Black Flag Conundrum . . .

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

One of the reasons not to get a new vehicle – even if it’s an old vehicle – is being held up (again) for money. Not by the seller. By the government. That self-legalized gang of thugs who are also psychotic in that they do not consider themselves thugs or robbers. They are “the government” – and what they force you to pay them merely “taxes.”

As well as “license” and “registration” – styled “fees.”

You pay all of these when you buy a vehicle, notwithstanding how many times “the government” has already robbed you. It’s not enough that they rob you of money every time you earn some, leaving you with less money to buy things. They rob you again when you use the money to buy something – and then again to use the thing you bought, such as a new (even if very old) vehicle.

Everyone understands it is legitimate – it is rightful – to defend oneself agains an ordinary (and psychologically sound) robber. Yet almost everyone is under the delusion that when government robs you, it has the “right” to do so – and (worse because degrading) that it is our obligation to stand and deliver, as it used to be styled. It is a very strange dissonance and testament to pervasiveness of fractured (or crippled) thinking, largely the product of not thinking – that being the product of (who would have guessed it?) government schools.

Once you acquire the power of thought, you see that you are being robbed – and the same instinct to protect oneself wells up. But the robber is powerful and best not confronted directly just yet.

The better – safer – approach is simply to avoid being robbed.

Not buying a new (even if old) vehicle is the obvious way to do that as well as “legal” in that they can’t (yet) “tax” you on that which you haven’t bought. But that boxes you into whatever you’ve got.

A friend of mine has an old bike I’d like to buy. The thing is, I only want to pay him for it. How to avoid paying it? This thing styled “the government.”

Why, by not paying it!

Of course, it’s subtler than that. Kind of like not paying a mugger by having had the foresight to hide your money somewhere other than in your wallet.

The first way to avoid paying anyone but the seller of the thing you’re buying is to pay him in cash. That way, “the government” doesn’t know what you paid – or bought. This “loophole” is precisely why “the government” (in cahoots with corporations, which have become adjuncts of “the government” and largely indistinguishable from it) wants very much to get rid of cash in favor of a digital currency that makes it impossible to “hide” transactions from the government – or avoid paying it.

If you intend to get “the government” to anoint your ownership of that which you bought and paid for (another psych-trick government uses to get you to pay for what you already bought) be sure to tell the government how little you paid for it. If it is an old motorcycle, say, you can plausibly tell them it’s inoperable; a “project” and you paid $100 for the hulk. This being preferable, in terms of what are styled “sales taxes” – i.e., the money you’re expected to pay to this entity you bought nothing from and (morally) owe nothing to – which are usually based upon the sales price or the “book value” of the vehicle.

Beware, though, as regards paying “the government” to anoint you as the owner of that which you paid someone else for. If you have what the government styles “title,” the government knows you have the vehicle – and if you live in an area where “the government” imposes another form of robbery styled “property taxes,” you can expect to be made to pay “the government” every year – for as long as you have “title” – in exchange for “the government” not seizing the vehicle you bought and paid for from someone else.

I prefer to rely on the general stupidity of “the government.” It is peopled by sub-par people, almost axiomatically. People who have no – or little – value in the market, where they would have to earn what they are paid and so would be paid very little, if anything. As the apparatchiks of “the government,” they can take what they haven’t earned. Just like the robbers they are but aren’t honest enough to admit they are.

Do you suppose “the government” can tell the difference between say a 1981 Honda motorcycle and a 1983 Honda motorcycle? More precisely, do you think a sub-par government apparatchik can tell?

The two are quite fungible.

One antique tag looks much the same as another, too.

The bottom line is they’d both be mine, morally bought-and-paid-for. I feel no pangs of guilt for doing whatever I can to avoid paying sub-par people who didn’t sell me anything but expect me to pay them for it.

Nor should anyone else.

