Help us transfer our plates!
July 2, 2009 11:19 AM   Subscribe

Florida DMVFilter: what's the easiest (and cheapest) way to register Mr. WanKenobi's car in the state of Florida?

Mr. WanKenobi just moved in. Yay! He brings with him a nice, newish RAV4, which he owns outright and is currently registered in the state of NJ.

Since I hardly use my own car, which is registered in Florida, and since we certainly don't need two cars, I've just sold it on craigslist. I have the plates and all of that.

Now we're trying to figure out the best way to register Mr. WanKenobi's car. I would just send him over to get his own plates, but the state of Florida charges you an extra hundred bucks the first time you register any vehicle in the state, whereas transferring the plates would only be four dollars. We have no problem sharing the ownership of the car--we'll both be using it, after all--but I can't find anything on the website about transferring the title to a new co-owner, if that makes any sense. Do any of your Florida mefites have any experience with this? We'd like to avoid paying that hundred dollar "initial registration fee" again if at all possible!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi to Law & Government (13 answers total)
why not call the DMV and ask them what the options are? They are, after all, the experts.
posted by HuronBob at 11:42 AM on July 2, 2009

Response by poster: That's my back-up plan for tomorrow. Figured it can't hurt to ask metafilter, in the event that someone has experience with this.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:43 AM on July 2, 2009

in reading over the site you linked to, it appears clear that the plate remains with you. You could transfer it to another vehicle if you OWN the vehicle. My guess is that you would need to transfer title to you in order to use the plate. This might also depend on if there is a loan on the car....
posted by HuronBob at 11:51 AM on July 2, 2009

Well title transfers are done at the county tax collectors office. So both of you go there. You want to transfer to a FLA title add your name to it & then use your tag off the car you sold. Mr. kenobi will need a FLA DL I think. Call the local tax collector 1st. It will be easier to get someone one the phone with answers for you than the DMV. FLA DMV is closing offices across the state.
posted by patnok at 11:53 AM on July 2, 2009

You may still have to pay the $100 for a out of state car coming in........:-( remember it's a "fee" not a "tax"

posted by patnok at 11:55 AM on July 2, 2009

Response by poster: ROFLMAO

patnok, I can see that you're familiar with the way things run in the sunshine state!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:03 PM on July 2, 2009

Either way you'll have to pay the hundred bucks. The only way around this is if the car was previously registered in Florida.
posted by torquemaniac at 12:08 PM on July 2, 2009

Yes it is my home.
posted by patnok at 12:34 PM on July 2, 2009

Best answer: No, there's a way around it. The car doesn't need to have been previously registered in florida if there's a florida registration to transfer. It sounds like she does have a florida registration that she can transfer.

The car has to be retitled in FL either way, no matter who registers it. When it's retitled, the owner should be able to just assign you as the co-owner. I believe when they say "first time transfer to joint ownership" they are talking about transfer of half the ownership and/or transfer of the car to two new owners. Since the title needs to be transferred to FL either way, this shouldn't be a big deal or extra process. You might need an informal co-ownership agreement, I don't know. If you do, you'll be able to take care of that at the title office.

This is the problem I see: the registration is in your name and not a joint registration. Thus, I'm not sure you can transfer your registration to a jointly owned vehicle. The only way around the new-to-florida registration fee, as far as I can tell, would be for him to sell or gift you the car, transferring the title to you, and then you can transfer your registration to the car. After that, you can then re-title the car jointly and the car may or may not need to be re-registered at that time. Even if it doesn't need to be re-registered, re-titling it will be an extra fee (though you can spread out the cost by waiting to re-title when it's convenient).

Of course that's just speculation, but I believe the question is more about whether or not you can transfer an individual registration to a jointly-owned car, not whether or not you can transfer the title to a new co-owner.
posted by necessitas at 12:44 PM on July 2, 2009

Response by poster: Okay, well, I got in touch with someone at a Florida tax collector's office (not our tax collector's office, as their number has mysteriously been disconnected--love it!). Apparently, I can transfer the plates and registration from an out of state car without paying the initial registration fee again so long as I have previously had a car registered in Florida. We're not going to bother with co-ownership right now, as it just seems too complicated--he's going to gift it to me, as necessitas suggests. We'll see about joint ownership after.

Just a warning to the rest of you Floridian's, the very helpful woman at the tax collector's office warned us to do the title and registration stuff before September 1st, because after that registration services are going up to $250 dollars and titling is going to be somewhere around there, too. Oh, and license plate fees are going to be raised 35%. Fun fun fun.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:15 PM on July 2, 2009

Roger that on the "fee" increases.........But I live in paradise so .......I believe you can prepay up to 90 days before you are due so do your homework on that & you can also get 2 years at the old price. Money can be saved by paying early & for 2 years.

"tear up paradise, put up a parking lot"
posted by patnok at 2:50 PM on July 2, 2009

Patnok, your comment about fee increases, but you live in paradise reminds me of when I doing some workforce research (a grant) on the west coast of FL, and asking employers about salary and they all said something along the lines of "[salary quote]...well, it's certainly less than other states, but employees are generally happy to accept that amount because of the beach and the sunshine." I always wondered how the employees put sand and sun in their credit card payments.
posted by necessitas at 5:36 PM on July 2, 2009

I miss the Florida DMV. When I lived there, I never understood the stereotypical hatred for it that I would read about. Whenever I had an issue, they were always very helpful. The RMV here in Massachusetts? Now I understand.
posted by thekiltedwonder at 8:20 AM on July 3, 2009

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