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Illinois Tax Requirements for Cars, Trucks, Vans, Motorcycles, ATVs, Trailers, and Mobile Homes

What is my tax obligation when I apply for title in Illinois?

At the time you apply for an Illinois title with the Secretary of State for a vehicle you purchased, leased, or acquired by gift or transfer, you are required to submit either payment of tax or proof that no tax is due before your vehicle can be titled.

(Here, the term “vehicle” refers to cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, ATV’s, trailers, and mobile homes [house trailers].

The Illinois Department of Revenue is responsible for administering the collection of tax and providing the necessary tax forms. You must make separate payments for tax due and title fees. Make your tax payment payable to the Illinois Department of Revenue and your payment for title fees payable to the Secretary of State.

Which forms are used for paying Illinois tax?

One of the following forms must be used to pay tax or prove that no tax is due:

Note: For more detailed information, refer to the instructions provided with each return.

How can I avoid filing my tax return late?

The tax return you are required to file has a specific due date. You should file your tax return and pay any tax due by that date to avoid penalty and interest charges even though you may not be able to complete your application for title.

To do so, you may submit your tax return and any tax payment either to the Illinois Office of the Secretary of State or directly to the Illinois Department of Revenue. When you pay the tax, please make sure you receive your copy of the tax return with an indication (such as a receipt stamp or a label) that your tax return has been filed. When you are ready to complete your title forms, you will need to submit your copy of the tax return to the Illinois Office of the Secretary of State as proof that you have filed your tax return.

What if I purchase (or acquire by gift or transfer) a vehicle from an individual or other private party?

You must use Form RUT-50 to report your purchase (or acquisition by gift or transfer) of a vehicle from an individual or other private party who is not a retailer of vehicles. Note: The purchase (or acquisition by gift or transfer) of a trailer or mobile home from an individual or other private party who is not a retailer of vehicles is not subject to this tax and does not require a tax form when you apply for title.

What if I purchase or lease a vehicle from an out-of-state dealer, lending institution, leasing company, or other retailer?

When an Illinois resident purchases a vehicle from an out-of-state dealer and will title the car in Illinois, the sale and subsequent tax due is reported on Form RUT-25 when you bring the vehicle into Illinois. You should attach a copy of the bill of sale as proof of the purchase price.

If you are leasing the vehicle from an out-of-state retailer, you must use Form RUT-25-LSE to report the transaction. Attach a copy of the bill of sale or lease contract, as appropriate, as proof of the selling price and of any tax previously paid. If you cannot obtain the proper documentation, you may submit a letter from the leasing company or selling dealer.

What if I am moving into Illinois with a vehicle I own that needs to be titled?

If you originally purchased your vehicle from a dealer, lending institution, leasing company, or other retailer, you must use Form RUT-25 when you bring the vehicle into Illinois. You should attach a copy of the bill of sale or other proof of the purchase price. If you had the vehicle titled in another state for more than three months, no Illinois tax is due, but you still must file Form RUT-25 to reflect that fact.

If you are leasing the vehicle from an unregistered out-of-state retailer, you must use Form RUT-25-LSE to report the transaction. Attach a copy of the bill of sale or lease contract, as appropriate, as proof of the selling price and of any tax previously paid. If you cannot obtain the proper documentation, you may submit a letter from the leasing company or selling dealer.

If you originally purchased (or acquired by gift or transfer) your vehicle from an individual or other private party, you must use Form RUT-50 when you bring the vehicle into Illinois. If you had the vehicle titled in another state for more than three months, no Illinois tax is due, but you still must file Form RUT-50 to reflect that fact.

On Forms RUT-25 and RUT-50, the exemption for using the vehicle outside Illinois for more than three months applies only to individuals moving into Illinois. It does not apply to businesses, leasing companies, lessees moving into Illinois, or military persons whose home of record is in Illinois. In these situations, tax is due; however, a reasonable allowance of depreciation for prior out-of-state use is allowed.

These forms generally are obtained when you license and title your vehicle at a local driver's license facility or currency exchange. Do not make copies of the forms prior to completing. These forms have unique transaction numbers that should not be duplicated. Doing so could delay processing.

What if I am leasing a vehicle from an out-of-state leasing company?

As the owner of the vehicle, the lessor generally is liable for Illinois Use Tax and responsible for filing and paying this tax using Form RUT-25-LSE when the vehicle is brought into Illinois. However, you, the lessee, may be required to assume this responsibility. If you must do so, you should attach a letter from the leasing company or a copy of the lease agreement to Form RUT-25-LSE as proof of the purchase price and tax previously paid to another state.

This form generally is obtained when you license and title your vehicle at a local driver's license facility or currency exchange. Do not make copies of the forms prior to completing. These forms have unique transaction numbers that should not be duplicated. Doing so could delay processing.

What if I purchase a vehicle that I have been leasing from an out-of-state leasing company?

If the out-of-state leasing company is registered with the Illinois Department of Revenue to collect Illinois tax, then Form ST-556 is used to report the purchase. Generally, the out-of-state leasing company will complete and file this tax return along with the required title forms for you.

If the out-of-state leasing company is not registered, you will be required to report your purchase. To do so, you must use Form RUT-25. Since Form RUT-25 is due no later than 30 days after the “date (the vehicle is) brought into Illinois” and you already have possession of the vehicle in Illinois, use the actual purchase date for both the “purchase date” and the “date brought into Illinois” on the return. You should attach a copy of the bill of sale as proof of the purchase price.

What if I purchase a vehicle from an Illinois dealer?

Generally, the dealer will complete and file the proper tax return along with the required title forms for you. The dealer will use Form ST-556 to report your purchase.

What if I purchase a vehicle from an Illinois leasing company, lending agency, or other retailer?

If the Illinois leasing company, lending agency, or other retailer is registered with the Illinois Department of Revenue to collect Illinois tax, then Form ST-556 is used to report the purchase. Generally, the leasing company, lending agency, or retailer will complete and file this tax return along with the required title forms for you. If this is a transaction for lease, the registered retailer will complete Form ST-556-LSE instead.

If the Illinois leasing company, lending agency, or retailer is not registered, you will be required to report your purchase. To do so, you must use Form RUT-25. Since Form RUT-25 is due no later than 30 days after the date the vehicle is brought into Illinois and you already have possession of the vehicle in Illinois, use the actual purchase date for both the "purchase date" and the "date brought into Illinois" on the return. You should attach a copy of the bill of sale as proof of the purchase price. If this is a transaction for lease, you will complete Form RUT-25-LSE instead. Attach a copy of the bill of sale or lease contract, as appropriate, as proof of the selling price and of any tax previously paid. If you cannot obtain the proper documentation, you may submit a letter from the leasing company or selling dealer.

How do I get tax forms?

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