How to Calculate Florida Sales Tax on a Motor Vehicle Purchase

When you buy a new car in Florida, you generally must pay sales tax.

When you buy a new car in Florida, you generally must pay sales tax.

When you buy a new car in Florida, there are several additions to the purchase price, such as registration fees, titling fees and sales tax. Whether you’re buying a new or a used car from a dealer or a private seller, you must pay sales tax on the full purchase price. If you’re a resident of Florida, you’ll pay Florida’s sales tax rate. If you live in a different state, the dealer will impose that state's tax rate.

Find the current sales tax rate on the Florida Department of Revenue website. As of 2012, the sales tax rate was 6 percent. If you’re a resident of another state, contact your state’s department of revenue to learn the current tax rate. If your state does not collect sales tax on motor vehicles, such as North Carolina, you won't have to pay sales tax on your purchase.

Calculate the total sale price of the car. Florida taxes the full sales price of a motor vehicle before any deductions or manufacturer rebates. If you have a trade-in that the dealer intends to resell, reduce the sales price to reflect the trade-in before calculating the taxes.

Multiply the sales price of the vehicle by the current sales tax rate. For example, if you’re a Florida resident buying a vehicle with a total sale price of $18,252, your sales tax is $1,095.12 (18,252 X .06).


  • Include all fees associated with the purchase of the vehicle when calculating sales tax. These include dealer fees, delivery fees, advertising expenses, repossession, handling, freight and commissions.
  • Do not include licensing, registration or titling in the sales price when calculating sales tax.
  • Some counties in Florida also charge a discretionary sales tax, which is applied only to the first $5,000 of the sale price.
  • Sales tax payments are due to the Florida Department of Revenue by the first day of the following month. If you’re late paying the sales tax to the Florida Department of Revenue, it charges a 10 percent penalty.

Video of the Day

Brought to you by Sapling
Brought to you by Sapling

About the Author

Angela M. Wheeland specializes in topics related to taxation, technology, gaming and criminal law. She has contributed to several websites and serves as the lead content editor for a construction-related website. Wheeland holds an Associate of Arts in accounting and criminal justice. She has owned and operated her own income tax-preparation business since 2006.

Photo Credits

  • Barry Austin Photography/Photodisc/Getty Images