I bought a salvaged car from a person with a dealer number. I paid cash in full. He gave me the title and I went went through the process of getting it registered with the DMV. The car is now registered under my name and the DMV is sending me my new title in the mail. A few days later the person I bought the car from is asking me to send him money for the sales tax. Is this legit?

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    I'd tell him to kiss off, and take the sales tax from what you gave him. He should have thought about adding sales tax when he sold you the car.
    – RonJohn
    Nov 9, 2019 at 4:46
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    Legal to ask? Yes. Necessary to agree? No. Nov 9, 2019 at 14:43
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    @RonJohn I'd say the seller has added the sales tax - what OP paid was the price including sales tax.
    – gnasher729
    Nov 9, 2019 at 16:06
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    Did you pay sales tax at the DMV when you registered the car? This is the usual thing in California for private party car sales.
    – The Photon
    Nov 9, 2019 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


Sales tax is collected and paid by the retail seller (this is probably a universal rule). If you had bought the vehicle from a friend who isn't in the business, you would have been responsible for paying the tax. It is somewhat strange that a dealer would not know or forget this before making the sale.

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    In California when you buy a car from a private party, you pay the sales tax at the DMV when you register the car. I don't know how the seller in this case being a dealer complicates things.
    – The Photon
    Nov 9, 2019 at 20:34
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    @ThePhoton Whenever I have bought a car from a dealer in California (both used and new), they not only collected the sales tax, they also submitted all the paperwork to the DMV. OP: If you went to DMV yourself, you almost certainly paid sales tax on top of the registration fees. Try sending the receipt for that to the seller. Nov 12, 2019 at 21:59

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