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I have seen a few cars for sale in California having amassed significant back taxes according to the ad or having just been off the road for many years. Has anyone ever bought one of these cars and taken it out of CA? Did the back taxes need to be payed first? Or could you and the seller complete the necessary transfer papers from your state of residence and then have it processed there? Guess that’s kinda gray as every state is a little different. Mostly just wondered if those taxes could be avoided if the vehicle was to leave CA and not to be registered there. Am I making any sense?
 

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California is broke and needs the money.......
Their computers will never forget, so if a future buyer brings it back they will be charged the (now astronomical) tax !
 

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I've sent two California cars with back taxes out of state. Neither friend has had any problem registering them in their new state. I think the cars fall out of the system here in CA after something like 20 years.

bs
 

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I have seen a few cars for sale in California having amassed significant back taxes according to the ad or having just been off the road for many years.
"Amassing back taxes" and "off the road for many years" amount to the same thing; California taxes cars through the annual registration fee. An owner who is organized can register their undriven car on "non operational" status and not incur any fees or taxes. But the kind of owner who parks his spider out in the back yard for 10 years usually isn't very organized - they typically ignore the annual renewal notices, which just annoys the DMV and State.

When you buy a car with back fees, you are generally obligated to pay them (at least if you re-register the car here in California - other states probably don't care). Years ago, I remember a DMV clerk saying "oh well, it wasn't you who incurred these fees, so I'll just waive them". Don't know if that would happen today.
 

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"Amassing back taxes" and "off the road for many years" amount to the same thing; California taxes cars through the annual registration fee.
Not always. If you pay the non-op fee, then the car can be off the road for many years without accumulating back taxes.

bs
 

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Yep, I've sold cars out of Calif with no title, other state titles, run out registrations, you name it. No issues at all on registration in the other states in terms of any Calif fees etc.
Never sold a stolen car, far as I know, which would be another matter if the VIN popped up as stolen.
Andrew
 

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Not always. If you pay the non-op fee, then the car can be off the road for many years without accumulating back taxes.
Yea, sorry - I was interrupted before I finished writing that post. See final version above.
 

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Also, DMV happens to call them fees and penalties, not taxes.
Why folks don't non-op cars in advance I cannot imagine. The back penalties can turn a car from a sensible project to an expensive impossibility. I was offered a free Saab turbo recently, salvage title was OK at the price, but $700 in penalties was not. So no thanks.
Andrew
 

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Moving to California I was amazed to find that non-op option on registration renewals. That, great beaches and year round sunshine. Who’d have thought.
 

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My 1976 Alfetta Gt was registered non operational for $10.00 in 1998. I had a major travelling job and didn't want to mess with it in those days. It was stored for 20 years... Finally 2 months ago after having to install a new TA and Cal. Cat. It passed smog and re registered for just $130.00. If the California car was registered as non operational years ago.....there should be no extra charges. It is not called taxes here in California....but DMV Fees..
 

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I'm ashamed of you CA people. We have the worst motor vehicle department known to mankind and the staff celebrate their ignorance and purposeful efforts to be obtuse. I have lived in three CA counties in the past 41 years and found them all the same. Granted, you may, as I have, found one or two staff that act like reasonable people, but the odds here are not in your favor.
 

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As a native of this beautiful, but politically messed up state.....I can say my 1976 Alfetta GT purchased new in 1977 was non op status from 2000 to 2018. The California D.M.V. did not even have it in the system. I did not have to pay any back penalties. The car had to pass smog and was re registered last year. In addition the state me sent a new title.
 
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