DMV Fees: Annual Renewal Registration Late Fee Penalty Guide

January 27, 2012

It is very important to pay the DMV fees on time, before the expiration date of your car registration. California and majority of other states do not offer any grace time to car owners. Late payments of annual registration fees lead to penalties. The more you delay your renewal payment, the higher will be the fine amount. It is in your best interest to understand the annual renewal registration late fees and penalties.

Expiration Date
Carefully check the registration card for the exact date of registration expiry to avoid the late penalty charges. Within 60 days before the expiration date, if you do not get a billing notice for the renewal fees, you should immediately contact the DMV to find out the renewal charges. Late penalty fines are charged in addition to the outstanding fee as well.

Calculation of Late Renewal Penalty Charges
If your renewal registration fee is overdue by 10 days or less, a fine of 10 percent of the total annual outstanding vehicle license fee, plus 10 percent of the annual weight fee if applicable, is charged along with the original renewal fee. If the amount is overdue by more than 11 days but less than 30 days, a fine of 20 percent of the vehicle license fee and 20 percent of the weight fee is charged. If it is later than 31 days but less than 1 year, 60 percent of the vehicle license fee and 60 percent of the weight fee is charged. For more than 1 year but less than 2 years, it is 80 percent, and for more than 2 years it is 160 percent of the outstanding vehicle license fee and of the weight fee.

Penalties for Late Registration
In California, if you apply for the original vehicle registration behind schedule, you are subjected to pay penalties along with the actual registration fees. The original registration fee is $34. If you pay the vehicle registration fees within one year from the date of expiry, you are subjected to a penalty of $30. If you pay it after one year but within two years, you are charged a late fine of $50, and if you take more than two years to pay the original vehicle registration fees, you will be charged $100 along with the actual registration charges.

The more time you take, the greater the penalty amount you will be charged accordingly. The above penalty rates are based on the rates provided by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Penalty rates and vehicle registration fees vary from state to state.

DMV Fees on Commercial Vehicles
DMV fees for commercial vehicles depend on the Commercial Vehicle Registration Act Range Schedule, or CVRA. The commercial vehicle registration fee is calculated based on the confirmed gross vehicle weight or GVW, or on the combined gross vehicle weight or CGW of 10,001 lbs. or more.

Definition of Commercial Vehicles
Vehicles registered or titled under a company name are considered to be commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles include company vehicles, vehicle used for business purposes or fleet vehicles. A commercial vehicle registration is given to those vehicles registered under a business or company name, or if the vehicle is leased under the ownership of a financial corporation or if it surpasses a specific weight.

Registration Fees and Title Fees
The registration fees and title fees on commercial vehicles are based on different factors like the gross weight of the vehicle, the kind of license plate that needs to be renewed and the place where the owner of the vehicle resides. The annual registration fee for commercial vehicles differs by the vehicle weight. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, a vehicle whose combined weight ranges from 10,001 to 15,000 lbs. has a registration fee of $332; for 15,001 to 20,000 lbs., the registration fee is $447; for 20,001 to 26,000 lbs., it is $546; for 26,001 to 30,000 lbs., it is $586 and so on.

Along with the registration fees an added title fee is charged based on the type of transaction. For conversions, the titling fee is $20, for paper title, duplicate title and for Electronic Lien and Title Record it is $18. In Oregon, titling fess for trucks and other heavy motor vehicles is $90. Since DMV's are administered by their respective state governments, the registration fees and title fees vary from state to state.

Renewal Fees
Renewal fees for commercial vehicle depend on the total weight of the vehicle like trucks, trailers and other commercial automobiles. It also depends on the state, under which the vehicle is registered.

According to the Washington State Department of Licensing, trucks or other commercial vehicles which weigh less than 4,000 lbs. have a renewal fee of $41. A vehicle which weighs above 4,001 but less than 6,000 lbs. has $51 as renewal charges. If it weighs more than 6,001 and less than 8,000 lbs., it is $61. If a commercial vehicle whose total combined weight is 10,000 lbs. or more is used for the transportation of hazardous substances, the vehicle owner has to pay an extra $10 as a safety enforcement fee along with the renewal fee.

What Your DMV Fees Go To

The first place where the DMV fees go toward is the Department of Motor Vehicles, itself. The DMV fees are the only source of income for the department. The department uses the fees to pay out salaries to its officials and staff members as well as to continue the regular supply of the various forms and other application documents.

  • Cities and counties. City and county residences pay fees for the various services, like the DMV, offered in the area. The money received is used for the development of the amenities and facilities offered in the city and the county
  • The state highway patrol. The state highway patrol is directly related to motor vehicles and works in close proximity with the Department of Motor Vehicles. A major chunk of the fees goes towards the state highway patrol. The money is used to pay salaries to the various people working in the highway patrol and to maintain equipment and vehicles belonging to the department
  • The state highways and general fund. The Department of Motor Vehicles deposit a large amount of money collected in form of DMV fees into the state highway and general funds. The fund helps the state with various projects including building and maintaining roads and bridges and other public welfare tasks
  • Other state agencies. The DMV also offers a part of the fees to the various state agencies. These agencies are usually related to the DMV and are working as one of its many partners. They include the local police forces and other various law agencies that help to uphold driving and vehicle related laws. The money is used the same way as in the state highway patrol. It is used to pay salaries and for the maintenance of the various pieces of equipment and the vehicles being used by the various state agencies

How to Get a Refund on a DMV Fee

DMV fee refunds are payable when additional fees were paid by mistake or when fees charged by DMV were not necessary as declared in Revenue or Taxation Code 10901 or Vehicle code 42231

Abusive Driver Fee Refund
Abusive Driver Fee is also known as the civil remedial fee. In 2007, the abusive driver fee was enacted in Virginia. These fees were collected from Virginians convicted of offenses related to motor vehicles. These fees were in addition to the penalty and court expenses. Abusive driver fees were not charged for simple traffic violations, but serious breach of traffic norms like reckless driving or excess speeding.

In the year 2008, the Virginia government signed legislation abolishing the civil remedial fees. Since the civil remedial fees were eliminated by the state, previous payments made by car owners as an abusive driver fee were subject to refund. If you are a payer of the civil remedial fee, the court will inform the state comptroller about the amount to be refunded. The state treasurer will send a check of the total fee amount.

Refund Vehicle License Fee
According to the California law, an automobile which has been destroyed, damaged or ruined to such a degree that the car insurance company or the car owner regards it as too expensive to repair is considered a total loss. A prorated compensation of the vehicle license fee will be paid to the owner. In such a case, any kind of repairs cannot be instigated by the owner or on behalf of the owner. In order to get the refund, the owner has to apply for a salvage certificate, based on vehicle code 11515.

Another instance of refund eligibility is when a car has been stolen and has not been retrieved within a time period of 60 days from the day the robbery was reported to law enforcement. The compensation amount is one-twelfth of the yearly vehicle license fee for every month until the expiration of the auto registration. The refund amount does not include weight fee, registration fee and miscellaneous fees. A nominal service charge will be subtracted from each compensation amount.

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