Good Question: What does the “county use” tax at the DMV cover?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Let’s answer a good question about the DMV and taxes. All those fees add up while doing business when it comes to your car or truck. That brings us to this message:

Ron says: “I just received my truck registration renewal and it has a $20 county/city use tax/fee added on. What is it and where does the money go?”

Basically, to help cover local road and bridge projects. This is something our team has looked into before but I just got some new numbers to show you.

The state DMV says: “Residents of New York City and several counties in New York State must pay a vehicle use tax when they register a passenger vehicle or renew a passenger vehicle registration.”

Here in Monroe County, that’s $10 or $20 for two years depending on the weight of your vehicle. That’s on top of any registration fees, which is another $26 to $140.

As for how much we’re talking about, the state DMV tells me it: “…collects New York City and county vehicle use tax fees and sends them to the municipalities. Localities use their own discretion on how they use their vehicle use tax fees. For the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year, New York State transferred $173,612,182.47 back to the localities.”

I’ll also add not everyone in our area has to pay the county use tax. When you go down the list, you’ll see that Wayne and Ontario counties aren’t on it. Over the years they’ve considered adding it but it never happened.

If you have a good question that you want us to answer, email Brennan Somers at