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Old 02-16-2024, 12:19 AM   #1
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Moving OR registered trailer to WA

We moved from OR to WA recently and I went in to register my vehicles. To my dismay, they wanted to charge me 10% sales tax on the value of my 5 year old 2019 21C. which was purchased new when we lived in OR I could either pay 10% sales tax on the original sales price or go have it appraised (and I'd guess it would appraise for similar to the original price, so not much to be saved there).

This seems pretty unfair to me. While it's true that I didn't pay a sales tax on the purchase when I registered it in OR, I lived there for many years and paid income tax on the money I used to make the purchase, and that income tax was equivalent to the sales tax WA would charge (no income tax in WA). It's my position that I am being taxed twice and paying twice what an OR or WA resident would pay. It's not an unsubstantial amount.

I decided to hold off and research it a little more. They admitted it seemed unfair and suggested maybe I could appeal to the Department of Revenue - I have no idea how to do that or if they have any authority to override what is apparently a state law. They don't charge it on cars or trucks as long as you've owned them for 90 days (my other vehicles were purchased when I lived in AZ so I paid sales tax on them anyway).

Has anyone else been through this and have any words of advice or at least commiseration or sympathy? Thanks.
(sorry if this is duplicated, first submission didn't seem to go through)
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Old 02-16-2024, 01:35 AM   #2
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... any words of advice or at least commiseration or sympathy?
You definitely have my sympathy.
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Old 02-16-2024, 06:48 AM   #3
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Maybe I'm sticking my nose in where it doesn't belong. I don't live in the US so you can just disregard my comments if you like.

Up here in Canada, the majority of us pay tax on our income. We also pay sales taxes, both federal and provincial. That's just the way it is so I'm kind of accepting of taxes. When I moved from Alberta to higher-taxed Manitoba I wasn't able to get a tax break because I was from Alberta. I realize tax laws in the US vary widely and are sometimes very different from Canada.

I'll hazard a guess that most Escape owners have paid sales taxes on our trailers, either at home when we registered them or collected by ETI upon purchase (there is a recent thread on here about ETI collecting state taxes). Granted, I don't know the state laws in the US so have no idea how many of you pay state taxes or not.

From my point of view, consider yourself lucky if you haven't had to pay tax so far but given where you now live, it's time to pay. An old saying is coming to mind: something about the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Sorry I can't be more sympathetic.
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Old 02-16-2024, 07:52 AM   #4
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This seems pretty unfair to me. While it's true that I didn't pay a sales tax on the purchase when I registered it in OR, I lived there for many years and paid income tax on the money I used to make the purchase, and that income tax was equivalent to the sales tax WA would charge (no income tax in WA).

Has anyone else been through this and have any words of advice or at least commiseration or sympathy?
Yep. As they say, death and taxes are the only certainty in life. We are relocating to Idaho from New Mexico. We'll probably encounter the same thing.
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Old 02-16-2024, 10:26 AM   #5
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I had to pay it on my Campster which HAD been registered in Washington before but I had no evidence anyone had paid sales tax on it. But that was very low as it was a 1970. But yes- they do that so people don't get to buy vehicles in Oregon and bring them here without paying sales tax. I'm surprised there is no time limit on that though.
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Old 02-16-2024, 10:27 AM   #6
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Maybe to ease your pain you could think about all the ways the government is spending your money.
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Old 02-16-2024, 10:40 AM   #7
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NY does the same. I bought a 1969 Camaro convertible when I got back to the states from Viet Nam. Registered it in Washington state and was surprised that when I got back to NY a year later they wanted the difference in sales tax before I could register it. Sure wish I still had the Camaro...
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Old 02-16-2024, 10:44 AM   #8
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Maybe to ease your pain you could think about all the ways the government is spending your money.
ugh. I need a drink but it's not noon yet... oh what the heck...
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Old 02-16-2024, 08:19 PM   #9
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ugh. I need a drink but it's not noon yet... oh what the heck...

Itís 1200 some where.
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Old 02-16-2024, 10:17 PM   #10
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I went through this out-of state to WA recently. My son moved to WA in October and in December flew home to California and drove up a car I gifted to him.

In order to register the car in WA he had to first get a WA driver's license. Lot of conflicting info there, however if you don't need an Enhanced Driver's License (purportedly required on May 7, 2025 to fly), then all you need is your current license. No other proof required. Now if you want the EDL, there are some more hoops.

In WA the Driver's License office is separate from the Vehicle License office. 90% of Vehicle License offices are private- like AAA in CA., however AAA in WA doesn't do DMV there.

For motor vehicles, if you've owned it more than 90 days you are exempt from paying any tax, however this does not apply to a travel trailer. I've searched this topic and could not find anything useful for an Oregon trailer owner who has paid no sales tax, (yet has owned it more than 90 days). Same is true for other states, yet WA is well aware as is CA that OR has no sales tax and have their radar out no doubt for OR vehicles of any kind coming in.

