FAQs - Sales & Use Tax: Motor Vehicles & Watercraft

Does a trade-in reduce the price when calculating sales or use tax?

Yes – when a motor vehicle is traded for a new motor vehicle, all-purpose vehicle or off-highway motorcycle.

No – when a motor vehicle is traded for a used motor vehicle, all-purpose vehicle or off-highway motorcycle.

No – when a watercraft, outboard motor or personal watercraft is traded for a new or used motor vehicle, all-purpose vehicle or off-highway motorcycle.

No – when a vehicle is under a valid lease and the lessee is attempting to trade-in the vehicle that is titled in the name of the leasing company. Under the terms of most lease agreements, the leasing company (during the life of the lease) can only sell (transfer title for consideration) the leased vehicle to the lessee or to a dealer. If the leasing company sells the vehicle to a dealer, it is no longer available to be used as a trade-in by the lessee. Note: The answer would be yes if the lessee first purchased the leased vehicle (paying sales tax on the purchase price paid to the leasing company), had title issued in the lessee’s name, and then used the vehicle as a trade-in on the purchase of a new motor vehicle.

Yes – when a watercraft, outboard motor or personal watercraft is traded for a new/used watercraft, outboard motor, and/or personal watercraft and the seller (located in-state or out-of-state) is, at the time of sale, licensed as a watercraft dealer through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Watercraft Division. License format is OH NNNN ZZ.    

No – when a watercraft, outboard motor, or personal watercraft is traded for a new/used watercraft, outboard motor or personal watercraft and the seller (located in-state or out-of-state) is not, at the time of sale, licensed as a watercraft dealer through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Watercraft Division.      

No – when a motor vehicle is traded for a watercraft, outboard motor or personal watercraft.