your registration you must show previous tag receipt in
your name or a renewal card which, is has been mailed to
you as a courtesy by the License Commissioner's Office.
Even if you do not receive a courtesy notice, it is your
responsibility to renew your tag before the expiration
Please notice the decal on your license plate. If the
month on your plate has passed, your tag is expired.
Example - if your plate shows August, the renewal must
be made before September 1st. For more information,
contact William Smith.
New Law in Effect
A new Alabama Law has
changed the policies and procedures surrounding the
renewal and transfer of your motor vehicle license
plates. Effective January 1, 1998 the plate no longer
goes with the vehicle. In the past, certain distinctive
and personalized vehicle plates were transferred from
vehicle to vehicle if the owner acquired a different
vehicle or, in some cases, if the owner wanted to put
the plate on another vehicle he or she owned. However,
according to the new law, an owner who trades vehicles
must remove the license plates from the previously owned
vehicle and bring it to the license issuing official to
be transferred to the newly acquired vehicle. Also, if a
vehicle is sold or disposed of otherwise, the owner is
required to remove the plate. If the owner sells his
vehicle, or if it is totally destroyed or junked, he may
transfer the plate to a vehicle of the same
classification he already owns that is not currently
licensed, or to a vehicle of the same classification or
higher classification he acquires later in the license
year. There are certain limitations and the owner may
not transfer the plate to another vehicle he or she owns
unless the licensed vehicle has changed ownership. In
the event an owner trades vehicles, the transfer of the
plate is the transfer of registration only. The
registration follows the owner, while the ad valorem tax
follows the vehicle. This means that an owner must pay
the ad valorem tax that is due on the newly acquired
vehicle at the time the tag is transferred. You must
keep either an original tag registration form (tag
receipt) or a same-sized facsimile in your vehicle at
all times. You may be asked to present this form by law
enforcement officers at any time. Please note that your
tag registration form is not your vehicle title. We do
not recommend that you keep your original title in your
vehicle under any circumstances.
Questions About Renewals
I just bought a used
car from an individual. How do I transfer the tag?
On 1982 and newer
vehicles you must apply for title transfer by bringing
the current Alabama title (signed correctly by the
previous owner) along with the bill of sale, tag number
or previous tag receipt. On vehicle models prior to
1982, transfer can be made with a bill of sale, tag
receipt or tag number. Transfers can be made at the
Lauderdale County License Commissioner's Office.
I just bought a new
(or used) car from a dealer. Will they handle all the
The dealer is required
to complete your application for title and collect sales
tax due at their location. However, you must bring the
title application to the License Commissioner's Office
to actually register the vehicle. It is your
responsibility to make sure the vehicle is registered.
Can I pay for and
pick up a tag for someone else?
Yes, if you have
permission from the individual. This would include a
power of attorney from the individual. Any hardship or
medical cases should be pre-approved by the License
Why are there
differences in the cost of renewing my tag from year to
There may be several
reasons for differences in the cost of your tag renewal.
(1) Normally, a vehicle's value will depreciate,
reducing the assessed value of the vehicle. You may have
moved into a new jurisdiction with a different tax rate.
The tag you bought last year may have been pro-rated for
a partial year. If so, your assessment this year will be
higher since it will reflect a full year.
What is the penalty
for late renewal of a tag?
You should renew your
tag by the last working day of your renewal month. The
penalty for failure to renew within the time allowed by
law is $19.00 plus 12% annualized interest to the date
I am paying by
check. Who should my check be made payable to?
Your check should be
payable to: Rodney Pettus, License Commissioner. (No
counter checks or out of county/state checks are