Contesting car registration fee due to circumstances beyond my control
August 19, 2009 7:19 PM   Subscribe

About to register a new car in Massachusetts--can I fight the Mass. sales tax if I already paid more in Washington State?

Six weeks before my family was to move from Washington to Massachusetts, our only car was massively rear-ended and totally destroyed. As a consequence we bought a nearly-new car in a hurry from a dealership in Washington state so that my husband and kids could drive across the country to relocate with me.

The car's registration expires in September. While investigating converting our registration we find that we will be charged 6.25% of the purchase price of the car because we didn't own it for six months before we moved.

The purchase of the car was in no way intended to evade paying sales tax in MA. I can provide ample documentation about the accident destroying our previous car, etc.

I am so pissed off that I needed to buy another car due to circumstances beyond my control--it was a huge hassle and expense in an already stressful and expensive time. The idea that I'm going to be assessed an additional $1000+, just because some fuckwit rear-ended and destroyed my car, really puts the cherry on top of the whole experience.

Can I fight this? What are good strategies? The Attorney General of Washington State is a remarkably good consumer advocate--would they be helpful, or their Massachusetts equivalent? Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks.
posted by Sublimity to Work & Money (6 answers total)
 
Go to the RMV in person. They're friendly in most locations and will let you know for certain. You can check wait times online too.
posted by ifandonlyif at 4:39 AM on August 20, 2009


(I should add, in my experience, don't call them, no one will answer.)
posted by ifandonlyif at 4:40 AM on August 20, 2009


Go see a/your insurance agent before the DMV. They will know what to do.
posted by eatcake at 6:21 AM on August 20, 2009


It may be that you would only need to pay the difference between WA tax and MA tax. If the tax rate was higher in WA than it is in MA, then you may not have to pay anything. You should investigate this MVU-29 form that is mentioned on the RMV's web site.

I love the fact that you have to make a completely useless trip to the RMV to even find out what that form looks like. Apparently it is too powerful for mere mortals to download from the internet.
posted by Nothlit at 6:24 AM on August 20, 2009


On second thought, the MVU-29 is available online. Based on my cursory reading of it, it looks like you are exempt from paying MA sales tax as long as you affirm that you are not receiving any refund or credit of WA sales tax.
posted by Nothlit at 6:29 AM on August 20, 2009


Thanks for the responses. I think our best bet is probably to go talk to someone and take it from there.

It appears that the MVU-29 applies when someone is exempt, which occurs under this circumstance: "If while a resident of another state your vehicle was either purchased and registered in that state for more than six (6) months or purchased in Massachusetts more than six (6) months ago but was delivered to you out of Massachusetts by the seller, you are exempt from paying Massachusetts sales tax."

But, indeed, we did not own the car for six months before we moved here, only for six weeks--my question is whether or how we can get around this.

If not, I wonder if we could force the insurance company of the jerk who hit us to reimburse us. Hm.
posted by Sublimity at 4:50 PM on August 20, 2009


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