Vehicle Taxability & Exemptions

Taxability & Exemptions of Motor Vehicles

All sales of motor vehicle are subject to sales or use tax unless an exemption applies.  The tax rate charged is based on the county of the purchaser’s residence.  While  other items may be exempted as a casual sale, the resale of a used motor vehicle is not eligible for this exemption.  

Did you receive a notice from us? 

The definition of a Casual Sale is found in R.C. 5739.01(L).

The application of Sales and Use tax to a casual sale can be referenced in R.C. 5739.02(B)(8)

What is an exemption?

An exemption is a statutory reason that a retail sale is not subject to  sales or use tax. This page discusses exemptions that may apply to motor vehicle transfers.


A few examples of exemptions for motor vehicles:

Direct FarmingFarming –Motor vehicles  used primarily in the production of agricultural products for sale may be exempt under R.C. 5739.02(B)(17)

Transportation for Hire – Motor vehicles used primarily in transporting tangible personal property for others may be exempt under R.C. 5739.02(B)(32)

Nonprofit Organizations & Churches – Purchases of motor vehicles by nonprofit charitable organizations and churches may be exempt if the vehicle is purchased by and titled in the name of the organization.  R.C. 5739.02(B)(12)

Transportation Services and Public Utilities  – Vehicles   primarily used to provide taxable transportation services,  such as taxicabs or charter services.  Note—the purchaser  is required to have a vendor’s license and remit sales tax on its taxable transportation services.  R.C. 5739.02(B)(41)

What other vehicle purchases are exempt from the sales and use tax?

Find the answer on our Exemptions Definitions page.


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 in which you are interested.  A list of questions will appear pertaining to that category. Then click on the question you are inquiring about and the answer will appear.

Is an ambulance service entitled to claim exemption from sales and use tax under the "used directly in the rendition of a public utility service" exemption?

The public utility (PU) exemption covers ambulance services if the following conditions exist:

(1) the purchaser has a certificate of public convenience and necessity;  and 2) the vehicle is directly and primarily used in providing the ambulance service.  Note—Private ambulance companies do not qualify for the public utility exemption unless they hold a certificate of public convenience and necessity. 

For this exemption, the purchaser must provide two copies of a motor vehicle exemption certificate indicating that the vehicle is "used directly in the rendition of a public utility service". The clerk will retain one copy and forward one copy to the Department of Taxation for review. The clerk issues the title using the ATPS exemption code: “PU: Direct use in a public utility service.”