchase the leased vehicle from the leasing company;

(2) The third party agrees to provide the funds to purchase the vehicle from the leasing company and pay the sales and use tax due;

(3) The lessee and the third party understand that the leasing company will obtain the title in the lessee’s name, as required by the lease agreement, and that the sales and use tax payment will be in the name of the lessee; and

(4) The lessee agrees to immediately assign the vehicle over to the third party for a price of $0.00.

The agreement should be in duplicate and signed by each party. Each party should retain a copy of the signed agreement. 

This information is based on the Board of Tax Appeals decision in Sarah B. Yocum v. Lindley, BTA 80-A-501 (July 27, 1981) regarding title transfers involving the Ford A-Plan situation.

Note: If the third party has agreed to pay more than the amount required by the leasing company with the additional amount going to the lessee, the additional amount paid by the third party must be shown as the “price” in the assignment portion of the title between the lessee and the third party. Further, if the lessee purchases the vehicle during the life of the lease or at the end of the lease term and then sells the vehicle, each transfer is a separate sale and sales or use tax is due at the time of each title transfer.

Can a third party purchase a leased vehicle without payment of sales and use tax twice?

Most motor vehicle lease agreements prohibit the sale of a leased vehicle from the leasing company to anyone other than the lessee or to a motor vehicle dealer during the lease term. However, there are times when the leasing company will allow the lessee to sell the leased vehicle to a third party.  In that case, the lessee and the third party should, prior to the transfer of the vehicle, enter into a written agreement providing the following:

(1) The lessee has determined the amount required to purchase the leased vehicle from the leasing company;

(2) The third party agrees to provide the funds to purchase the vehicle from the leasing company and pay the sales and use tax due;

(3) The lessee and the third party understand that the leasing company will obtain the title in the lessee’s name, as required by the lease agreement, and that the sales and use tax payment will be in the name of the lessee; and

(4) The lessee agrees to immediately assign the vehicle over to the third party for a price of $0.00.

The agreement should be in duplicate and signed by each party. Each party should retain a copy of the signed agreement. 

This information is based on the Board of Tax Appeals decision in Sarah B. Yocum v. Lindley, BTA 80-A-501 (July 27, 1981) regarding title transfers involving the Ford A-Plan situation.

Note: If the third party has agreed to pay more than the amount required by the leasing company with the additional amount going to the lessee, the additional amount paid by the third party must be shown as the “price” in the assignment portion of the title between the lessee and the third party. Further, if the lessee purchases the vehicle during the life of the lease or at the end of the lease term and then sells the vehicle, each transfer is a separate sale and sales or use tax is due at the time of each title transfer.

Can a third party purchase a leased vehicle without payment of sales and use tax twice?

Most motor vehicle lease agreements prohibit the sale of a leased vehicle from the leasing company to anyone other than the lessee or to a motor vehicle dealer during the lease term. However, there are times when the leasing company will allow the lessee to sell the leased vehicle to a third party.  In that case, the lessee and the third party should, prior to the transfer of the vehicle, enter into a written agreement providing the following:

(1) The lessee has determined the amount required to purchase the leased vehicle from the leasing company;

(2) The third party agrees to provide the funds to purchase the vehicle from the leasing company and pay the sales and use tax due;

(3) The lessee and the third party understand that the leasing company will obtain the title in the lessee’s name, as required by the lease agreement, and that the sales and use tax payment will be in the name of the lessee; and

(4) The lessee agrees to immediately assign the vehicle over to the third party for a price of $0.00.

The agreement should be in duplicate and signed by each party. Each party should retain a copy of the signed agreement. 

This information is based on the Board of Tax Appeals decision in Sarah B. Yocum v. Lindley, BTA 80-A-501 (July 27, 1981) regarding title transfers involving the Ford A-Plan situation.

Note: If the third party has agreed to pay more than the amount required by the leasing company with the additional amount going to the lessee, the additional amount paid by the third party must be shown as the “price” in the assignment portion of the title between the lessee and the third party. Further, if the lessee purchases the vehicle during the life of the lease or at the end of the lease term and then sells the vehicle, each transfer is a separate sale and sales or use tax is due at the time of each title transfer.