How to Calculate Ohio Car Tax

January 26, 2012

Calculating Ohio car tax is important, whether you are in the market for a new or used car. Whether you purchase from a dealership or private party, Ohio state auto sales tax is calculated based on the selling price of the vehicle, plus any accessories and dealer-mandated documentation fees. Use these tips when you need an Ohio car tax calculator when determining how affordable a vehicle is.

Step 1: Determine the Cash Selling Price

On a buyer's order or contract with a dealership, the cash selling price is the "top line" figure on the form, before any rebates or documentation fees are added. This price is the most important figure to calculate Ohio sales tax. The cash selling price in Ohio does not take into account any rebates or incentives from the manufacturer. However, if there is a dealership discount, the dealership discount is not taxed, ultimately lowering the cash selling price.

Step 2: Add Documentation Fees

If buying from a dealership, there is a good chance the dealership will charge a documentation fee. This can range from $50 to over $300, depending on the dealership and where you live in Ohio. Remember, these are only documentation fees charged by the dealer. State registration and titling fees are not taxed.

Step 3: Calculate Sales Tax

With the cash selling price and documentation fees added together, it is time to calculate your sales tax. Be sure to look up your county tax rate on the Ohio Department of Taxation website. Simply multiply the sum of the figures from Steps 1 and 2 by your local tax rate. For example, if you are purchasing a Ford Focus with a cash selling price of $18,000 and a dealer documentation fee of $250, while living in Fulton county, (which has a 7% sales tax rate,) the total Ohio car tax is $1,277.50.

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