CA Good Luck Calculating Your Car Registration Fees
I don’t understand why California residents put up with the fees and taxes the state hands out. Everything you do in California is taxed or assessed a fee and yet the people that concoct these tax schemes are voted back in office year after year. To make matters worse, no one can figure out what the costs are.
Here is one example, Car Registration. Most states is a simple fee, not California though. Your car registration can range from $100- ??? depending on the shape, size, color, county, moon phase, tide, or season of the year. Seriously though, how can a system so complicated and so ridiculous be legal?
Here is another point, for all the politicians in the state that claim they are for the people and who want to establish programs to help the non-one percenters, they sure have a very bad habit of implementing policy that does nothing but hurt the people they claim to protect.
If you live in California think about it:
Car registration for a 6-8 year old car $180-300.
Taxes on Gas +$.40 per gallon
Bag Tax $.10 per bag
Snack Food Tax
Almost Double Late Fees for Car Registration far higher than what credit cards can legally charge
and 100’s of other fees
So I challenge any California representative to tell me what the cost of their car registration will be without looking at their renewal or using the DMV calculator. I firmly believe for something basic as car registration, if the average person can not calculate their fee for the car they plan to own, then the fee should be illegal. But hey, what do we the citizens of Califonia know.
Here is the fee schedule to help you out senators:
Registration Related Fees (FFVR 34)
- CHP Fees
- Information Request Fees
- Moped Fees
- Miscellaneous Registration and Service Fees
- Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) Fees
- Penalties (Registration, VLF, Weight)
- Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) Fees
- Permit Fees
- Registration Fees
- Transportation Improvement Fee (TIF)
- Vehicle License Fee (VLF)
- Vessel Fees
Other Registration Related Fees
- Special License Plate and Disabled Person Placard Fees — Refer to Special License Plate Fees FFVR 11
- Weight Fees for Commercial Vehicles with Declared Gross Vehicle Weight 10,000 lbs. or Less — Refer to Registering Commercial Vehicles and PTI Trailers FFVR 27
- Weight Fees for Commercial Motor Vehicles with Declared Gross Vehicle Weight Over 10,000 lbs. — Refer to Registering Commercial Vehicles and PTI Trailers FFVR 27
Your DMV fees go to:
- Local government (cities/counties)
- State highways (Caltrans)
- Air Resources Board
- Other state agencies
- State General Fund
Visit our website for more information about where your fees go to support essential California public safety and consumer services.
Fees are subject to law changes. California Vehicle Code (CVC), California Harbors & Navigation Code (CHNC), California Civil Code (CCC), California Government Code (CGC), California Health & Safety Code (CHSC), California Code of Civil Procedures (CCCP), and California Revenue & Taxation Code (CRTC) sections (§) are noted for reference.
Fees are due upon original registration/renewal based on:
- Vehicle type (auto, motorcycle, etc.).
- Purchase price or declared value.
- Dates (date purchased, date vehicle entered California, etc.).
- Owner’s residence county/city or business address, if a business.
- Unladen or declared gross vehicle weight (GVW)/number of axles.
- Special license plates.
- Unpaid parking violation/toll evasion bail.
The registration fee ($60, includes $3 for Alternative Fuel/Technology Registration fee), California Highway Patrol (CHP) fee ($26), vehicle license fee (VLF), Transportation Improvement Fee (TIF), and county/district fees are due for most vehicles registered for on-highway use. Registration and CHP fees are used by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and CHP to offset costs. Commercial Vehicle Registration Act (CVRA) and/or weight fees may be due for commercial vehicles.
Information is provided for estimation of fees only. For specific fees, see the Fee Calculator.
For special license plate fees, see the Special License Plate Fees (FFVR 11) Fast Facts and for weight fees, see the Registering Commercial Vehicle and PTI Trailers (FFVR 27) Fast Facts brochures.
County/District Fees ($1–$19 each)
DMV collects money for the following special programs on behalf of participating local counties/districts:
- SAFE ($1–$3). Service Authority for Freeway Emergencies fees are used to install/maintain freeway emergency call boxes.
- Air quality ($2–$19). Fees are set by each air quality management district and used to reduce air pollution, plan, monitor, enforce, and conduct studies.
- Auto theft deterrence/DUI ($1–$6). Provides theft prevention education and enforcement of antitheft and driving under the influence (DUI) programs.
- Abandoned vehicle abatement ($1–$3). Removes and disposes of abandoned vehicles.
- Fingerprint ID ($1–$6). Funds local fingerprint identification (ID) programs.
- County transportation project fee (CTPF) ($10). Funds transportation projects/programs.
For a list of participating counties, see www.dmv.ca.gov.
Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Fees
Due biennially to fund the California Department of Parks and Recreation Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, OHV Trust Fund, and DMV administrative costs.
Parking/Toll Violation Bail
DMV collects delinquent parking violation/toll evasion bail (amounts set by courts) on behalf of local agencies. If you did not pay a parking/toll evasion violation on time, the bail, penalty, and service charge are added to your registration.
Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) Fees
Trailers, except trailer coaches/park trailers, are assessed a PTI fee every five years (no VLF, registration, CHP, county, and weight fees).
Special Equipment (SE) License Plate Fees
SE-plated vehicles are renewed every five years (2015, 2020, etc.).
Transportation Improvement Fee (TIF) (CRTC §§11050, 11051, and 11052)
TIF fees are used to repair infrastructure and provide road maintenance. TIF fees affect original vehicle registration (VR), transfers, and renewals.
|Vehicle Value||VR Fee Increase|
|$60,000 and higher||$175|
Use Tax (7.25%–10.25%)
Use tax is due on original registration/transfer of vehicles/vessels purchased from someone other than a licensed California dealer, manufacturer, or dismantler (these entities collect tax), unless exempt (eligible family transfers) from payment of use tax or the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA), formerly known as the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), issues a use tax clearance certificate. Use tax rates vary (same as sales tax) based on the owner’s county/city of residence (not where purchased). The state, county, and/or city taxes are combined to determine the total sales/use tax rate due. For complete state, county, and city sales/use tax rate information, visit the CDTFA website at www.cdtfa.ca.gov and click on Tax & Fee Rates. If a vehicle is brought to California within 12 months of purchase, use tax may be due. If you paid sales/use tax to another state, you may receive credit toward California use tax not to exceed the California tax. For information, contact CDTFA at www.cdtfa.ca.gov or 1-800-400-7115.
Vehicle License Fee (VLF) (.65% of value)
Most vehicles are assessed a VLF, in lieu of property tax, based on the purchase price/value when acquired and funds go to cities/counties. VLF decreases for the first 11 renewal years (18 for park trailers) or until the vehicle is transferred (except certain family transfers, see FAQs. VLF exemption is available for disabled veterans with a 100 percent service-related disability rating, California Indian tribes/tribal members, federally-recognized Indian tribes (CVC §9104.5 and CRTC §10781.1), specialized transportation vehicles, nonresident military personnel stationed in California, and their nonresident spouses. Historical Vehicle/Horseless Carriage License Plates (CVC §5004) VLF is $2.
VLF is the only part of registration you may deduct on your income tax. For details on how VLF is used, contact your city/county government.