Idaho State Tax Commission

Motor Vehicles – Private Parties and Nondealer Retailers

Sales price

You must pay sales or use tax on the sales price of the motor vehicle unless you have an exemption.

The sales price is the amount you paid for the motor vehicle. You must provide a bill of sale or receipt as proof of the sales price when titling your motor vehicle in Idaho. A canceled check won't be accepted as proof of the sales price.

The sales price includes services the seller performs before the sale even if they're separately stated on the invoice:

Examples:

  • Painting, coating, rust-proofing
  • Lettering
  • Repairing the vehicle, including all parts used

Note: Delivery fees to the buyer aren't part of the sales price if they're separately stated.

Types of sales

Buying from Idaho retailers that aren't motor vehicle dealers

Motor vehicle dealers sell or lease five or more motor vehicles in a calendar year. See "Motor Vehicles – Dealers" if you're buying from a dealer.

Some Idaho retailers occasionally sell motor vehicles even if they're not a dealer. Retailers include businesses or individuals that meet one of the following criteria:

  • They make more than two retail sales during any 12-month period.
  • They make one or more sales (including motor vehicles) and hold themselves out as being in business.

You must do all of the following when you buy a new or used motor vehicle from a retailer that's not also a dealer.

  • Pay the Idaho retailer tax on the sales price of the motor vehicle. The retailer will forward the tax to the Tax Commission.
  • Make sure the retailer gives you a completed title to the motor vehicle and a detailed bill of sale* showing you paid tax.
  • Make sure the retailer writes its seller's permit number on the title.
  • Provide proof you paid tax to the retailer when you register the motor vehicle.

* A "detailed bill of sale" must include date of sale, name and address of the seller, complete vehicle description (i.e., color, year, make, model), vehicle identification number (VIN), buyer's name, sale amount, and amount of tax charged.

Idaho retailers must have a seller's permit and must collect sales tax. To find out if you're a retailer, read more about retailers.

Trade-ins
  • Trade-ins only apply when you buy a motor vehicle from a retailer (or dealer). A trade-in is the amount that a retailer allows on merchandise it accepts as payment for other merchandise. A retailer can accept merchandise as full or partial payment of a motor vehicle you buy only if the merchandise is something they'll place in their inventory for resale.
  • The value of your qualifying trade item can reduce the taxable sales price.
  • The trade-in must take place at the same time as the sale, or the allowance doesn't reduce the taxable price.
  • Your paperwork must show that the trade-in occurred at the same time as the sale.
  • Manufactured homes and park model recreational vehicles aren't allowed as trade-ins.
Buying from individuals

You owe sales tax on the total sales price of a motor vehicle you buy from an individual unless an exemption applies.

  • The motor vehicle must first be titled in the seller's name for the sale to take place.
  • The seller must enter the total sales price on the bill of sale and sign the title.
  • The bill of sale establishes the sales price, and it's proof of how much you paid for the motor vehicle.
  • Both you and the seller must sign the bill of sale. You'll need to show an original bill of sale as proof of sales price.
  • The county assessor (DMV) or the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) will collect sales tax when you apply for an Idaho title.

Note: There are no trade-in allowances in private party sales.

Buying a motor vehicle from a family member

You can buy a motor vehicle from a family member without paying sales tax only if that family member is your:

  • Parent or child
  • Grandparent or grandchild
  • Brother or sister

and

  • The family member paid sales or use tax when buying the motor vehicle.

You must provide a completed Form ST-133, Sales Tax Exemption Certificate – Family or American Indian Sales, when you register the motor vehicle.

Buying from financial institutions

Financial institutions permitted in Idaho must collect sales tax on the sales price of a motor vehicle you buy or finance, if the seller didn't collect the tax. See "Sales Price." The financial institution must forward the tax to the Tax Commission under its permit number. If you lease a motor vehicle from a financial institution, see the vehicle leasing section that explains when tax is due on a lease.

Bartering goods or services

The recipient of a motor vehicle in a barter transaction owes sales or use tax on the full value of the motor vehicle.

  • You must have a bill of sale that states the value of goods and services bartered to get the motor vehicle. You need this to register the motor vehicle.
  • When people barter two or more motor vehicles, each vehicle must have its own bill of sale that states the value of goods or services bartered to get the motor vehicle.

Example:

Two individuals trade their vehicles. Each individual owes tax on the value of their new vehicle. The reason is that the individuals are part of two separate sales transactions. Sales tax applies to both sales.

Bringing a motor vehicle into Idaho – Individuals

You might need to pay use tax on a motor vehicle that you bought outside of Idaho but intend to use inside the state.

