Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 5 of 38

Chapter 4: Use Tax

4.010 Calculating Use Tax Amount

Each application subject to use tax must show the purchase price on the back of the Certificate of Title or include a bill of sale. A CDTFA 1138 is required for commercial vehicles, as specified under the Use Fuel Tax Law, showing the amount of use tax due. Applications subject to use tax received in the mail without a purchase price must be returned to the applicant for the purchase price on the certificate of title.

The applicant must complete a Statement of Facts (REG 256) form explaining any purchase price discrepancies in the application or the use tax will be based on the higher amount. If a selling price is not expressed between the seller and buyer and the buyer is unsure of the value, the midpoint between the low and high values shown in a current vehicle value guidebook may be used only to establish the taxable value for the vehicle.

Commercial Vehicles—Do not include the federal retail excise tax in the purchase price to calculate any use tax due on the first retail sale of a truck or truck chassis with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 33,001 pounds or more or a trailer or trailer chassis with a GVW of 26,001 pounds or more.

Disabled Person Vehicles—Do not include the cost of any items or materials used to modify a vehicle for a physically disabled person to calculate any use tax due (CR&TC §6369.4).

Trailer Coaches (CCH)—Do not include the value of the in-place location, awning(s), skirting, carport, patio, landscaping, shrubs, or unattached furnishings in the taxable price. If these values are not readily known to the new owner, the owner may pay the use tax on the known total and request a refund or contact the nearest CDTFA office to clarify the amount of use tax due.

Specially Constructed Vehicles (SPCNS)—Use tax is due on the complete vehicle. Include the value from new or used parts, a combination of new and used parts, including the cost of labor to reconstruct the vehicle.

Vehicle Purchased as Cab/Chassis or Chassis/Cowl—Calculate use tax as follows:

IfAndThen Calculate the Use Tax on the
Sales tax was paid on the items installed as a bodyEvidence of payment is presented

Evidence of payment is not presented
Value of only the cab/chassis or the chassis/cowl, as appropriate.

Entire vehicle and instruct the applicant to apply for a refund of sales tax from CDTFA.
The cab/chassis or chassis/cowl was purchased from an out-of-state dealerThe body was purchased separately from someone other than a dealerTotal cost of the vehicle as shown on
the application.

Vessel and Trailer Combinations—Determine use tax as follows:

If the Applicant Knows theThen Calculate the Use Tax on the
Separate values of the vessel and the trailerSeparate values.
Total combined price only for both the vessel and the trailer$1 cost/value on the trailer application (for $1 use tax) and the remaining cost/value on the vessel application.