Registration Renewal


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.

Copyright 2002-2017 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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11 Responses to Registration Renewal

  1. Bettie Witherspoon says:

    Bless you, Sheila, for your helping us see the humorous side of life’s “little” annoyances.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Now I live in North Carolina I am freaking out about registration renewal. OK tag about $38 like in Florida but here in North Carolina add $35 to get emissions test, $275 property tax ! I argued with them at the DMV saying my property tax is part of my mortgage payment. They laughed me out of the place. After of course I paid my auto property tax.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We’ve had on-line renewal for years. Easy peasy. Good luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sheila Moss says:

    Tennessee finally joined the 21st Century and has renewal online. Happy days! It’s much better as the computer figures out what you owe. Here the wheel tax is collected whenever you renew registration. I’m not sure about property tax. Mine is end of February, but I don’t know if it is from when you bought the property or if everyone is February. Seems it would be more efficient to stagger collections.


  5. energywriter says:

    Oh, wow! That is worse than here. This is the first state where I’ve had to pay county tax on my car. At least they give me an exact amount to pay unless I decide to buy new plates. I’ve had the same plates for 16 years. One of these days they’ll rust off the bolts and I’ll have to dig deep again. And, I refuse to pay extra for a personalized plate. Does that make me a grouch or just frugal? And, the worst part? Car and property tax are both due in December!

    Liked by 1 person

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