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Digital Retailing: Tax, Title & Licensing

Bridging the Online to Offline Consumer Experience with Accurate Tax, Title and Licensing Data Insights

Tax Title and License (TT&L) is a complex and detailed process. It is a critical “final mile” component of the car buying process that is often the last experience a consumer has with the dealership during a purchase process, and positive perception can affect CSI scores and factor heavily in their likelihood to return to the dealership for service or their next vehicle purchase.

Dealers, lenders, and auto technologies can create a positive buying experience by sourcing accurate data. TT&L shouldn’t be just a last mile concern, it is also important to address these elements accurately through the entire car buying process. Consistency, accuracy, and transparency build consumer trust.

Inaccurate tax or fees estimates can cause a deal to disappear if unexpected fees are made aware to the consumer at the last minute or when they register the vehicle at the DMV. Or, the titling process can slow down and drag out the transaction if the proper documentation is not collected at the closing table.

If you simply estimate taxes or title and license fees based on the same formula or a state average for every transaction or purchase type you will contribute to a bad customer experience. Many factors influence taxes and fees. In the state of Colorado, knowing if a customer lives inside or outside city limits is important. In the state of Michigan, length of registration is based on your birthday. In Many states the weight of the vehicle is critical to calculate registration fees correctly.

There are additional complexities to consider when you’re determining the right taxes and fees to apply to a specific transaction; for example, using just a ZIP Code to calculate taxes and registration fees does not give you accurate data because postal codes do not follow Confidential material provided by Automotive Ventures LLC @2020 13 taxable jurisdictions. Tax jurisdictions are based on a state, county, and city combinations. Another common mistake often made is the lack of differentiation between in-state and out-of-state transactions. In most states, the TT&L calculation will be incorrect when using in-state rates for an out-of-state transaction.

Buyers can now find the vehicle they want online and buy it anywhere with the combination of information being readily accessible at consumers’ fingertips and the explosion of online automotive retailing. What cannot be bought online is the service that comes along with their vehicle purchase. It is critical that the information consumers get online is consistent with their offline experience when they get to the dealership or take delivery of the vehicle. Accurate Tax, Title and License (TT&L) can be one of the customer experience components that differentiates dealerships and automotive technology providers.

Outside of a dealership experience, as we see the number of peer-to-peer sales platforms increase it is important to help both buyers and sellers build trust through honest transparency and build confidence in the transaction. Buyers need to know what fees they will need to pay when registering a vehicle at the DMV. Sellers need to know what documents they are required to provide during the transaction. Having this data within a peer to peer marketplace tool can both improve the process and protect the parties.

Considering all this, TT&L are critical in many aspects of the process as illustrated on the previous page.

In each example of digital retailing, accurate tax rates and registration fees play an important role. During the early shopping experience, TT&L should be integrated to provide a more accurate monthly payment. TT&L data is important to have when making decisions around both direct and indirect lending. When selling across states, accurate TT&L is critical to ensure the sale is closed with correct taxes and fees so that the lien can be perfected quickly.

I am happy to review this topic further or provide insights on how to better create a seamless offline to online experience. Feel free to reach out to me at

Damon Bennett is the Vice President of Business Development at Automotive Titling Corp. Damon has 25 years’ experience in various automotive sales and business development roles at well-known organizations such as, Kelley Blue Book, and Cox Automotive. In his current role, Damon is focused on the team responsible for growing the

Automotive Titling business with their broad scope of industry leading products and services. You can contact him at Automotive Titling Corporation has a 25-year history of out-of-state title and registration processing, as well as providing the most accurate tax, registration, and DMV documents in the automotive industry. By leveraging our expertise in title processing, we have built data and API products designed with our customers to help our customers succeed. Find out more at

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