Once one understands that we are being robbed we understand it is right to do what we can to avoid being robbed. Interestingly, we raise the black flag – as Mencken put it – in defense against pirates, robbing no one.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in! Or email me at if the @!** “ask Eric” button doesn’t work!

If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos. 

We depend on you to keep the wheels turning! 

Our donate button is here.

 If you prefer not to use PayPal, our mailing address is:

721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079

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 eBook about car buying (new and used) is also available for your favorite price – free! Click here.  If that fails, email me at and I will send you a copy directly!


  1. As your vehicles ago, good luck finding parts unless you can afford to have them made a la Jay Leno.

    Right now I’ve had the power lock module fail on my (3rd generation) Town Car for the second time.

    That means no working driver’s door keypad, or power locks, or power mirrors, or (a different module I haven’t been able to source, even used) power driver’s seat.

    They made a over a million of my vehicle but the lock module part is out-of-production until the end of the year so my first replacement was a used part from eBay that lasted only a month or so.

    Maybe it’s a ground issue…I’m sure that will be fun to try and track down…think I’ll let my independent mechanic do that.

  2. I did this with a pair of Classic Triumphs for years! I had a 71 Tiger 650 and a 73 Tiger 750. Swapped the plates back and forth. Was pulled over once on each bike and the dumb ass cops never knew the difference. I was not wearing a helmet. I claimed it was stolen and still had to get home. Let off with warnings after they ran my info.

  3. Today’s Full Measure had a story on the self driving tech in electric cars such as Teslas. There have been NUMEROUS electric cars that had self driving mode activated and killed people or crashed into emergency vehicles or other vehicles, but the federal government continually turns a blind eye to it and tries to FORCE the masses into buying one…….

  4. When they implement digital currency you can bet bartering will become much more common. People will always look for ways to beat the system.

  5. Title18, UNITED STATES CODE Sec. 31
    Sec. 31. Definitions
    When used in this chapter the term –
    “Motor vehicle” means every description of carriage or other contrivance propelled or drawn by mechanical power and used for commercial purposes on the highways in the transportation of passengers, passengers and property, or property or cargo;

  6. Eric, I feel your pain. I just bought another Pontiac, 22 years old GTP. With taxes and registration and “inspection”, etc. the state of NY cost me almost a grand.

    I couldn’t lie about this one, being that the dealer I purchased from gave me a bill of sale with the actual amount I paid.

    But every time I buy privately, I list the sale price as low as is possible.

    If it weren’t for the threat of government violence, I wouldn’t even bother registering it and just start driving it around.

    This car was sold and taxed 3 times (I’m the 3rd owner) and it really pisses me off that the government should get another goddamn dime out of an old car I bought for fun to remind me of one I had 22 years ago.

    The only saving grace was a truly helpful and polite DMV worker- a rarity but very welcome.

    • James, the NY State Gov. is politely telling you to take your financial assets elsewhere.

      I suggest you do so, posthaste, after examining and finding a jurisdiction where the theft rate, “taxes” is significantly lower.

      And,as always, discretion is the better part of valor.

      Good luck and happy moving!!!

      I did it years ago myself and only regret not doing it sooner.

      • Hi Saxons,

        If only there were states that had no such “taxes” … that respected property rights, as opposed to punishing you for having property. In Virginia, we have state income “taxes,” property “taxes” and personal property “taxes.” Also “taxes” on everything you buy. This is after federal “taxes.” And people wonder why they’re broke – and can never stop having to work.

  7. Do your fellow man a solid. Leave those titles open so HE can decide how much tribute Uncle Sugar should get.

    The only time you should be paying Uncle is if you buy from a dealer. Why yes, I only paid $500 for that late model low mileage bike! You should see the hole in the block! Lol

  8. In this neck of the woods, we have what are called “Z-Tags”, which are black. After your vehicle is a certain age, you no longer have to re-register them every two years. My one now sixteen year old vehicle has not been re-registered for at least six years, saving me a boat load of money on the taxes. But thankfully, this is not California. Not yet…

    • Hi Shadow,

      It’s still possible to do that here as well, after the vehicle reaches 25. So I can do that with all my bikes except the ’03 ZRX (and soon, that one also). It also makes it easy to keep multiple old bikes and ride them regularly without paying for new plates, if you gnoe what I be sayin’.

