Being late getting your Colorado license plates can cost you


Anyone driving around during the years of the COVID-19 pandemic probably noticed long-expired license plates on the road, including temporary tags and out-of-state plates. 

After complaints from citizens, the legislature passed a new law, HB22-1254 Vehicle Taxes and Fees Late Registration, which went into effect right after Governor Polis signed it on June 7, 2022.

The law gives new residents of our state 90 days to get their vehicles registered. Failure to do so will result in the imposition of a $25.00 fine.

Colorado residents who buy a new or used vehicle from a dealer are also required to buy their plates in a timely manner. It is their responsibility to pay attention to the expiration date on their temporary paper plate.

We found that out the hard way. After buying a two-year-old vehicle from a local dealer, we placed our temporary paper plate on the back of the car and waited for the post card that told us our paperwork was complete so we could buy our permanent license plates. 

It finally arrived in the mail two months and two days after we bought the car. We immediately went online to buy the permanent plates, only to find out that, in addition to the cost of registering our car, which isn’t cheap in Colorado, we were being assessed a $25 late fee. 

After a few calls to the county clerk, we found out that the notice telling us our paperwork was complete did not arrive until after our temporary tags expired. We soon discovered that the reason our paperwork was processed late by the county clerk was they did not receive the documents from the dealer until 50 days after we bought the car, something we could not have known. To add insult to injury, the county clerk did not have the authority to waive the $25 late fee. If we wanted to get license plates, we had to pay it.

That didn’t seem fair, so we filed State of Colorado form DR2468 Late Fee Review and Refund Request to ask for the $25 late fee to be returned. It worked! Our refund request was approved and the fee refunded, but it would have been much easier to be proactive and extend the date our temporary plates would be valid, instead of waiting for the notice that the title work was complete. 

Keep your eye on the expiration date of your temporary plates.