Motor, Recreation, or Watercraft Vehicles

Motor Vehicles Appraisals

Motorcycles, automobiles and light trucks that are tagged to operate at 12,000 pounds or less on public roads are appraised for tax purposes using a formula set forth in laws. The motor vehicles value when first offered for sale as new (hereafter referred to as trade-in value) is used to classify the vehicle within a price range. The mid-point of this price range is then reduced 15% per calendar year (KSA 79-5100 series).

Motor vehicles operating over 12,000 pounds, or non-highway motor vehicles, are appraised at market value. The market value is generally obtained using valuation publications prescribed by the state.

Automobiles owned and leased for a period of time not exceeding 28 days by a car rental company have an excise rental tax imposed in lieu of a property tax (K.S.A.79-5117).

Price Digests, which maintains the most comprehensive vehicle database and is one of two publications the State of Kansas mandates County Appraisers use when valuing commercial and passenger vehicles, has made the following statement:

"Price Digests is making significant changes to Commercial Truck and Passenger Vehicle values, starting on May 1, 2022.  The fast-changing market values have prompted more and larger changes in vehicle values in the marketplace, and as a result, Price Digests is reflecting these vehicle value increases.  In particular, vehicles older than 10 years have values adjusted upwards, sometimes significantly."

Material shortages and supply chain issues have significantly delayed new commercial truck production in 2021.  Without new trucks to purchase, fleets and owner-operators turned to the used truck market, creating unprecedented demand for used trucks, driving up the prices at auction, online, and in private sales.

Commercial Vehicles

Beginning January 1, 2014, the commercial vehicle fee replaced property tax for both interstate and intrastate commercial vehicles. County appraisers will not be valuing the commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicle registration fees and commercial vehicle fees will be collected on all commercial vehicles registered in Kansas at the same time and location.
A commercial vehicle is any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle engaged in commerce that is used to transport property or passengers when the vehicle:
  • Has a gross vehicle weight or gross combination vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed to be used to transport 15 or more passengers, including the driver
  • Is used to transport hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding
Vehicles that meet this definition will need to be registered as commercial. Owners of these commercial vehicles must obtain a U.S. DOT number or verify that their DOT number has been updated with the past 12 months. To update or apply for a DOT number, they should visit the Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System website.

Commercial vehicle owners should contact their local county treasurer's office to verify that commercial vehicle registration is offered there or visit the TruckingKS website to obtain a list of county offices that are offering this service or call the Commercial Motor Vehicle Office at 785-296-6541.

Recreational Vehicles (RVs) Appraisals

To fall under the tax definition of an RV the vehicle must be, among other things, for use on a chassis and designed as living quarters for recreational, camping, vacation or travel use; have a body width not exceeding 8.5 feet and a body length not exceeding 45 feet; an electrical system which operates above 12 volts and provisions for plumbing and heating. Please contact the County Appraisers office for proper classification.

The weight of the RV must be what is generally accepted as its correct shipping weight. If the RV is a 1982 model year or newer and the County Appraiser or treasurer cannot determine the shipping weight using the information authorized by the state and the law, then the vehicle owner must have the vehicle weighed at a certified scale. The county treasurer has a listing of certified scales in the county.

Watercraft Appraisals

Starting January 1, 2014, watercraft is not in the constitutional subclass and is defined as any mechanically (gasoline, diesel, electric) propelled vessel requiring numbering by the federally approved system administered by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism. Each watercraft may include 1 trailer which is designed to launch, retrieve, transport, and store such watercraft and any nonelectric motor or motors which are necessary to operate such watercraft on the water.

The County Appraiser will determine the fair market value, or also called the appraised value, of each watercraft as of January 1 of each year. The following assessment rates will be applied to the appraised value to achieve the assessed value when calculating tax: 11.5% for tax year 2014 and for tax year 2015 and all years after, 5%. For tax years 2014 and all years after, any calculated tax amount for watercraft of less than $12 will not be less than $12 so therefore will have a $12 minimum tax applied.