  9. And another thing. Why is it that state level GovCo issues the “Title”? Why not the manufacturer? I’ve moved to various states over the years and every time I have to get a new “title” issued by The State. I guess it’s just so you know who the real owner is…and it ain’t you.

  10. My black flag moment may be in January, the bike annual renewal comes due. Thinking of taking the hair dryer to the tags on the license plate, go registration “nekked” and roll on.

  11. Here in WA for used vehicles the gov will determine the “value” for your “use tax” :

    “Why use average fair market value and not actual sale price?
    Fair market value reflects the value of a vehicle according to the retail selling price at the place of use, compared to similar vehicles of like quality or character. The actual selling price may or may not be the same as the average fair market value in cases when an individual sells a used vehicle or vessel.

    How is the fair market value determined?
    We get average fair market values from Price Digests, an industry standard source.

    What if a vehicle or vessel is worth less than the average fair market value?
    To establish that a vehicle or vessel is worth less than the average fair market value, the buyer may provide:

    An estimate of repairs prepared by a registered mechanic.
    An appraisal prepared by a registered dealer.
    Documentation from another value source, such as National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) or Kelley Blue Book that cites a lower average retail value for the vehicle or vessel. The purchase price will be accepted if it is within $2,000 of the value cited by the alternate source. Either photocopies of printed materials or a printout from the Internet are acceptable.
    A completed Department of Revenue Declaration of Buyer and Seller Regarding Value of Use Vehicle Sold form stating the selling price and condition of the vehicle. Both the buyer and the seller must sign the form. These are subject to review.“

    Plus if you live in Lib Heaven of King, Pierce, Snohomish Counties you get the joy of another 1% or so annually on registration renewal for the Toy Train Transit system that’s years late and mega over budget.

  12. “Do you suppose “the government” can tell the difference between say a 1981 Honda motorcycle and a 1983 Honda motorcycle?”

    It’s a funny thing how few people understand why I have multiples of most of my toy collection. Who would ever imagine a plebe would have more than 1 49 Ford F-1, much less 5 of them ranging from stock and unrestored to snarling street freak?

    And a “homemade” motorcycle can have an infinite number of permutations…

    This strategy only works though if you live in the boonies with lots of storage available.

  13. Keep in mind that not all government employees are stupid – in fact, those in their departments of revenue are very smart and will notice if a lot of people use the “project car” ruse. They will then begin making in-person visits to ensure the car is actually a “project car” instead of a fully-functional vehicle. As for corporations being just another part of government, I agree – I was at a restaurant and club in Philadelphia recently and the only way to pay for both food and drink was to scan a QR code into your smartphone and pay by check/debit card. I will also never buy a car made after 2026 because of the required “smart” DUI-sensor technology. I am fed up with the System’s attempts to control everything I do and will resist by any possible and legal means.

  14. It’s fairly obvious that the big push for digital currency is control, of any and every thing you do. And a means of punishing you for defying them, without hiring goons with guns to come to your house. A means which you cannot resist, period. What shall you do? Shoot your digital currency card?

    • CASH.
      and get some junk silver and find out its value. That way you will have something practical to exchange with and not feed the beast.
      The beast will be MUCH worse than telling you who to vote for, how to worship, or not to, and required poisons, etc. Yuval Noah Harari says “Free Will? That’s OVER. Humans have become hackable aneemals.” If you do not escape, your body will be a robot controlled by somebody else.
      There ARE things worse than death.

