Effective July 1, 2009, the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Motor Vehicles, enacted legislative regulations establishing the imposition of a 5% sales tax on vehicles prior to the issuance of a certificate of title. The division will collect the sales tax prior to issuing a title, regardless of whether the applicant has paid a similar sales or privilege tax on the vehicle in any other jurisdiction. The only exception applies to a new resident (person or business entity) establishing domicile in West Virginia is exempt from paying the tax on vehicles titled previously in the former state. The sales tax on applications for title on a vehicle purchased from a dealer either in-state or out-of-state is based on the purchase price minus any applicable trade-in vehicle: note: 1) the trade in vehicle must be titled in West Virginia; and 2) rebates received after the sale do not reduce the taxable purchase price. Furthermore, the sales tax does not apply to transfer of ownership without consideration (i.e. gifts, donations, or an inheritance).
The minimum taxable value of a vehicle is $500, irrespective of the indicated actual sale price on either the application for title, the back of the title or a notarized bill of sale. An exemption does apply when the vehicle is branded reconstructed or salvaged, Class T utility trailers, motorboats under 16 feet, welfare to work or similar type program vehicles, assembled vehicles and trailers, Class R travel campers, and older vehicles no longer included in editions of nationally distributed and recognized vehicle value guides. (Reg. Secs. 91-9-1 – 91-9-3, West Virginia Department of Transportation)