Documents, inspections, and fees- oh my! We know registering your car in Florida can seem like a daunting task. There’s no question that you’d rather be trolling the internet for the latest Harambe meme over researching Florida registration processes. We’re here to help so you can get back to… erm… more productive activities as quickly as possible. Keep reading for a simple step-by-step on how to register your car in Florida.
How it feels researching how to register your car
“I bought my car from a dealership”
You’re in luck! If you bought your vehicle from an authorized car dealership, they should be able to provide you with temporary license plates and file your title and car registration for you. Just make sure to ask if they have access to the Electronic Temporary Registration (ETR) and the Electronic Filing System (EFS).
You should receive a transfer of the title and registration within 30 days. If not, be sure to contact the Division of Motor Services in your county to see what’s up. Keep in mind: most dealerships will add a charge for the title and registration costs when you purchase your vehicle, and may charge an additional “filing fee” at their discretion.
“I bought my car from a private party"
Purchasing your car from a private party can require a little more leg-work on your end but it’s still totally do-able so don’t sweat it. There are few forms you’ll have to fill out and submit to the county tax collector’s office. Here's what you'll need to do:
- Complete a Bill of Sale: This form basically acts as a receipt for your car purchase. Formally, it’s called a HSMV 82050.
- Fill out a certificate of title with the previous owner: You’ll want to fill out the car title while you're with the previous owner to make sure you're able to get all the needed information. Pro tip: make sure the VIN number (vehicle identification number) on the title matches the one on the car. You can usually find this number in the corner of your dashboard, under your hood at the front of the engine, on the manufacturer label, or on the door jam of the driver’s side door. If the car is titled somewhere other than Florida, you'll need to use the HSMV 82040 form for the title.
- Fill out an odometer/mileage disclosure: The state of Florida requires that you submit a notice of mileage for your car. The form you'll need is the HSMV 82993. If your car hasn’t been titled in Florida before, you’ll also need to get a VIN verification inspection.
- Head to the Tax Collector Office: Bring these completed forms along with proof of Florida insurance to your County Tax Collector Office. You can get your car insurance policy from any insurance company that fits your needs. A quick internet search should help you determine the best fit for you. Don't forget to also bring some form of ID (ahem, your shiny new Florida learner permit earned in-app, perhaps?)
- Pay the registration fee: You'll pay these fees while you're at the Florida tax collector office. Charges include the title fee, vehicle registration fee, Florida sales and use tax (6%), local county fees, and license plate fee if needed (you won’t be charged if you’re simply transferring plates). The total cost can vary depending on your county, and whether or not you need new license plates.
Ta-da! There you have it, the in’s and out’s of registering your motor vehicle as a Florida driver. All it takes is a little bit of paperwork, and a trip to your county collector. The sooner you get on it, the sooner you can be back on the road legally, or dedicating your time on the internet to watching cat videos instead of researching registration processes.