Tax, title, and license

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Updated: 3/28/2003 1:53 pm
When you calculate the cost of buying a car, be sure you include fees for any state and local sales taxes, title fees, vehicle registration fees, and license tags, in addition to the sales price. A car's 'title' is the document that's evidence of who owns the vehicle. If you're going to finance the purchase of the vehicle rather than pay cash, the person or institution that does the financing keeps the title until the loan is paid off. The financing of your vehicle may or may not include these charges, so be sure to ask whether they're included. If you're buying a new or used car from a dealer, the dealer will usually take care of the paperwork involving the tax, title, and license. If you're buying a used car from an individual, once you've found the car and settled on a deal, be sure to find out whether the owner has an outstanding loan on the car. If there are no outstanding loans, the seller should have a copy of the car's title. The title can be signed over to you at the time of the loan closing. If there's a current loan, have the owner provide you with the name of the lender and the loan number. If you're financing the purchase, your lender will need this information, so that part of your loan proceeds can be paid directly to the owner's lender to pay off the current loan and ensure that a clear title passes to you.

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