Just in case you wonder, I’m writing from the insane asylum. I had my auto emissions test today. Here in pollution paradise, we must have our autos tested yearly before we can renew our automobile registration. Every year I get in a dither over renewing my vehicle registration. It isn’t the emissions testing — I can deal with that. The problem I have is that I can’t figure out how much money I owe to renew my license plate.
I do not, for the life of me, understand why such a seemingly simple thing must be so complicated. We receive two pieces of paper in the mail. Mine, for example, says $49 on the white auto registration sheet, plus $2 to renew by mail. Don’t try sending $51 or you will be laughed out of the vehicle registration office. Send the amount on the other sheet, which includes wheel taxes. Now this second sheet gives eight total amounts, and it is up to me to decide which is correct according to the county I live in.
I’m not sure why they give the amounts for counties other than my own because all it does is make me mad since my county has the highest wheel taxes. But, it would be worth paying the taxes if I could just get the deed done. The problem is I have an ego car with a specialized plate, so the amounts on the second sheet are not correct either.
My method to renew by mail is to send the wrong amount, wait for it to be returned with the correct amount figured and re-send it. Drastic, for sure, but it works!
Last year I decided to beat the system and call the motor vehicle office. I had tried it before and it didn’t work – but I figured I’d try it again. So, I called. “Take the amount it says you owe on the second sheet, and instead of the regular renewal amount, substitute the amount from the first sheet and add the mail renewal fee,” said the clerk.
Simple, huh? I don’t understand why there is room for fees for four counties, three of which I don’t give a whit about, but no room for instructions. I finally got my license plate — even though I sent the WRONG amount. Seems the clerk failed to mention that I should add an extra dollar because I needed a plate, not a sticker. Now I would be perfectly happy with a sticker, but for some incomprehensible reason I needed a plate. Neither paper explained why. Some unintelligible law, I’m sure.
This is absolutely ridiculous! I have a college degree and I can’t figure out how to renew my car tag? Why can’t we just be billed for the correct amount? Or, if that is expecting too much, why not at least have cohesive instructions explaining how to figure what you owe so the average person can understand it without a CPA?
Last year I became so irritated that I wrote my State Congress Person a letter about it. She never replied. Probably she was too busy trying to renew her own motor vehicle registration. Anyhow, I think I’ve finally got this thing figured out after years of trying. I’m sending in what I believe to be the correct amount. I’ll let you know what happens.
I understand a registration can now actually be renewed online. Now that’s an idea worth considering. Next time my auto registration is ready to expire, I think I may try it. If you see me walking or hitchhiking instead of driving, you’ll know that’s an idea that didn’t work either.