  15. “I prefer to rely on the general stupidity of “the government.” It is peopled by sub-par people, almost axiomatically. People who have no – or little – value in the market”
    Reminds me of a line from Ghost Busters, from Dan Aykroyd: “I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results.”
    The problem with agents of the state being idiots is that they are nearly as likely to come after you if you abide all their proclamations as they are if you violate them. A case in point: The IRS may freeze your bank account, even if you have followed their every rule, if they deem your activity “suspicious”.

  16. One thing that was clearly apparent during the draconian “lockdown” bullshit was that automobiles don’t need license tags to operate safely and efficiently. DMV is a scam from top to bottom. Their employees are lazy and incompetent, even as pirates. Their worthlessness cannot be overstated. Even the State Troopers despise them.

  17. ‘If you have what the government styles “title,” the government knows you have the vehicle’ — eric

    Once upon a time, bearer bonds were a popular financial instrument. Like dollar bills, they weren’t registered. Possessors of bearer bonds could submit coupons to receive interest payments, and turn in the certificate itself to obtain redemption of the principal.

    But no more: “The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 substantially curtailed the issue of debt in bearer form. The act disallowed a tax deduction of interest paid on any such bonds issued after 1982 by the issuer in the case of corporate bonds and removed the tax exemption of the interest to the holder in the case of municipal bonds. In contrast, registered bonds retained tax-exempt treatment.” — Wikipedia

    Why kill bearer bonds? Because Big Gov can’t tax anonymous owners of bonds, unless they voluntarily fess up.

    Anonymous ownership of assets, in some cases, is possible through trusts. It’s what the hyper-rich do to stay low profile. Usually it’s not worth the expense for vehicles. But if I lived in a state with a personal property tax (as I once did, in Arkansas), I’d devote some study to titling vehicles in a neighboring state without personal property tax.

    To warp a quote from Uncle Joe (Stalin), “No assets, no problem!”

    • “The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act”….gotta love the Orwellian titles of govco edicts. You can be sure it’s the exact opposite of what it says it is.

      • TEFRA-1982 was passed because Clowngress became alarmed by a $79 billion (!) deficit in 1981, resulting from recession and the Reagan tax cuts.

        Today the Treasury Dept announced that the fiscal year 2022 deficit was halved to ‘only’ $1.4 trillion, with revenues booming thanks to large capital gains in 2021 (stocks reached their peak on Jan 3, 2022).

        That’s as good as it gets. From fiscal year 2023 on, the fedgov deficit will never fall below $2 trillion again, as cumulative fedgov debt hits $33 trillion next year, and heads for the stars. This is the Weimar stage, where the mathematics of compounding interest take control, and Clowngress struggles to procure enough rag paper and green ink to print hundred-dollar bills fast enough, so that shoppers can buy a gallon of milk or a carton of eggs.

        Fedgov FUBAR … let it bleed.

  18. The “justification” for vehicle taxes is commonly thought to be road maintenance. OK, fine. Then why would an old vehicle have lower tax than a new one? Wouldn’t they all have the same tax, the DOT budget divided by the number of registered vehicles? Oh, because of “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs…”

    Communist road maintenance!

    • RK,
      Only the property and sales tax is adjusted by vehicle worth. In most States, the fuel tax is “intended” to fund roads, but goes into the general revenue. Property tax is the primary source of funding public schools. Which accounts for about 70-80% of my property tax. Sales taxes are simply a means of funding the State in general funds. Applied to all purchases as a percentage.
      It all sucks, and it’s all armed robbery. Who would pay any tax or “fee” if not for goons with guns?

    • > why would an old vehicle have lower tax than a new one?

      You’d think they would want to encourage ownership of newer vehicles, which are supposedly less polluting than older vehicles. Instead, the tax scheme in states like Nevada (where a $25k car can cost the better part of $400 to register for the first couple or three years) would appear to incentivize keeping your old car around as long as you can. They depreciate the value over 10 years, so my 2012 Rogue has just gotten to the cheap rates paid for older cars.

      Government: where the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

      • “Government: where the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.”

        That’s because they are in different pockets of different tax victims.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here