Most of the high fees are "Ownership tax". In addition to the sales tax paid at purchase, they are paid every year on a declining scale. Completely different from registration fees, though collected through the motor vehicle department.
Works like this:
- 1st year of service: 2.1% of taxable value
- 2nd year of service: 1.5% of taxable value
- 3rd year of service: 1.2% of taxable value
- 4th year of service: .9% of taxable value
- 5th, 6th ,7th, 8th & 9th: .45% of taxable value
- 10 and all later years: $3.00 flat fee.
For passenger vehicles, light trucks, and motorcycles, "taxable value" = 85% of MSRP.
If you buy a new $50,000 truck, you will pay ~$3,500 sales tax (+/- depending on city/local tax rates) plus another ~$2,600 in 'ownership tax' in the first five years of use!
(ps: Ownership tax is typically deductable on your federal and state tax returns, so at least you are paying those fees in pre-tax dollars