What fees will I face to register a title transfer a year late
July 26, 2012 11:24 AM   Subscribe

I bought about a year ago car in Chicago, Illinois but haven't yet updated the registration info. What penalties could I be facing?

I know I'm definitely outside the 'acceptable' date but I am now worried about actually registering the change of ownership if I'm going to have to pay through the nose or face other penalties. I have no tickets or anything and have updated my Chicago sticker so that's at least heartening. The problem is my registration sticker is going to be out of date soon and those tickets are expensive if you get one.

On the title the seller, who's a friend of mine, definitely dated it for a year ago. It's on the documents as the date so I can't fudge it there. The purchase price was $1200 for tax purposes.

What damage am I looking at here?
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
I think there's like a $20 fee for late registration. You'd do better by calling the local DMV and fiding out.

But driving without a valid registration lead to Bad Stuff. Just register the thing.
posted by valkyryn at 11:39 AM on July 26, 2012

As someone who lived with someone who let the registration expire and Bad Stuff happened (in Chicago no less), I couldn't agree with valkyryn more.

The late registration fee is $20 -- or at least it was a few years ago when I had to do the same thing for my old truck. The good news is I was able to do that and then got out of the expensive ticket you mentioned. But it was a pain in the ass. Paying the late fee is, it seems, pretty common. But do it before they make you do it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:54 AM on July 26, 2012

Are the plates are still in the seller's name? If so then you've been risking problems for your friend as well as yourself, which isn't very nice.

I don't know about late fees, but registration and title transfer are two different things. First you transfer the title into your name, and pay sales tax on the purchase. Then you register it (get plates / sticker) so you can legally drive it. If you haven't transferred the title into your name yet then it's the delay in transferring the title that you could conceivably cause an issue (though I doubt it). I suspect this will go smoothly and you'll feel dumb for having put it off.
posted by jon1270 at 12:15 PM on July 26, 2012

If your friend did their part right (reporting to the Sect of State that the car was sold on xx/xx/xx date - with the tear-off portion of the title) they won't be liable. When I was in a similar situation to yours, no one at the Sect of State cared as long as I paid what I owed and could show I had current insurance. The late penalties were very minimal. Don't worry, just go do it.

You'll have to pay the tax, the registration fee(s) that you would have paid if you had registered it on-time, and a minimal penalty. Make sure you have your insurance up to date.
posted by quince at 1:02 PM on July 26, 2012

I stupidly drove on expired registration for over a year in Chicago, and was terribly nervous to renew my plates, but like other people have said the penalty is minimal. A lot less than the hundreds of dollars in tickets I racked up! The DMV wants you to register your car, just do it!
posted by katypickle at 1:31 PM on July 26, 2012

(It's not the DMV in Illinois, it is the Secretary of State.)

Yeah, the penalty is not that big. But do be prepared for the cost of the whole process: you need to pay for title transfer, plates and tax. The tax is based on some kind of standard, it doesn't matter what you wrote on any bill of sale. The whole deal used to be $147, but it might be more now.

Also1: if they are your plates, most any SOS office can take care of you. But if you are using the other person's plates right now, you'll need to go to an SOS location that has plates.

Also2: not all SOS locations do title work. I believe all the full-service facilities do everything (Elston, Lexington and King Drive) you need. But many of the suburban facilities are technically "express" locations that don't do everything. Check the website before you go.

Also3: unless something has changed in the last year or so, you need to pay the tax separately, and they don't take credit cards for that. Cash or check. Further, the SOS doesn't (didn't?) take VISA. It seems ridiculous, but they don't. AMEX, Discover or MaserCard. Credit or debit doesn't matter, the logo on the card is what matters.
posted by gjc at 7:04 PM on July 26, 2012

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