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Legislature > House of Representatives > House Research > Taxes > Major State Aids & Taxes

Major State Aids & Taxes: Motor Vehicle Registration Tax

Program Description

The motor vehicle registration tax is imposed annually on each motor vehicle registered in Minnesota. The tax on passenger cars, pickup trucks, and vans is equal to a $10 flat tax, plus an additional tax based on the vehicle's original value. The tax starts at 1.25 percent of the vehicle's original value and decreases as the vehicle ages to a minimum $25 flat tax.

The tax on trucks and buses is based upon the type, weight, and age of the vehicle. A minimum tax applies to each type of vehicle. There is also a flat tax on motorcycles and mopeds. The tax is paid when the vehicle is first registered in Minnesota to use the public streets and then annually thereafter when it is re-registered.

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Tax Amount and Reporting

Calendar Year 2014 Motor Vehicle Registration Tax: $666.7 million

The total motor vehicle registration tax for calendar year 2014 was $666.7 million. The tax is collected by the Department of Public Safety. The amount of actual tax liability from each county is not available. The statewide total was allocated to counties based on Department of Public Safety estimates of the amount actually remitted by each county. Revenue from this tax is deposited in the Highway User Tax Distribution Fund.

The statewide motor vehicle registration tax amount was obtained from the Department of Revenue.

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Recent Law Changes

The 2008 Legislature restructured the registration tax for passenger vehicles by:

  • eliminating the maximum of $189 in the first registration renewal and $99 in subsequent renewals;
  • amending the vehicle depreciation schedule for a vehicle's valution; and
  • restricting the tax changes so that the amount owed for vehicles previously registered in Minnesota does not increase from the amount paid in previous years.

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Per Capita Maps

Map of motor vehicle registration tax per capita by county Map of motor vehicle registration tax per capita by economic development region

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The Past Five Years of Motor Vehicle Registration Tax

The table below shows the distribution of motor vehicle registration tax in thousands of dollars for the past five years for the state and economic development regions. The graph shows total dollars of motor vehicle registration tax for that same time period in nominal (actual) and constant (inflation-adjusted) dollars.

Motor Vehicle Registration Tax: Calendar Years 2010 to 2014
Nominal dollars, in thousands
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 5-Yr. Chg. Aid
State $539,733 $574,395 $595,505 $636,027 $666,680 24%

Northern Regions
Northwest (1)
Headwaters (2)
Arrowhead (3)
West Central (4)
Five (5)
East Central (7E)
9,697
7,327
32,403
22,872
16,252
15,782
10,314
7,741
34,028
24,290
17,046
16,548
10,857
7,982
35,189
25,217
17,487
16,998
11,624
8,515
37,249
26,932
18,486
18,010
11,957
8,862
38,817
27,946
19,339
18,963
23
21
20
22
19
20

Southern Regions
Six East (6E)
Upper MN Valley (6W)
Central MN (7W)
Southwest (8)
Nine (9)
Southeastern MN (10)
12,387
5,452
39,952
13,424
23,939
49,561
13,190
5,836
42,682
14,471
25,520
52,526
13,752
6,139
44,446
15,025
26,458
54,233
14,730
6,490
48,097
16,054
27,861
57,629
15,313
6,576
50,675
16,447
28,796
59,666
24
21
27
23
20
20
Total Nonmetro $249,047 $264,192 $273,781 $291,676 $303,357 22%

Metro Region
Hennepin County
Ramsey County
Remaining Metro
117,535
45,557
127,593
125,915
47,602
136,686
131,022
48,497
142,206
140,451
51,620
152,281
148,684
54,235
160,323
27
19
26
Total Metro $290,686 $310,203 $321,724 $344,351 $363,323 25%

Statewide Motor Vehicle Registration Tax

December 2017

House Research Department  ♦  600 State Office Building, Saint Paul, MN  55155  ♦  House.Research@house.mn  ♦  651-296-6753