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Good Question: Why Do We Pick Up The Tab Every Year?

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a sticker that starts a lot of sticky conversation. License tabs. They can be pricey and they need to be replaced.

So, why do we pick up the tab every year? Good Question.

License tabs actually date back more than 100 years in Minnesota.

“It started in 1909 and that year 7,000 cars were registered and it cost a $1.50,” says Doug Neville, spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety.

Now prices can range depending on the value of the car — $98 is the average.

Neville said we pay each year because tabs give police up-to-date information if there’s a crash, or your car gets stolen.

And there’s another benefit, too.

“If there’s a recall on your vehicle that we have the right information, too, because that manufacturer will let us know and we can help get the word out,” Neville said.

The money you pay for your tabs goes to road repairs.

The bulk of the bill is tax deductible, but don’t try putting off your payment.

“The tabs expire the month that they expire and that 10-day grace period is one of those urban myths,” says Neville.

In fact, Driver and Vehicle Services lets you pay ahead.

“One thing that a lot of people don’t know is you can pay for more than one year. If we have the sticker for the year, you can pay for two years at a time,” Neville said.

Police can ticket you the first day of the month after your tabs expire.

It’s a misdemeanor, but the penalty goes up if you skip paying an entire year.

Fines range depending on where you get ticketed because of local fees.

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