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Moving to California: vehicle registration fees

I read your blog on moving and not registering a vehicle…I am going to be moving to Ventura County as my job is relocating me to Westlake Village. I was trying to figure out roughly how much it would cost me to register my vehicle if I bought a new one (which I need to) here in Oregon. According to the do-it-yourself, not-so-handy nonresident calculator, by stating I’m buying my car in Oregon and putting $0 for taxes (there is no sales tax here), it’s telling me I’d have to pay $1440 dollars for a $17,000 car. $1200 of that is for use tax. Do you have any more insight on that? Thanks for any and all help.

– Chris

Chris, thanks for writing in. I did the vehicle registration for my own car, and it came out to roughly $200, which is what I remember paying when I moved here in 2009. Some other friends of mine paid much less. It really just depends on what your car is, where you bought it, and what you paid.

I’m guessing that you’re getting charged more because you didn’t pay taxes. I know I did, as I purchased my car in Florida where there is sales tax. Try calling the DMV and asking them directly, “Do I pay more because I didn’t pay sales tax?” See if there is any way they can waive the fee. They have procedures they follow and it’s unlikely, but it’s worth a shot. Also, if you find that the DMV isn’t helpful, try calling a California car dealer. The wait time to talk to them will be shorter, no doubt, and they may be friendlier.

In the end, you’ll pay what you pay. California is notorious for charging high taxes and fees on everything. And don’t think for a second that you can park in that No Parking spot for “just a minute to run in and grab some Pepto.” The parking enforcement officers are indeed psychic and you’ll end up having the most expensive bottle of Pepto ever.

Welcome to CA.