When tax is due
  • You're an Idaho resident and buy a motor vehicle out of state: Idaho presumes you bought the vehicle for use in Idaho.
    • Make sure you ask about sales tax exemptions for out-of-state buyers when you buy a motor vehicle in another state. You must use the exemption if the state where you buy the motor vehicle has one and you qualify for it. Otherwise, you'll pay tax you don't properly owe in the other state, and you'll still owe use tax in Idaho.
    • The tax you properly pay to the other state can offset tax you owe in Idaho. This applies if you paid sales tax in the other state because you didn't qualify for an exemption there. You must have the receipt that shows you paid sales tax due to the other state.
  • You owned a motor vehicle for less than three months before moving to Idaho. Idaho presumes you bought the vehicle for use in Idaho.
  • You're military personnel, temporarily stationed in Idaho, and purchase a motor vehicle. (See exceptions in "When Tax Isn't Due," directly below.)
  • When tax isn't due
    • You're a new Idaho resident and you owned or acquired the motor vehicle more than three months before moving to the state.
    • You're an active member of the military who either:
      • Owned or acquired the vehicle before you received orders to transfer to Idaho
      • Owned or acquired the vehicle for three months before moving to Idaho
        Note: The shorter time period applies.

    You must provide a completed Form ST-102, Use Tax Exemption Certificate New Resident or Nonresident Military, when you register the motor vehicle in Idaho.

    Bringing a motor vehicle into Idaho – Businesses

    As a business owner, you owe tax on motor vehicles you move into Idaho if you didn't pay sales tax on them in another state at a rate equal to Idaho's or greater. This is true even if you owned the motor vehicles longer than three months. You owe tax on the fair market value of the motor vehicle when you first use it in Idaho. Note: Tax you properly paid to another state can offset the tax you owe in Idaho. Special rules apply to transient equipment (see Rule 073).

    Donating or giving a motor vehicle, or receiving one, as a gift or prize

    Giving a motor vehicle to a person

    Transferring ownership of a motor vehicle to another person or entity is generally subject to tax, but certain gifts are exempt. A motor vehicle qualifies as an exempt gift if all of the following apply:

    • You, as the giver, don't receive services or anything of value for the motor vehicle.
    • Your relationship with the recipient supports the basis for a gift.
    • The recipient doesn't assume any of your debts or liabilities.
    • Neither you nor the recipient owe money on the motor vehicle.

    Note:

    • If you transfer a car to someone else and allow them to "take over payments," the recipient has assumed a debt. The transfer isn't a gift.
    • You might be required to provide more information if you have a business relationship with the recipient.

    When you give away a motor vehicle that qualifies as an exempt gift, give the recipient a completed Form ST-133GT, Use Tax Exemption Certificate – Gift Transfer Affidavit, with your signature. The recipient must also sign the form.

    Donating a motor vehicle

    You must pay sales or use tax on the purchase of any motor vehicle, even if you intend to give it as an exempt gift.

    • You must pay sales or use tax if you buy a motor vehicle specifically to donate.
    • You don't owe use tax if you donate a motor vehicle you already own and have paid tax on.

    Examples:

    • You buy a car from a dealer to donate for a school raffle. There isn't an exemption for this sale, so you must pay tax when you buy the car.
    • You buy a van from your neighbor to donate to a church youth group. There isn't an exemption for this sale, so you must pay tax. Before donating it to the church, you must title the van in your name and pay tax on the amount you paid your neighbor.
    • You donate a van you already own to a performing arts group to move their sets. You paid tax when you bought the van, so you don't owe use tax when you donate it.

    Donations like those in the examples above might be a gift if all of the following apply.

    • The recipient isn't performing any services to get the donation.
    • The recipient isn't giving you anything of value for the donation.
    • The recipient isn't assuming any of your debts.

    Note: You might be required to provide more information if you have a business relationship with the recipient.

    When you give away a motor vehicle that qualifies as an exempt gift:

    • Give the recipient a completed Form ST-133GT, Use Tax Exemption Certificate – Gift Transfer Affidavit, with your signature.
    • The recipient must also sign the form and present it when they register the motor vehicle.
    Receiving a motor vehicle as a gift or prize

    You don't owe use tax when you receive a motor vehicle that qualifies as a gift or is a prize.

    Examples:

    • Your aunt gives you a car for your high school graduation.
    • You win a motor vehicle in a raffle.

    You and the donor must complete and sign a Form ST-133GT, Use Tax Exemption Certificate – Gift Transfer Affidavit.

    • Present the completed Form ST-133GT when you register the motor vehicle.
    • If the donor can't sign the affidavit, you can do one of the following.
      • Provide a signed letter from the donor stating that the motor vehicle is a gift.
      • The donor can sign and mark the title as a gift.

    Prize winnings are subject to income tax even if they qualify for a use tax exemption.

    Page last updated March 12, 2019. Last full review of page: December 24, 2018.

    This information is for general guidance only. Tax laws are complex and change regularly. We can't cover every circumstance in our guides. This guidance may not apply to your situation. Please contact us with any questions. We work to provide current and accurate information. But some information could have technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. If there's a conflict between current tax law and this information, current tax law will govern.