So far, I have saved $150 by not renewing the “registration” – another government euphemism for another tax – I am expected to pay each year . . . in addition to all the other taxes called by other euphemisms (including the taxes called “insurance premiums”) I am expected to pay just because I happen to own a vehicle.
I stopped “renewing” – a government euphemism for paying – back in 2019. I should have stopped paying many years ago as this would saved me a great deal more than $150.
The annual registration “tax” is about $50. I’ve owned my pickup about 15 years now so that’s about $750 – a sum much larger than the $50 once a year, which is why the hit is applied over time, so as to make it seem small.
It is not small.
Particularly when compounded by the various other taxes – some not euphemized, like motor fuels taxes, but artfully hidden by including them in the cost of the fuel, so as to make it seem we’re just paying for the fuel.
About 50 cents of the cost of every gallon of gas we buy is tax – which works out to about a 25 percent tax on a gallon of fuel – making the motor fuels tax one of the most regressive of all taxes. If your car takes 15 gallons, you are paying about $8 in taxes (out of the $33 at the current roughly $2.20 average national cost of a gallon of regular unleaded) every time you fill up. That is a lot of tax. There would be an uproar if people had to pay the tax openly – as they do when they buy say groceries. Imagine being at the checkout line and watching the price of the $25 worth of food you just bought jump to $33 “plus tax.”
Which is why the cost of motor fuels taxes is embedded in the price of the gas, making it seem as though you’re just paying for gas – and so you don’t notice how aggressively you are being plucked by these taxes.
Let’s say you buy four tanks of gas a month. That’s about $400 annually in motor fuels taxes. If you drive a truck or SUV with a 20 or 25 gallon tank – and you burn through a tank faster – you might be paying as much as twice that in motor fuels taxes.
Even if it’s ”only” about $400 annually, over ten years you will have paid about $4,000 in motor fuels taxes. Plus $500 in “registration” taxes.
That’s $4,500 in taxes!
And there are several taxes more to add to the tally, like the possession tax – which you are required to pay in order to retain possession of the vehicle since failure to pay can result in the government seizing the vehicle – even if it never leaves your driveway.
The possession tax is styled property tax – but the purpose of the thing is to establish that possession is contingent on payment, thereby making it clear who the ultimate possessor of the property is.
This tax isn’t applied in every state but in states that do apply it, it typically amounts to at least $100 annually – if you own an old, low value vehicle, as the tax is based on the vehicle’s “book value.” The tax on a new or new-ish vehicle can easily amount to several hundred dollars each year.
Several thousands of dollars after ten years.
On top of the $4,500 in taxes you already paid. In addition to the taxes you paid on the sale/transaction at time of purchase and then again to be granted “title” – another tax-euphemism. Why a bill of sale – which costs no money – isn’t sufficient to establish legal “title” is an interesting question. One answered, of course, by the fact that it costs no money to write up a bill of sale. No one would pay a seller a cent to write up a bill of sale; but then, a seller can’t force you to pay him a cent while the government can.
These taxes are exorbitant precisely because we are forced to pay them – otherwise we would not pay them, forcing the insurance companies to “tax” us less, if they wanted to get anything out of us. Instead they charge more, precisely because they can – just like the government.
Thus, even a driver who has never filed a claim or cost the insurer a cent is compelled to pay proportionately exorbitant sums every year. In my case, about $250 annually. This may not sound exorbitant but consider the sum in relation to the value of my almost 20-year-old truck, which is worth maybe $4,000 – as well as what I have cost the insurance company, which is nothing.
Over the past decade, I have been taxed by the insurance mafia to the tune of around $2,500 – a sum equivalent to about half the value of my truck. In addition to the $4,500 or so in taxes for “registration” and on the gas I bought. Plus another $1,500 or so – at least – in possession/property taxes and not counting the taxes I was compelled to pay at the time of purchase and to get “title” to the truck, though ownership became effective when money changed hands between myself and the seller.
It’s a lot of taxes.
More has been paid in taxes than was paid for the truck itself (which was about $7,500) and that is no small thing.
Our ancestors fought over a few cents in taxes on correspondence. There was no such thing as a tax on horses – or hay.
I’ve decided to stop paying at least some of these taxes – at least, the ones that I can “get away” with not paying, without risking serious repercussions. The registration tax, for instance. If a roving government tax collector – the honest etymology for “cop” – notices my “out of date” stickers, I risk a fine. So far, I have not paid a cent – and the money I saved paid for things I need, like food – as opposed to a government sticker for the truck.
A longer-term solution is to hang Farm Use tags on the truck as in my state (and others) Farm Use vehicles are exempt from annual registration taxes; just be careful about being noticeable and be sure your vehicle is plausibly a a Farm Use vehicle, like a truck.
The possession tax can be greatly reduced, if not avoided, by not possessing a vehicle less than ten years old. The older, the better – insofar as lower.
Insurance taxes can also be lowered in this way.
There’s not much that can be done about motor fuels taxes, unfortunately. But if you’re paying less in all those other taxes, the motor fuels tax won’t bite as hard.
It’s a shame about all these taxes. Didn’t Americans used to object to such things?
. . .
Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos.
PS: Get an EPautos magnet or sticker or coaster in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a magnet or sticker or coaster – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)
My latest eBook is also available for your favorite price – free! Click here. If that fails, email me at EPeters952@yahoo.com and I will send you a copy directly!