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​​Frequently Asked Questions About Vehicle Taxes​​​​​​​​ (1/18/2022)​

​The tax on motor vehicles is a property tax. Under Section 172 of the Kentucky Constitution all property not exempted from taxation by the constitution is assessed at its fair cash value, which is the estimated price it would bring at a fair, voluntary sale. ​

​The Kentucky Department of Revenue administers the state's tax laws. Only the General Assembly has the constitutional authority to enact or amend law. ​

The state tax rate is set by statute and is 45 cents per $100 of value in accordance with KRS 132.020 1 (h).

The local tax rates are set by the local taxing authorities such as counties, cities, schools and special districts. The local rates set are governed by KRS 132.487 (2), which limits the tax rate on motor vehicles from exceeding what could have been levied by the district on January 1, 1983.

​No, the 40% percent increase for 2022 referenced in the recent memo from Department of Revenue to all County Clerks and local PVAs reflects the 2022 overall total valuation compared to the 2021 overall total valuation. Not all vehicle values will see a 40% increase compared to last year. ​

Car values can be researched on various free websites, including, but not limited to:

It's important to keep in mind that Kentucky vehicle values are matched against the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN and are current as of the assessment date, which is January 1st each year. These websites may provide a range of values, some of which may not be as current as January 1, 2022. ​​

The dramatic change in the used vehicle market due to the pandemic has been widely reported in both the state and national news since 2020.

A limited supply and high demand for used cars and trucks has caused the value of some vehicles to increase. This is happening across the nation, not solely in Kentucky.

​Vehicles are typically depreciable assets, so we are accustomed to their value and the associated property taxes declining over time. But this is not the first year we have seen an increase in the state's vehicle tax valuations.

While vehicle tax rates have not been raised, this unprecedented increase in the value of some vehicles does unfortunately have a very real impact on the amount of taxes owed by the vehicle owner. Conversely, this increased value is also bringing a much higher resale price for many used vehicles. 

​By statute, the standard value of motor vehicles is the average trade-in value prescribed by the valuation manual unless information is available that affects the value of the vehicle, such as physical damage, high mileage or excessive wear and tear.

In 2009, NADA changed its methodology from using average trade-in to clean trade-in value to determine the value of a vehicle. DOR routinely conducts random checks of actual vehicle sales in Kentucky against NADA values to ensure vehicles are not being overvalued.

​If a vehicle owner believes the value of their vehicle is less than the estimated fair cash value due to documented damage or excessive mileage, they can appeal their assessment to their local PVA

​Assessment and Payment

  • Property Valuation Administrators (PVAs) in each county must list, value, and assess the property tax on motor vehicles and motor boats as of January 1st of each year.  (KRS 132.220(1)(a))
  • The person who owns a motor vehicle on January 1st of the year is responsible for paying the property taxes for that vehicle for the year.
  • Payment should be made to the County Clerk Office in the county where the vehicle is registered.  If the taxes are not paid by the due date, then penalties and interest may be assessed.  Find my County Clerk Office.
  • Assessment Process of Motor Vehicles

Billing and Due Dates

The Department of Revenue (DOR) sends out a notice of tax due and registration renewal to all motor vehicle owners each year.  For any vehicle previously registered in Kentucky, this notice is sent out during the month prior to registration renewal month (usually, the owner's birth month). For any vehicle that was not already registered in that tax year, the notice is sent out during the month following the transfer of that motor vehicle. By law, not receiving the renewal notice card is not a defense against having to pay the tax or any applicable penalties, interest, lien fees, or cost recovery. (KRS 134.805(5)(d))

Protest of Assessment

If you disagree with the assessment of your vehicle, then you must protest that assessment with your county PVA. The assessment shall be due and payable if not protested in writing to the Department of Revenue within 60 days from the date of notice (see the information on back of the renewal notice). 

Refunds

By law, all requests for property tax refunds must be filed within two (2) years from the date the tax was paid. All refunds shall be authorized by the county PVA on Revenue Form 62A044 and supporting documentation. (KRS 134.590(2))

Additional Motor Vehicle Property Tax Information

​An active duty military servicemember whose Leave and Earning Statement (LES) indicates Kentucky as the state of residence or taxable state will owe Kentucky property tax, whether he or she is a Kentucky resident or not. 

An active duty military servicemember will not owe Kentucky property tax if he or she is in Kentucky on military orders and his/her LES does not indicate Kentucky as the state of residence or taxable state.  

Read about Kentucky income tax military exemptions

Learn more about the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

​Certain trailers used on routes or in systems that are partly within and partly outside Kentucky may be exempt from state and local ad valorem property tax. To learn more, including which trailers qualify and documentation must be filed with the forms below, read DOR guidance here.

Single Apportioned Trailer:
Form 62A044  Affidavit for Correction/Exoneration of Motor Vehicle/Boat/Trailer Property Tax
Fleet Apportioned Trailer:
Form 62A044-T  Affidavit for Correction/Exoneration of Fleet Trailer Property Tax


​You may still receive a property tax bill even if you have filed bankruptcy. Motor vehicle property taxes are not dischargeable through bankruptcy if the tax is less than one (1) year delinquent at the time the bankruptcy petition is filed.  If you file bankruptcy and you owe taxes to the Department of Revenue (DOR), you must list DOR as a creditor on your bankruptcy petition.

​The Department of Revenue requires the Final Divorce Decree and/or judge signed legal documents before a person can be removed as liable for tax purposes.  The divorce decree must be signed by a judge prior to January 1 of the tax year for which the tax record is to be edited.

​If you no longer have a vehicle that you used to own, to avoid having to pay FUTURE taxes on that vehicle you must surrender the title to the County Clerk.  In the event that you do not have the title to the vehicle, you will need to request a duplicate title from the Transportation Cabinet and then surrender that duplicate title to the County Clerk.

Vehicles are considered "historic" if they are twenty-five (25) years old or older and used primarily for exhibition in shows, parades, tours, and other special uses, but not for general transportation. Historic vehicles are licensed and registered by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. (KRS 186.043(2)(3))

​Property tax assessments and procedures are the same for motorboats as they are for motor vehicles. (KRS 132.488) For the definition of a motorboat, see KRS 235.010.

​If a vehicle is transferred in any year before the property taxes on that vehicle have been paid, then within ten (10) working days after the transfer date or after the notice of transfer, a notice of tax due will be sent to the person who owned the vehicle on January 1st of the year. (KRS 134.805(5)(b)) The notice of taxes due will notify the person of the amount of property tax that is still owed on the vehicle.

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  • Vehicle Titling and Registration
  • Watercraft-related Issues
  • Web Renewal
  • License Plates
  • Forms
  • Publications
  • Receipts for Motor Vehicle Taxes Paid
Please contact the Transportation Cabinet at
(502) 564-5301 or visit their website at http://drive.ky.gov for assistance.


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Motor Vehicle Property Tax

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