The fees most commonly associated with leasing a car are:
- Acquisition Fee
- Documentation Fee
- Disposition Fee
- Tag, Title, Registration & License Fees
- Sales Tax
- Security Deposit
- Your First Monthly Payment
Depending on the state you live in, there may be other additional local fees that are not covered here. This collection of fees are the big ones that you will most commonly run into when you sign your car lease.
It’s important to be aware of them. It’s easy to get seduced by the comfort of buttery new leather or the intoxicating new car smell when every advertisement claims that it’s a “$0 down lease!”.
Hey, we get it. We love free stuff too.
That’s why we give away free oil changes & tire rotations to all of our members.
Sorry, that just kind of slipped out. Must have been from all the free oil changes.
It won’t happen again. Promise.
So where were we?
That $0 down lease will still cost money when you first sign it. The $0 dollars down is referring to the $0 dollars you have to put towards the loan’s principal (which is the total amount you owe on the loan, before fees and interest).
You still have to show up to the dealership with cash to pay the fees we’ve listed above – some of which you may be able to get out of, and some which you will not.
So again – that $0 down lease is not really zero dollars down.
So let’s dive in to the facts and figures so you don’t get smacked upside the head by surprise fees that you were not prepared for.
What Fees Do You Pay When Leasing a Car?
These are the fees (not including taxes and other costs) that you will pay when you first lease your car.
1: Acquisition Fee
The lease-acquisition fee (also known as the administration fee or assignment fee) is a mostly unavoidable fee that you are charged by the leasing company to cover the cost of creating a new lease.
This fee can be anywhere from around $300 dollars, to around $900 dollars. Ouch.
Generally speaking, most auto manufacturers have a dedicated bank or series of banks that approve you for a lease. That approval process comes with a fee. Tada: it’s the acquisition fee.
Not a fun surprise, but a surprise nontheless.
You generally cannot negotiate this fee, but you can try to get financing through a different bank than the one that’s preferred by your dealer. That’s no guarantee, however. If you are going to go that route, we recommend trying Ally Financial, which we know to have relatively low fees of around $300.
Total fees (so far): $300 – $900 dollars
2: Documentation Fees
A documentation fee is the dealership charging you for their role in creating your lease. Essentially, it is their paperwork fee.
Documentation fees, whether on new cars or new car leases are a major source of profit for the dealership. If you’re getting a great deal from your dealer, the documentation fee is going to make up a large part of the total profit the dealer receives. This usually means the fee is difficult to waive or negotiate.
Some states have documentation fees capped. 10/50 states currently cap documentation fees:
- Arkansas: $129
- California: $65-$80
- Illinois: $179.81
- Louisiana: $200
- Maryland: $300
- Michigan: $200 or 5% of the car’s selling price, whichever is less
- Minnesota: $75
- New York: $75
- Ohio: $250 or 10% of the car’s selling price, whichever is less
- Oregon: $75-$100
- Washington: $150
If you don’t live in one of these 10 states, your documentation fee can be much higher. Documentation fees can range from $305 in Utah, all the way up to $670 in Florida, at least based on the 2018 averages we currently have avalible.
Although a documentation fee is generally not negociable, we reccomend you look up the average doccumentation fee in your state before you lease your vehicle.
Don’t be afraid to walk away from the dealer if they are charging you an unreasonably high documentation fee.
Total Fees (so far): $365-$1570
3: Disposition Fee
The disposition fee is you paying for the expenses related do disposing of the vehicle after you return it from your lease. Typically, this compensates the dealer for cleaning up any messes you made in the vehicle, and then selling it at an auto auction most of the time.
Some dealers won’t charge you this fee, but others will. If you plan on purchasing your vehicle at the end of the lease, you typically will not be charged this fee.
If you’re lucky, you won’t be charged this fee – but most leases do have a disposition fee ranging between $300 and $400. This fee pays the leasing company for the expenses of disposing of the vehicle after you return it.
Basically this fee pays for the clean up and sale of the vehicle – usually at auction.
If you purchase the vehicle at lease end, you will typically not be charged for this fee. Sometimes dealers will also let you off easy if you re-up and get another lease with the same brand.
