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Temporary Tags: What You Should Know

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On: Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 5:13PM | By: Karen Cook

Temporary Tags:  What You Should Know

When you purchase a car from a dealership, they are responsible for the processing and completion of your tag and title paperwork. You will sign all documentation that the state needs to transfer ownership of the vehicle from the dealership to you. If you have a license plate to transfer this will be done for you by the dealership. However, if you do not have a tag to transfer the process is a little different.

You will be issued a temporary tag or a “paper tag”. This will be attached to your new vehicle just like a metal plate. It is not acceptable to put the tag in the rear window. It must be attached to the rear of the vehicle in the spot where a metal plate goes. A paper tag is good for 30 days, which is the time the state has allotted for your paperwork to be processed. Most of the time you will get your permanent plate sooner than that, at which point the paper tag is no longer valid and can be thrown away.

If there are unforeseen problems during processing the state allows for one more temp tag to be issued. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your expiration date and call the dealership if it’s getting close. Most of the time you will already be aware of the problem and be working with the dealership to resolve it, but not always.

A dealership is not authorized to issue more than two temp tags. The ones you get will most likely be computer-printed on special paper which gives them the ability to withstand weather and car washes, within reason, but you will also have a yellow registration you will want to keep handy in case the printing fades or becomes illegible. If a dealership has failed to complete your tag and title work within 60 days, they may try to issue you a third paper tag which is handwritten. This is not permissible. If the dealership has been asking you for documentation which you have not yet provided, this will hold up the process of getting your permanent plate and may cause you to be unable to drive your vehicle if the delay has exhausted both of your paper tags. Do your title clerk a favor and be prompt in providing anything the dealership asks you for in order to avoid putting yourself in this position.

A handwritten tag may be issued only in the case of a system outage when a printed tag is unavailable.


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