Specialty tag costs going up

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Those who are among the tens of thousands of Alabamians who have a specialty car tag could be paying more for those tags in 2016.

The Alabama Legislature passed a bill during the last session to make the fee for most specialty tags $50 plus a $5 issuance fee. The new fee structure went into effect January 1, 2016.

“Our Probate team, our software company and the Alabama Department of Revenue have been working together to implement all of the new mandates passed during the 2015 legislative session,” Allen said. “The legislature often makes changes to the car tag process and our team works hard to make it as easy as possible for the customer to conduct business with their probate office.”

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Allen said the change will standardize the fees charge for those wanting to purchase one of the 120-plus different types of specialty license plates offered through the Department of Revenue. Proceeds from the tags most often go to the organization or group featured on the tag or back to the state.

In the past, the tags had fees ranging from $5 to $50.

Allen said according to an earlier statement by Gov. Robert Bentley the higher fee won’t be assessed on the “God Bless America” or the “Sweet Home Alabama” tag, which are standard state tags. However, purchasers will have to pay the $5 issuance cost or $50 if the tags are personalized.

All other tags will be assessed the $5 fee at the time the metal plate is issued. People purchasing replacement tags or their annual decal won’t be assessed the issuance fee. The $5 goes to the Alabama Department of Revenue to cover costs registration and licensing.

A small number of tags are exempt from the $50 uniform price including the Helping Schools ($20 which goes to local school district). While exempt from the $50 fee, the cost of the Helping School tag increased from $15 to $20.

Other tags exempt from the $50 uniform price are: Retired Educator ($25 which goes to Alabama Penny Trust Fund); all Firefighter plates ($23 to $105 depending on type of vehicle); Rescue Squad (free to $105 depending on vehicle type); Amateur Radio tags ($23 to $890 depending on vehicle type); and veterans and military plates ($3 to $105 depending on type of vehicle.)Disability plates will also be exempt from the change. The cost for those plates ranges from $23 to $105 depending on vehicle type.

Several new specialty tags have been created including the Alabama Bicentennial plate in honor of the state’s 200th birthday in 2019. The tag will cost $50 and won’t be issued after 2020.

The Legislature approved the creation of an “In Memory” plate.

The plates will feature the words “In Memory” at the bottom and can be personalized. There is a $50 cost.

The Alabama Legislature created the Legion of Valor, Bronze Star and Professional Firefighter plates.

Specialty license plates in all categories except Amateur Radio Operator may now be issued for motorcycles.

Firefighter plates will see a small increase, with 25 cents tacked on to each tag. That money will go to the Alabama Joint Fire Council, which will use the money to expand and maintain the Alabama Firefighter Memorial.