Whether you’re looking to upgrade your ride or replace an old beater, buying a new car is exciting. Before you buy, be aware of the additional expenses involved. On top of the price of the car, the Sunshine State requires you to pay for tax and title fees, and sales tax. Sales tax is based on the full purchase price of the vehicle - new or used. 

Florida sales tax rate

In Florida, the sales tax rate is 6%. The Florida Department of Revenue will always have the current sales tax rate listed. 

If you are not in Florida, check your state’s department of revenue for rates. Other states may charge other fees when purchasing a car as well, including inspection or documentation fees. If you purchase a vehicle through a dealer, you may have other dealership fees. 

Calculate sales tax example

To calculate Florida sales tax on a vehicle, multiply the whole dollar amount by the tax rate. 

Let’s say the purchase price of a car is $20,000. You would owe $1,200 in sales tax. 

$20,000 purchase price x 0.06 sales tax percentage = $1,200 sales tax owed

Discretionary sales surtax in Florida

Some counties in Florida also impose a discretionary surtax on the purchase of a vehicle. Any discretionary sales surtax is applied in addition to the 6% sales tax. 

Florida’s Hillsborough county has one of the highest total surtax rates at 2.5%. 

As of Jan. 2019, the county imposed a new 1% charter county and regional transportation system surtax, plus a new 0.5% school capital outlay surtax. In effect already was a 0.5% indigent health care surtax plus a 0.5% local government infrastructure surtax.

Get the full list of Florida counties that collect a discretionary surtax and their tax rates from the Florida Department of Revenue.

Florida specialty license plates

Buying a car in Florida

In Florida, vehicle sales tax is owed on the purchase of any car, motorcycle, truck, trailer or RV. Be sure to consider all other costs before buying a car, including title, registration and tag fees. For instance, registration fees will vary based on the type and size of the vehicle. 

Florida also has 120 specialty license plates. If you want to “Protect Our Reefs” or “Fish Florida!” or support one of the state’s colleges or university, there is a special fee tacked on.  

Research the overall cost to own and auto insurance on the new car as well. 

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