If you own a vehicle, your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), Department of Revenue (DOR), Secretary of State (SOS), or local county clerk’s office requires you to obtain a title and registration. If you don’t register, you risk receiving anything from a moving violation to points on your license.
To register your vehicle after purchasing it, you’ll need the proper documents and the required fees. While this varies from state to state, you’ll most likely need your driver’s license, title, proof of insurance, and in some states, proof of passing an emissions test.
As for the payment, that can range anywhere from $15 to over $100 to register your vehicle. You should also expect to pay taxes and tag fees. States usually base these on the following.
- The weight of the vehicle
- The county in which you register the vehicle
- The state in which you reside
- The type of license plates you’ve requested
- Whether or not you have a trade-in
- New or used car sales tax
When registering your vehicle for the first time, you may also need to account for additional fees, such as your car insurance, a VIN check, and maintenance if your vehicle needs work to pass a safety or emissions test.
Vehicle License Tax When Renewing Your Vehicle
You must also plan to renew your vehicle registration at intervals specified by your state. The state will charge either a flat fee or a scaled based on certain factors, including gross vehicle weight, vehicle age, or even fuel efficiency.
Additionally, some states also charge a vehicle license tax (VLT). Arizona assesses the VLT according to each $100 of your vehicle’s value, estimating the value of your vehicle as 60% of the original manufacturer’s retail price. The total will then decrease by 16.25% during every registration renewal.
Here’s what Arizona charges for each $100 of your vehicle’s value:
- New vehicles: $2.80
- Used vehicles: $2.89
- Alternative fuel vehicle: $4
If registering your vehicle for multiple years, you’ll be required to pay the vehicle taxes upfront for that number of years.
In Alabama, the cost of registering your vehicle will vary depending on the type of vehicle, its weight, and county taxes and surcharges. Additionally, California residents are required to pay a $24 fee for the California Highway Patrol (CHP), as well as additional fees based on the type of vehicle, license plate type, county of residence, and driving record. Most vehicles in California will also be assessed a vehicle license fee (.65% of value), in lieu of property tax, determined by purchase price or value.
While not exact, here are the states where you will have to pay a vehicle license tax.
Contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), Department of Revenue (DOR), Secretary of State (SOS), or local county clerk’s office to find out the exact amount you’ll need to pay in taxes or fees, as well as what documents you need to renew your vehicle’s registration. Doing so will help you skip the line by using online vehicle registration because you have all required documents and payments ready to go.