Several years ago, my family needed a new car to transport our son, who used a wheelchair.
At the time, we were not aware that Texas had a sales tax exemption for persons with orthopedic impairments that required permanent modifications to their vehicle in order to operate it safely. We asked the car dealership employees if they knew of an exemption, but no one did. We bought the car and paid the sales tax. We then took our car to a company that added wheelchair clamps for our son’s chair. That’s when we found out that we were eligible to receive a sales tax exemption.
Since we had already paid the sales tax on our car, we looked into options for a refund. We found out that we were still eligible for the exemption. We went to our county tax office and got the required paperwork to request a refund. We filled out the forms and included copies of our taxes paid and the receipt for the modifications. Finally, we got a check for the sales tax we paid on our car.
Since we had difficulty navigating the sales tax maze, we felt the need to share our information with others.
We checked the Texas Comptroller’s website to get updated information on sales tax exemptions. Their website gives information about tax exemptions for persons who have a physical impairment and are the primary driver of a car—or for the transportation of a person with orthopedic impairments.
There are several types of modifications that may qualify for this exemption. Drivers with physical disabilities may need changes to the regular brake and acceleration system or the steering system. Required modifications for a rider in a motor vehicle might include a wheelchair lift, hoist, an attached ramp, wheelchair hold-down clamps, a raised roof or special seat restraints. The changes must be permanent in order to qualify for the special exemption.
If you already paid sales tax on a vehicle used for/by a person with a physical disability, you may request a refund up to 4 years after you have paid your sales tax. Send in forms along with supporting documentation to:
Sales & Motor Vehicle Tax Refunds
Comptroller of Public Accounts
Post Office Box 13528
Austin, Texas 78711-3528
If you have questions regarding a refund request or need a form, you may email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-531-5441, Ext. 3-4545. The direct number in Austin is 512-463-4545.
For additional funding resources, take a look at Funding and Grants on this website.
Recent events, both personal and more widespread, reminded me of the need to be prepared for an emergency. Families of kids with disabilities can start now to prepare for future emergency needs.
To advocate for our children, we must be informed and active in the decision-making processes—from local to state to national concerns. There are tools to assist in finding helpful resources.