Motor Vehicle Registration

The Revenue Commissioner’s office assesses and collects ad valorem taxes on motor vehicles. These taxes are based on assessed value, determined by make and model of vehicles. Ad valorem taxes are assessed in areas and must be paid prior to the purchase of the license plate. To register a vehicle in your name you must show proof of ownership. Proof of ownership for any vehicle 1975 models or after is an Alabama Certificate of Title in the name to which vehicle is to be registered. Proof of ownership for a vehicle 1974 or older is a notarized bill of sale including the purchase price and a description of the vehicle. It is also necessary to show that Alabama Sales Tax has been paid in order to complete registration. If the vehicle was previously titled in Alabama, any accrued taxes must be paid by the new owner. Previous tax receipt must be presented if the current tax is not in your home county.

Renewal of Vehicle Tag Purchase

Once the vehicle is registered in your name it is necessary to renew the registration each year according to the following schedule.

Renewal Month First Letter of Last Name
January A, D
February B
March C, E
April F, G, N
May H, O
June M, I
July P, L
August J, K, R
September Q, S, T
October U, V, W, X, Y, Z

All commercial vehicles and recreational vehicles of any type must be renewed in October and November.

As of January 1, 1998, all of the following will apply:

  • All license plates, except Vintage Vehicle, will remain with the vehicle owner instead of remaining with the vehicle.
  • Auto registration must be carried in the vehicle to provide that the license plate is on the proper vehicle.

Penalty Schedule:

  • Failure to renew your tag by the end of the renewal month — $15.
  • Failure to transfer vehicle registration into your name within 20 days of purchase — $15.
  • Failure to register vehicle within 30 days of moving into Alabama from another state with a valid out-of-state license plate — $15.

Vehicle Sales Tax

Usually sales tax is collected by the dealer at the time of purchase. However, when a vehicle is purchased from a private individual, casual sales tax must be paid at the time of vehicle registration. The State casual sales tax is 2% of the purchased price. Depending on where you live you may also have a municipal casual sales tax and a county sales tax.