In our case, I had bought the vehicle less than 90 days prior and as a gift it was exempt as long as any sales (or use) tax could be proven. It turns out that number was on the CA registration. I spent a lot of time making sure of all of this and was helped by communicating with people in a vehicle license office that actually answered the phone. Those two office were in Wenatchee(509 888-1551) and in Shoreline- Wendell's License & Service (206 362-6161). The lady in Shoreline especially was very helpful. Best of luck- they don't make it easy!
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Old 02-17-2024, 07:32 AM   #11
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I wonder if ppl moving to Oregon ask to get the tax they paid elsewhere refunded?
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Old 02-17-2024, 09:07 AM   #12
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Had it not been a gift situation & less than 90 days we would have paid the difference which would have been about 3%.
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Old 02-17-2024, 10:22 AM   #13
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Since WA has no income tax, funds to provide govt services must come from somewhere. This is reflected in sales tax, property tax, vehicle registration fees and taxes etc.

By moving to WA from OR, youíll be saving (depending on your income and/or business ownership) a lot of money by not paying income tax. But itís not quite that simple - there are offsets. If there werenít, WA would be the most populous State on the West Coast.

I moved to WA from OR years ago and faced similar issues, but you know what? It all comes out in the wash, as predicted by my accountant. The tax advantage of the move is much smaller than avoiding the OR 9 - 11% income tax, in the end.

WA vehicle registration fees are lower than OR, so thereís another offset.

I guess Iím saying you canít have it both ways, unless youíre one of those cheap types who drives across the river to OR to shop sales-tax free, but lives in WA to avoid income tax.

Not meant snarkily, just sayiní.
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Old 02-17-2024, 12:08 PM   #14
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We too had this situation with a 10 year old trailer when we moved from AZ to WA. I went to register it in Snohomish County and they were ready to charge us a tax (sales tax equivalent but they have a different name for the tax) on the original full price we paid. I challenged them on this saying it was an older trailer, that we paid sales tax when we purchased it, and was no longer anywhere near the condition of a new trailer. (The trailer was actually in great condition and well maintained but it did have a ding or two.) They gave me a form to fill out about its condition. After I noted a ding or three, said it was 10 years old with normal wear and tear, etc, they reduced the tax we owed to around 10% of what they were originally saying.

I would also go to both the county registration folks and a private registration place and see if you gety a better deal at one over the other. Good luck!
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Old 02-17-2024, 06:25 PM   #15
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I moved to WA from OR years ago and faced similar issues, but you know what? It all comes out in the wash, as predicted by my accountant. The tax advantage of the move is much smaller than avoiding the OR 9 - 11% income tax, in the end.
I'm thinking you need a new tax accountant! Oregon income tax is capped at 9.9%
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Old 02-18-2024, 10:06 AM   #16
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In the long run, yes, for me taxes will be lower in WA. Since the sales tax in WA is comparable to the income tax in OR, I'd have to spend ALL of my income (which is impossible due to federal taxes) to achieve the same WA tax. Property taxes are a tiny bit lower in WA in my case, and car registration fees are actually quite a bit higher in WA. Fuel is higher in WA but I take a train into Seattle every day so it isn't a major expense. Of course things can change.

I don't mind paying my taxes, I just don't like paying them twice! I paid $30K for the trailer in 2019. To have $30K cash I had to make about $42K in income, so I paid about $4,200 in tax to OR as income tax...a tax I wouldn't pay in WA. Now moving to WA they want me to pay sales tax of about $3000, so altogether I'm paying about $7,200 in state taxes on the trailer. There's also another $9K roughly in federal income tax -I won't begrudge that but I realize it's there.

A related issue also grinding my gears...because I moved to WA a few weeks before my house in OR closed (so I'd have a house to move in to), OR apparently says I"m now an "out of state" owner and wants "income" tax on the appreciaton of the house (which I wouldn't pay it if I was an OR resident at the time of sale). I was not an "out of state owner"...we lived there for many years...and there was no "income".. there was inflation, and the house I traded for appreciated just as much as the one I sold, but they want their taxes anyway. I'm still investigating...
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Old 02-21-2024, 11:14 AM   #17
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I call BS on this the person at DMV is incorrect. You only owe sales tax if you purchased the trailer within 90 days of the move. I just read the Washington state DMV code. read the link I attached its very clear https://dor.wa.gov/forms-publication...gton-out-state
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Old 02-21-2024, 11:15 AM   #18
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Yes, you will need to pay sales tax on your trailer when you register it in Washington. Age does not change the requirement. I purchased my 1963 Kenworth in Oregon, and paid sales tax when I registered it in Washington. If you can prove you paid sales tax before, the Washington tax may be waived; when I moved from Texas to Washington, I did not pay sales tax on my cars because I had proof I paid sales tax on them in Texas.
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Old 02-21-2024, 11:47 AM   #19
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The OP might try a few different licensing offices to see if they can dig up any ideas. Personally I think this situation is bs.

You might even try an out of town or out of county licensing office. I bought a used car in another town way north of Seattle and chose to license the car there as I didn't have to pay the city/county sales tax for Seattle/King county. They only had the base sale tax rate. Worth looking at and a day trip if you save a few hundred dollars.
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Old 02-21-2024, 11:53 AM   #20
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If car purchased 90 days or longer prior to move no tax collected motor-homes and trailers are exempt from this rule. I find that to be greedy and should not be allowed
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