Ask the County Law Librarian: Vehicle Sales Tax Exemption for Siblings
On Saturday I got a bill in the mail from the State Board of Equalization saying I owed 1400.00 in sales tax and late fees from when I bought my brothers truck last year. I thought as brothers, we were exempt from the tax. Do I owe the money now??
Thanks for your question. Your answer depends on how old you and your brother were at the time of the transaction. According to the California Vehicle Code §6285, you are not required to pay use tax on the purchase of a vehicle or vessel if it is considered a family transfer. A family transfer is from a parent, grandparent, grandchild, child, spouse, domestic partner, or siblings. However, both siblings need to be minors at the time of the transaction. If these family transfers do not apply, then the tax must be paid. If you were minors at the time of the transaction you should have completed a DMV Statement of Facts attesting to the exemption. For more information on tax for vehicles and vessels, see the California State Board of Equalization pamphlet on the topic.
According to the Board of Equalization website, if you disagree with a decision of the staff of the Board of Equalization (BOE) regarding your liability for taxes or fees, you can contest that decision by filing a timely appeal. While the majority of appeals are resolved after discussion with BOE staff, some may proceed through a succession of steps to a hearing before the elected Members of the Board. For more information on the appeals procedure, check out Publication 17 available from the Board of Equalization.
If I have delivered bad news, and you determine you in fact owe the tax, the Board of Equalization offers flexible payment options if you qualify for an installment agreement where payments can be made in weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or twice monthly installments. If you decide to pay in installments, it is required that payments be made through Auto Pay. Keep in mind interest and fees will continue to accrue until the debt is paid off in full.
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