Trade-in and Tax Credit: Does a Trade-In Reduce Sales Tax?

Trade-in and Tax Credit: Does a Trade-In Reduce Sales Tax?

You can trade in an old vehicle you no longer require if you want to purchase a car. You can trade your car to the dealer where you buy your new vehicle. You should consider other factors, including the amount of work involved in each option. Your state’s tax rates will determine the actual benefit. It depends on whether your state offers to trade in tax credits. If your state offers trade-in tax credits, you may have a limit on how much can be reduced from the total amount taxable.

How Does a Trade-in Reduce Sales Tax?

Nearly every state allows you to deduct the value of your trade-in from your next vehicle’s sale price before tax. If you buy a vehicle at $40,000, and the dealer offers $15,000 for your trade-in, you will only pay tax on $25,000

The savings can add up quickly if your state’s sales tax rate is 6 percent. Instead of paying $2,400 tax on a $40,000 purchase, you will only pay $1,500 – $900 more in taxes.

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How to Trade in Your Car?

You sell your vehicle to a dealer by trading it in. While there may be additional paperwork, most dealers should streamline the process.

  • Find out the average selling price of your make and model. Websites such as Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book will show you how much your vehicle is worth.
  • Get quotes from multiple dealerships. You should get quotes from multiple dealerships to find the best deal.
  • You can trade in your car at any dealership you consider buying. This is the only way to reduce your sales tax on your next purchase, even if there are better deals than this one.
  • You must complete the paperwork to trade in your car and purchase a new or used vehicle. Although technically separate transactions, they can often be completed simultaneously.

Remember that almost everything in buying a car is subject to negotiation. The value of your trade-in can also be negotiated. You may find that the dealer offers you more than you expect for your trade-in. This could be due to a higher interest rate or selling price.

Experts recommend not to mention that you are trading in a car. Next, tell the dealer that you would like to trade your car in and ask for a quote from the dealer. You will likely need to take it to the dealer to have it inspected.

You can keep or sell your car if the dealer offers too much. You can find various online resources that will help you determine the value of your car.

Trading a Car in vs. Selling

When you Trade a Car

Pro: Less hassle

The key benefit to trading in your vehicle is that you may do less work. You will need to visit one or more dealers to get estimates and choose where to trade your vehicle. Finally, you must complete the sales paperwork at the dealership. You should check with the dealer to ensure they handle all details. The dealership might transfer the title and register the car if you have an existing car loan. This would make it much easier for you.

Pro: Lower taxable sales price

You might pay less tax if your state has a sales tax. Most states only require that you pay tax on the difference between the trade-in amount you paid and the price of the car you bought.

Con: Lower offer

Dealers are looking to profit from trade-in cars, so they might offer you less than you would get if you sold them. Dealers usually offer less than the car’s wholesale value, which a dealer would pay to purchase from a manufacturer.

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When You Sell a Car

Pro: Higher sale value

You may get more money selling your car on your own, even after considering the cost of detailing and maintenance. These prices can change. You can calculate the difference in trade-in and private-party values for your car using any security tool that estimates your make and model based on local sales.

Con: More work and more time

It can be challenging to sell a car privately. It can be not easy to find documents such as your car’s title or maintenance records, decide a fair selling price, clean it up, list it, screen potential buyers, and go on test drives. After you have found a buyer and done all of that, you will need to fill out paperwork so the buyer can register your vehicle’s title.

Privately selling your car is not the best option if you urgently need cash to purchase a car or pay off a car loan. It may take some time to sell your car to a private buyer, depending on your vehicle type. You may need to continue paying for your car insurance and keep your car registered during this time.


1. Do you get a tax credit for trading in a car?

You do not get a tax credit for trading in your car. You can deduct the sales tax that you paid for the car from your taxes.

2. Do you save tax if you trade in the car?

Some countries allow you to trade in your car and reduce the tax you pay on purchasing a vehicle. This will vary depending on where you live, your state, and even your province. It is a good idea to consult your local tax authority to find out if you qualify for any tax benefits.

3. How much does trading in a car affect credit?

Credit is not directly affected by the sale of a car. You can trade in a car without affecting your credit. However, if there is a loan attached to the vehicle you are selling, this could impact your credit.

[Read More: How Does A Car Loan Affect My Credit?]


The decision to trade in a car or privately sell your car comes down to two simple questions: What is the most important thing? And how hard do you want it to sell?

If you owe money on a car loan, you can’t repay now, and it might be a good idea to wait before selling or trading your car. You might not be allowed to sell your car privately if you do this. Some dealers may pay off your old loan if you trade in your car. If you go to the dealer and owe more than the car is worth, you might roll your existing loan into the new car loan balance. This could increase your monthly payments and your interest over your life.

Arjun Kumar

I’m a writer specializing in finance content. I have 5-plus years of experience in the content marketing world. I’ve worked with various companies in a variety of industries, from news articles to technical articles. I have gained the skills to present helpful content to all precious audiences of the site. My only moto is to build trust, maintain worth and provide interesting content to the people