The dealership charged me FL sales taxes, even though I am exempt as an out of state buyer. They will not rectify the situation.
On September 13, 2013 I purchased a preowned vehicle from Parks Toyota of Deland. I am a Missouri resident who was coordinating an out of state transaction. The car was to be delivered to me in Alabama, and the transaction was to be finalized upon delivery. From my previous experience in buying a car out of state, I have typically been exempt from paying sales tax. Although it is not like that in every state, it's pretty common.
Nonetheless, the dealership was adamant that they did all the research they possibly could and determined, under the circumstances of our transaction, they were required to collect Florida sales tax. Because of this, I paid to the dealership $815.61 in sales tax.
After the car was delivered to me in Alabama and finalizing the sale, I was inclined to dig deeper into the situation. I knew Florida and Missouri are reciprocal sales tax states, meaning if a Missouri resident purchases a vehicle in Florida (accept it in FL), s/he pays taxes to the state of Florida, and those taxes are applied to the Missouri taxes that would be paid when the vehicle is titled/registered. Missouri does something unique when you sell a car (or trade it) and then purchase another vehicle. The sales tax that was paid previously on the vehicle can be applied to a new vehicle. My new vehicle was $19,650 and the old vehicle sold for $19,000, so I was only responsible for paying taxes on the $650 difference, which came out to be $53. That's all I owed to the state of Missouri, whether I paid sales tax to the state of Florida or not.
On October 22, 2013, I called the Florida Department of Revenue and spoke with a representative named ****** *******. I explained to her in great detail the terms of our sale, and she determined me to be exempt from Florida sales tax because the car was accepted outside of of Florida and registered in Missouri. I took this new information to the dealership and requested to speak with a manager. I received a call from ****** *****, customer relations manager, on October 24th and explained to her the new information. ****** inquired with her superior about the new information and called me on October 25th to inform me that there was nothing more they could do. They determined they were indeed right in collecting sales tax from me and that was the end of the story. Her superior was unavailable for comment as well.
Despite being neglected by the dealer, I continued to investigate this situation. I made another call to the FLDOR on October 30, 2013 to get the information that was previously given to me in writing. I subsequently requested a "Letter of Technical Advice". That letter arrived to me on November 8, 2013, and it reaffirms in writing what I was told-based upon the circumstances of our transaction, I am EXEMPT from Florida sales tax according to rule 12A-1.007(7). That rules also states, "The burden of obtaining this evidential matter rests with the seller, who must retain the proper documentation to support the exempt sale."
As a result, I am filing this claim because I paid $815.61 in taxes to the dealership, despite being exempt. The trouble I am having with this is they had this vehicle advertised on Autotrader.com, and it was presumably open to anyone in the US to purchase. It became clear to me that they did not have a lot of experience in dealing with out of state buyers because they did not have any answers to my questions. Accordingly, I should not have to pay the price for their negligence. It took me, the customer, to do my own investigating with the Florida DOR to determine I was exempt from sales tax. Why couldn't the dealer have originally done this? I was about to spend close to $20,000 with them-couldn't they have gone to bat for me? This is the type of thing that the dealer should have done when I originally inquired about it. They treated it as something that wasn't their problem, which is deeply troubling.
The settlement I am seeking is reimbursement by the dealer of the $815.61. The dealership was negligent in the fact that they failed to provide an affidavit stating I accepted the vehicle outside of the state of Florida (as noted in the Letter of Technical Advice), which would have made me exempt from paying sales tax. Because they did not provide this to me as an option, I paid $815.61 that I should have never paid to the dealer and ultimately to the state of Florida.
November 13, 2013
Better Business Bureau
Attention: ******** ******** Consumer Affairs Rep.
1600 S. Grant Street
Longwood, FL 32750
RE: BBB Case #: XXXXXXXX
Filed by: **** **********
Against: ***** Toyota of Deland
Mr. **** **********, purchased on September 13, 2013 a pre-owned vehicle from Parks Toyota of Deland. The vehicle was driven to and delivered in Alabama as per the Customer's request. Mr. ********** did not have a trade-in as part of his purchase.
Parks Toyota reviewed the Reciprocity between the State of FL and the State of Missouri, due to the fact that Mr. ********** said his intent was to register the vehicle in the State of Missouri. Please find attached the documents we downloaded from the FL Department of Revenue Tax Information Publication, which guides us on the tax percentage to be charged through reciprocity between FL and MO. As per the FL Department of Revenue information Parks Toyota of Deland is required to collect a 4.225% reciprocity tax. Please find attached a copy of Document DR-123 (Affidavit for Partial Exemption of Motor Vehicle Sold for Licensing in Another State), which was signed by Mr. **********. This document has the Sales Price of $20,549.05 and the MO's Sales Tax paid of $868.20, which is the 4.225%. Mr. ********** received a copy of this document as well.
We have talked with our Customer several times and have done everything possible for Mr. ********** to understand that Parks Toyota of Deland collected the amount of tax for the State of MO, as per the Department of Revenue and its Reciprocity Program.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further help.
****** *****, Customer Relations Manager
Parks Toyota of Deland
Attachments will be sent by mail to your address in Longwood, FL.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.)
Final Business Response
Mr. ********** has asked the Credit Card Company to reimburse his payment and the Credit Card Company has refunded him. Mr. ********** has sent us an email informing us that for him this case is closed. Even though our Customer says the case is closed, we have learned a very valuable lesson. The law Mr. ********** sent us, says that if we deliver a vehicle to another state, we will have to charge the reciprocal amount for that other State. Parks Toyota has always had our vehicles delivered thru a third party but always contracted directly by the Customer. This time, we had it delivered by a third party as well. The difference was that when we delivered this only vehicle, the third party was contracted by us. This made it different than all our deliveries and the misunderstanding started. Mr. ********** has solved the problem. We are sending a new Affidavit to Mr. ********** to sign and he has accepted our apologize. We thanked Mr. ********** for this valuable information.