Motor vehicle towing service means the towing or
conveyance of a wrecked, disabled, or illegally parked
motor vehicle. See below for additional information on
the tax imposed on motor vehicle towing.
I provide motor vehicle towing. What type of
license do I need?
A provider of towing service in Ohio must obtain a
vendor’s license for each fixed place of business where
the towing service provider is located. Vendor’s
licenses are available from the county auditor of the
county in which the fixed place of business is located.
The application form for a vendor’s license is
available on the Ohio Department of Taxation website:
tax.ohio.gov under the tab for
Providers of towing service located outside Ohio that
perform towing service in Ohio need to acquire a
transient vendor’s license from the Ohio Department of
Taxation. The application form for a transient license
is also available on the Department of Taxation
What types of charges are included in a taxable
motor vehicle towing service?
All charges which are part of, and essential to, the
performance of the towing service are part of the
taxable price of the service. Some examples of taxable
charges associated with the provision of motor vehicle
towing service include:
- Charges for digging snow from around a vehicle
- Trip charges, to the extent a taxable service is
- Hook-up charges.
- Hourly charges, to the extent a taxable service is
- Charges to disconnect drivetrain before towing.
- Dolly charges.
- Charges for righting overturned vehicles.
I transport new motor vehicles to dealers. Is this a
No. This is merely a transportation charge. The vehicles
being transported are not "wrecked, disabled, or illegally
I repossess vehicles for finance companies.
Occasionally, I have to tow the vehicle I am repossessing. Is
this a taxable service?
No. The service being provided to the finance company is the
repossession, not a towing service. Furthermore, the vehicle
being towed is not necessarily "wrecked, disabled, or
illegally parked." For the same reason, if the finance
company contracts with a third party to repossess the
vehicle, and the third party contracts with a tow operator to
pick up the vehicle, that tow would not be subject to the
tax, unless the vehicle is wrecked, disabled or illegally
I am towing a motor vehicle from Indiana into Ohio.
Is that service taxable in Ohio?
No. The taxability of towing is determined by where the
service originates. A towing service provider is not required
to collect Ohio tax on towing that originates in another
state. However, towing that originates in Ohio and ends in
another state is taxable in Ohio.
The statute applies to towing "a wrecked, disabled,
or illegally parked motor vehicle." If all I do is pull a
vehicle out of a ditch in which it is stuck, is that a
Yes. Since the vehicle is stuck in the ditch, it is at least
Are charges for towing a motor vehicle that are paid
by a vehicle owner to a municipality subject to
No. R.C. 5739.02(B)(22) provides an exemption for sales of
services provided by the State of Ohio or any of its
If you provide towing services, you may need a commercial
driver’s license. It depends on the size of the vehicle you
will drive and the weight you will tow. Contact the Ohio
Bureau of Motor Vehicles at (614) 752-7500 for more
information. Information and registration forms can also be
found online at
You may also need to register with the Public Utilities
Commission of Ohio’s (PUCO) Motor Carrier Division. Contact
the division at (800) 686-7826. Information and registration
forms can also be found online at
If you will tow oversize loads, you may need a special
hauling permit from the Ohio Department of Transportation
(ODOT). Contact ODOT’s main office at (614) 466-7170 or your
ODOT District Office for more information. Permit and fee
information can also be found at