Phillips County Commissioners talk local issue on June Ballot


On March 7, 2022, the Phillips County Commissioners passed a resolution to request voter approval for a local option motor vehicle tax on the June 7, 2022 federal primary ballot. Approval of this issue would place a 0.5% tax on all new light-weight luxury vehicles with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price over $100,000.00 or more and all new motor homes over $200,000.00. The additional cost for title and registration would be $500.00 for a light-weight luxury vehicle with a manufacturer’s retail price of $100,000.00 and $1,000.00 for a motor home with a price of $200,000.00.

The Montana Legislature passed a bill in 2002, to allow counties to tax up to 0.7% as a local option motor vehicle tax. At that time the Commissioners chose not to tax Phillips County residents this fee in order to save the local tax payer money. Phillips County is one of the six counties, out of fifty-six, in the state that does not charge this fee. However, in the last ten years, out-of-state people have been forming Limited Liability Companies (LLC’s) in Montana for the sole purpose of titling motor vehicles in the state of Montana. These LLC’s register their vehicles in these counties without actually doing business here. Our Treasurer’s office receives over 100 titles and registrations each month from these companies. These titles and registrations take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes of the clerk’s time to process. This averages to approximately 34 hours each month that one of the clerks works on these titles and registrations. The Treasurer’s office doesn’t receive any revenue to license and title these vehicles other than reimbursement for postage to mail the license plates and $5.00 for each specialty plate sold. Passing this ballot issue would allow the County to be compensated by the out of state luxury vehicle owners for the time the clerk uses registering these vehicles.

The County Commissioners and the County Treasurer would like the taxpayers and voters to vote yes to pass this local ballot issue. If you have any questions, please call the commissioners at 406-654-2429.


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