State Squabble Over Vehicle's Sales Tax

A Coronado dentist said he’s been fighting with the state for over a year, trying to prove he’s the father of his son to avoid sales taxes on a vehicle sale.

When you buy a car, there are usually state taxes that come with the purchase. But, in California, if you buy a car from a parent or child, the state cannot charge you for those taxes. Instead, you fill out a form and pay $15. 

For Coronado Dentist Dan Hutchinson though, the process had not been so easy. 

“I’ve done it before a couple of times, it went fine,” Dan said. 

When Dan bought his son’s used Lexus back in 2014, he faced a hurdle. 

“I paid him for the car, we signed it over to me and about six months later is when I got a bill that said you owe $1,000 for this,” Dan said. 

The State Board of Equalization wanted Dan to pay taxes on the car. Dan said he sent them a copy of his son’s birth certificate twice and thought that would be the end of it. 

“But when I called them and said he’s my son, I was told no,” Dan said, “It’s already been decided and you need to pay this now and then you can file for a refund which I didn’t want to do.” 

Dan said he was shocked by the response. Despite his phone calls, emails and letters, no one at the Board of Equalization would listen to him. 

After Dan turned to NBC 7 Responds, we spoke with the Board of Equalization and they promised to look into Dan’s situation. 

NBC 7 Responds sent the State Board of Equalization a copy of Dan’s son’s birth certificate and the agency said it was the first time they had seen it. Within four days, Dan’s tax bill was dropped.

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