I purchased a vehicle with my grandma on the title. It was listed as “my name & grandmas name, last name” on the title.

My grandma passed away. I refinanced my car (for a lower interest rate) and used my signature and her death certificate. The new bank got the title in from my old bank.

I picked up the title and took it to a notary to remove her name from the title. When I did this, the notary had me pay $900 sales tax for $15,000 that the vehicle was refinanced for.

I called my boyfriend and told him, and he told me this was wrong. (He does title work for off road vehicles for 15 years). He said that because we were simply removing a name, the sales tax did not need to be repaid.

I went back to the notary and tried to tell them this. They would not refund me the $900 paid in sales tax. I called 3 notaries, my bank, and spoke with the PA Association of Notaries. They all confirmed that the sales tax did NOT need to be repaid, due to there being no sale, gift, or anything of the vehicle. It was simply removing a name due to death. I am on the original and current loan and always have been.

Was I indeed incorrectly charged? What should I do next?

  • 3
    Location is going to be meaningful here. Different states have different rules for when sales tax would be due on a car title transfer and if you erroneously paid it there would be a mechanism to recoup an overpayment which will also vary by state.
    – quid
    Mar 22, 2021 at 23:03
  • If it was JUST removing a name from a title then you might be right. BUT, you refinanced it, which could be different matter altogether.
    – RiverNet
    Mar 22, 2021 at 23:26
  • It's possible that to do the transfer you had to buy the car from your grandma, and in some jurisdictions that might require payment of tax. Mar 23, 2021 at 2:41
  • 2
    This doesn't clearly state a question. I guess the implicit question is: Was I indeed incorrectly charged, and what should I do next?
    – nanoman
    Mar 23, 2021 at 2:56
  • 2
    I'm very curious, what Notary collects taxes? In every state I've had to register a vehicle, taxes are collected at the DMV when you title the car...
    – Ron Beyer
    Mar 23, 2021 at 3:33

1 Answer 1


I would start by contacting the Pennsylvania DMV:

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Whether you have a complaint, question or compliment regarding any interaction with PennDOT or its authorized agents, we would like to hear from you. Please contact us via email or call us at 1-800-932-4600. Your feedback helps us to better serve you.

You certainly have a complaint and a question regarding an interaction with a PennDOT authorized agent.

I would expect that if the notary incorrectly collected a tax that you should not have been charged, the DMV would refund that money back to you.

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