Total Fees (so far): $665-$1,970
4: Tag, Title and Registration Fees:
Tag, Title, and Registration Fees aren’t your dealer’s fault. This time, it’s your state (and sometimes local) government who are trying to squeeze you and shake you down for any spare change you’ve got.
We’ll quickly break these down for you. If you want more information about your specific state, check out this excellent article by compare.com about each of these fees broken down state by state.
Tag Fee – This is the fee for issuing license plates. Some states have this fee for new license plates being issued, some have it for transfers only, and others don’t have it at all.
In Florida, for example, that fee is $28, although we are one of the higher ones. Most states either don’t have this fee, or have it costing between $5-$10 dollars.
Title Fee – The cost of all paperwork related to transferring, changing, or otherwise administrating your car’s title. This varies between states.
Registration Fee – The cost of registering your new car lease with the state and other government agencies.
All together, these fees can cost anywhere between $60 dollars all the way up to around $600 dollars if you live in an expensive state like California.
Total Fees (so far): $725 – $2,570
How Much Are Taxes & Fees When Leasing A Car?
Now that we’ve covered all the true fees you can typically expect to see, now we need to cover taxes.
Taxes are a large chunk of any purchase, and depending on the state that you live in they could have a big impact on your wallet.
The most common tax, of course, is..
1: Sales Tax
Almost all states charge some form of sales tax when you lease a vehicle. How it’s charged to you depends on the state you live in, and sometimes the municipality you live in. For example, New York City charges additional sales tax on top of the state sales tax.
The same is true in Pinellas County where we are located. An additional 1% sales tax is assessed here.
These little taxes add up, so it’s good to be clear about how much they are ahead of time.
Some states will only charge you on the depreciated portion, which is the portion of the vehicle you “use” when you are leasing it. In this case, your sales tax can be wrapped up in your monthly payment and you probably won’t notice it at all.
On the other hand, there are states like Illionois and Texas where you have to pay sales tax on the FULL amount of the vehicle, and you have to pay it upfront.
These states are:
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
If you live in a state where upfront payment is required on your sales tax, be ready to pay it. There’s no negociating out of taxes.
On average, you can expect to pay around a 5% sales tax rate, although this will vary depending on where you live. We reccomend checking up on your state and local sales tax rate, because it’s different almost everywhere.
2: Property Taxes
A property tax is an annual tax on the value of your vehicle that some states impose. You won’t have to pay this up front, and technically the dealer (as the owner of the vehicle) is required to pay it, but most pass the cost on to the buyer.
You aren’t going to negociate your way out of this one either, unfortunately.
Here’s a list of the states with property taxes that you will have to pay over the life of your lease. These taxes are generally assessed on the full value of your leased vehicle, and must be payed out once a year.
|Tax Ranking (Lowest To Highest||State||Property Tax Rate|
So, What Is The Final Cost Of A Lease With Fees & Taxes Included?
OKAY, as you originally were looking for, our final estimate for your cost of leasing a car is…
Total Fees = $725 – $2,570 + between 0-10% sales and property taxes
That’s probably a bigger number then you were expecting! Even a $0 down lease can get quite expensive.
One thing to keep in mind is that these numbers are a range, and most likely your final cost at the time of leasing will likely fall in between them.
So in our opinion, if you are going to lease a new vehicle, you should be prepared to pay up to $2,500 in fees, plus whatever applicable taxes you will owe.
What your final amount ends of being will depend on what you negociate, plus other minor factors we haven’t covered here.
With that in mind, there’s only one thing left to do.
Make Sure You Cover Your New Leased Vehicle With Car Insurance
Most leased vehicles will require you to have comprehensive insurance – which can be expensive.
Depending on the vehicle you end up choosing to lease, combined with factors like your driving history you could end up paying as much as $400 dollars a month if you aren’t careful.
The best way to make sure you don’t overspend on car insurance is to get multiple quotes before you decide on committing to one company.
The best way to do that is to get multiple free car insurance quotes at once, by using our free car insurance quote tool.
Instead of spending hours manually applying to each company, just enter your information once in our free quote tool and we’ll match you up with the best offers from all of our preferred insurance partners.
Just click the button below to get the best rate, and start saving on your car insurance today (even if you’re not saving on leasing fees and taxes).