TAMPA, Fla. — When moving to a new state, there are a few priorities that must get done when you arrive, such as updating your mailing address, setting up utilities and switching over your driver's license and car registration.
Here in Florida, you will have 30 days after you arrive to change over your license. However, before heading to the DMV, you are going to want to make sure your wallet is full.
To start, you will not be going to a traditional "DMV office" as other states have. A few years ago, Florida closed DMV offices except for a few select counties, handing off the responsibility to tax collectors.
With tax collectors taking care of "DMV" services, every transaction completed can include an additional $6.25 fee to offset those costs the tax collector has.
On top of that fee, depending on the county you live in, you could face additional fees. For example, Pinellas County charges its residents a 1% fee on purchases up to $5,000.
Knowing how much you will spend depends on a variety of factors, like how many cars you have. Charles W. Thomas, the Pinellas County Tax Collector, estimates the cost to register and title a vehicle for the first time is $420 plus any additional sales tax.
Florida has some of the most expensive car registration fees in the country, only second to Oregon. You could consider it the price you pay for no income tax.
States have various ways to figure out the price to register your car, using factors like the car's age, weight, even the mileage per gallon.
In Florida, it's based on weight. Prices to renew registration can vary between $14 and $32 depending on your car or truck's weight.
However, if you have never had a Florida license plate, you will need to tack on an additional $225 for Florida's Initial Registration Fee.
On top of all that, you will have to pay for your new license plate. A standard one costs $28, but if you are feeling fancy and want a personalized plate, that can cost you upward of $70. If you want the custom plate, you could end up paying for a normal plate, too, since the process of making license plates is backlogged due to COVID-19 — and the temporary paper license plate expires after three months.
Luckily, all those fees from specialty plates benefit causes like saving the sea turtles and preserving our oceans.
Since we are in Florida, though, you may be bringing more than just a car.
Boats and other vessels have their own set of registration fees, and it can get pretty expensive. If you have a boat longer than 110 feet, you could be paying nearly $300 just for the registration.
In general, it is good to make sure you have an idea of what you could be spending, and budget out that cash ahead of your appointment.