Car Tags/Titles

Jefferson County Revenue Department – Motor Vehicle Tags

General Information

Effective January 1, 1998, Alabama Law no longer allows a motor vehicle license plate to go with the vehicle when the vehicle is sold, traded or disposed of by any other means, including a gift or inheritance.

In the past, certain distinctive and personalized vehicle plates were transferred from vehicle to vehicle if the owner acquired a different vehicle or, in some cases, if the owner wanted to put the plate on another vehicle he or she owned. However, according to the current law, an owner who trades vehicles must remove the license plate from the previously owned vehicle and bring it to the license issuing official to be transferred to the newly acquired vehicle. Also, if a vehicle is sold or disposed of otherwise, the owner is required to remove the plate. If the owner sells his vehicle, or if it is totally destroyed or junked, he may transfer the plate to a vehicle of the same classification he already owns that is not currently licensed, or to a vehicle of the same classification or higher classification he acquires later in the license year. There are certain limitations and the owner may not transfer the plate to another vehicle he or she owns unless the licensed vehicle has changed ownership.

Due to a change in the law, the ad valorem portion of the tag tax is collected in advance. This creates a situation in which the seller may have a pre-paid (paid in advance) tag/ tax. In the event an owner sells or otherwise disposes of a vehicle, the tag no longer stays with the car, it belongs to the owner-seller and should be removed from the vehicle before the physical transfer of the vehicle occurs. The owner-seller has the option of transferring the tag to another vehicle acquired in his/her name, and the owner-seller may request a Credit Voucher within one (1) year for the un-used portion of the ad valorem tax. The Credit Voucher is pro-rated, by month, and is valid only for application to the ad valorem portion of the charges associated with the renewal of an existing tag and/or acquisition of a replacement vehicle to which the held tag will be attached. Please go to the “Important Changes to Credit Voucher After 1 January 2005” for more information.

You must keep either an original tag registration form (tag receipt) or a same-sized facsimile in your vehicle at all times. You may be asked to present this form by law enforcement officers at any time. Please note that your tag registration form is not your vehicle title. We do not recommend that you keep your original title in your vehicle under any circumstances.

Your Alabama motor vehicle license plate/decal must be renewed each year. Renewal reminders will be mailed as a courtesy at the beginning of the scheduled renewal month. It is your responsibility to renew your tag/decal during the correct renewal month, even if you do not receive a courtesy renewal reminder in the mail. The first letter of your last name determines the month in which your renewal is due.

Renewal Chart

Renewal Month

Last Name Begins With

January

A, D

February

B

March

C, E

April

F, G, N

May

H, O

June

M, I

July

P, L

August

J, K, R

September

Q, S, T

October

U, V, W, X, Y, Z, & National Guard

November

Commercial and Fleet Vehicles (Except IRP)

Tag renewals may be processed at any of the Jefferson County Revenue Department locations. You may also renew your registration by mail or over the internet if you receive a renewal reminder for your vehicle. To avoid long lines and save time, the best time to renew your tag in person is between the 10th of the month and the 25th of the month.

Fees - The amount you pay to renew your tag is a combination of your ad valorem tax assessment and a license fee. The ad valorem taxes are determined by multiplying the state-assigned value of your vehicle by the assessment rate (based on the classification of the vehicle), then multiplying the assessed value by the millage rate determined by your address.

Effective January 1, 2000, ad valorem taxes are collected in advance at the time of registration. A mail fee of $2.00 is charged for tag renewals processed by mail or through Express Lane.