When you buy a used old car in our state, the gov’ment expects you to pay sales tax on the “true value” of the car, not what you actually paid. And to determine said value, they use those soft-bound NADA value guides that are about as accurate as my estimates on how long it will take me to restore my E-Type (i.e., very inaccurate).
For example, when I bought the XJR, I paid $7,400. I had to pay sales tax on $13,500, even though the price I paid was exactly the market price! I’m having a difficult time getting anyone interested in my XJ6 for $1,800, yet the price guides say it’s worth $5,000.
And there is no easy recourse. You can get the seller to write you a note, which the state doesn’t have to accept, but by that point the seller frankly never wants to see you again and isn’t going to write a notarized letter. State wins, more money for them. Who would have thought?
Another bad thing about these guides is that it suckers sellers into asking way too much for their cars, and then they never get a buyer. An example: using a price guide (mentioned in their ad, no less), a seller on craigslist has a car worth–maybe–$1,000 priced at $12,000 because the guides say it’s worth that. I can tell you that not a single car of that model has sold for that amount, even in pristine condition–ever!
I’m a pretty liberal guy who believes in good government, but I hate hidden taxes and that is exactly what this is. Bah!