Tags, title fees to increase more than 50 percent

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By Alice Du Pont

The price of automobile tags and title fees will increase more than 50 percent as of Sept. 1. Dale Summerford, tax collector, said the 2009 Florida Legislature established a law to raise the fees.

"The Legislature had a huge hole to plug in their budget in these economic times. But in defense of the Legislature, Florida has some of the lowest tag fees around. We are somewhere around 48th or 49th in the country," he said.

For instance, before the law change, base motor vehicle registration on a Honda Accord was $36.75 in Florida, as compared to $242 in Metro Atlanta, $75 in Texas, $230 in California and $84 in Michigan, according to information released by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Renewal increases were made was 1989, most motor vehicle registration fees have not increased since 1983 and title fees have not increased since 1985.

"The basic three categories that will affect most people will increase between 54 percent and 66 percent," Summerford said.

Small cars will go from $28.10 to $46.65, mid-size and small pickups will go from $36.10 to $57.65 and larger cars, SUVs and regular pickups will go from $46.10 to $71.15. Specialty tags, which are now $27.50 above go up to $30.

"Base registration fees on most vehicles increased Summerford by 35 percent but the add-ons are what gets you," he said.

These are the changes in add on fees:

• Air pollution control fee: $1/no change

• Decal and demand fee: from $1 to $3

• Florida real-time DMV computer fee: from 50 cents to $1.25

• Law enforcement radio fee: $1/no change

• State transportation surcharge: from $2 to $4

• Transportation disadvantage fee: $1.50/no charge

• Advanced plate replacement fee: from $2 to $2.80

• EMS fee: 10 cents/no change

• General revenue/juvenile justice fee: from $1 to $5.50

• Plate reflective material fee: from 50 cents to $1.50

• Service fee: from $2.50 to $5

Other fee changes, include:

• Initial registration fee from $100 to $225

• License plate fee from $12 to $28. New license plates will, however, now be changed every 10 years.

• Title transfer/duplicate title fee from $29.75 to $75

•Late fee title transfers (30 days after) from $10 to $20

"This one is huge. If you purchase a motor vehicle and don't transfer a tag, title and registration. Let's say you buy a second vehicle the fees will increase from approximately $165 to $190 to $375 up to $400," he said.

Summerford said none of the fee increase funds will be paid to the county. The money, according to the DMV, will be go to the Department of Education for classroom assistance, the Department of Transportation for road and bridge construction and to DMV operations.

There is a way, he said, for citizens to save money.

"I'm encouraging people to renew their tags early and for 2 years. June, July and August expirations are renewed at the current rate prior to Sept. 1. September, October and November expirations can purchase three months ahead of time, which will get them in on the old rates," he said.

For more information on the new fees, call Summerford's office at 627-7255.