How Do I Calculate How Much for a Tax, Title & License?

Auto lenders often do not figure in the tax, title and license fees when showing you your car payment. This is a crucial step as it will avoid payment shock when you receive your first auto loan statement. Once you have all the necessary figures, you can calculate these values yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Finance agreement (including purchase price and destination fee)
  • Calculator


    • 1

      Review the purchase and finance agreement that your lender gave to you. You will need the purchase price, the cost of any add-ons (extra features not included in the price) and the destination fee.

    • 2

      Identify the sales tax rate for your state. You will need this information before making your calculations.

    • 3

      Calculate for taxes. Add the purchase price of the car, the prices of add-on features and the destination fee. Convert the sales tax percentage to a decimal (e.g. 8 percent is 0.08). Multiply the sum of the three figures by the tax rate. For example, if the sales price is $15,000, add-ons equal $1,000 and the destination fee is $500, your calculation would look like this: $16,500 x 0.08 = $1,320. This is your sales tax.

    • 4

      Find out how much your state department of motor vehicles charges for titling fees. According to, most state DMVs charge between 1.0 percent and 1.5 percent for to title a vehicle. To find out how much this will cost you, you must multiply the sum of the purchase price, the add-ons and the destination fee ($16,500 in the example above) by the decimal form of this DMV rate. For example, if your DMV rate is 1.3 percent, your calculation looks like this: $16,500 x 0.013 = $214.50. These are the fees for title and license.

    • 5

      Calculate the actual payments for the car loan. Add together the purchase price, the add-ons, the destination fee, the taxes and the title and license fees. In this example, this looks like this: $15,000 + $1,000 + $500 + $1,320 + $214.50 = $18,034.50. Use the a car payment calculator to find your actual car payment. Use the rate and term in your loan contract.

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