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.

Comments (17)
  1. Exp says:

    Mr Neville doesn’t know his own job and should be fired.
    MN law, 168.09 subd. 4 states that you have 10 days to display your new tabs from when the old ones expire.
    You CAN get a ticket in those 10 days, but if you buy tabs during that time you can get the ticket voided, so most police officers don’t bother writing a ticket and warn instead.

  2. M says:

    So do you actually change your tabs or do you just add it to the stack of old ones. I just pile em up.

  3. M says:

    So do you actually change your tabs or do you just add it to the stack of old ones?

  4. Andy says:

    Keep towing that government line cco. License tabs are nothing but theft. They serve no purpose, but to fund the worthless state government.

    1. Overpaid MNA RN says:

      Doesn’t matter to me….I’ll just work another “double” and get an extra bonus.

  5. Financing the nanny state says:

    This is all an additional taxing scheme. The worst part is that I pay $9 in filing fees, etc, for my $10 boat trailer every year. They just keep piling on the fees, instead of calling them what they are… Taxes. What a socialist scam!!

    1. mordacai says:

      Yeah, my motorcycle license is doubled when they add all the “fees.”

      Hey, if the federal government can make airlines tell you the REAL price, why can’t they make the state do the same? Now that’s a good question. DeRusha, get on that one.

  6. Following tradition up North says:

    I had so many stacked that I was afraid it would come unstuck! So I took a razor blade and CAREFULLY lifted the old ones off before putting on the new.
    Always clean the area and dry before putting new ones on. My Dad always used lighter fluid and then let it dry. Why? I have no clue but I do it too.

  7. das14 says:

    Don’t think you can pay with a Visa. You can’t. Bring your checkbook or cash. Oh wait, or mastercard.

  8. roger says:

    If you can purchase tabs for two years–wouldn’t the second year be out dated-we should only have to buy tab every two years–or maybe three–I guess that shoots the up dated information for recalls–police and dot info they are trying to sell us

  9. can't get ahead says:

    I’m sick of paying for tabs on everything. Even my boat trailer requires a yearly tab renewal since they would not give me a lifetime registration for it. Snowmobiles, boats, cars, everything. What a crock of government waste.

    1. jane says:

      Don’t have so many toys.

  10. Sarah says:

    There is no need to throw away perfectly fine license plates either.

    It’s like an anti-green law.

  11. T says:

    Maybe you can’t get ahead because of the boats, snowmobiles and everything…
    Things you don’t need. Just sayin.

    1. Andy says:

      Yeah, being taxed to death at every turn to fund the government and ever growing police state has nothing to do with it.

    2. the no-tax man says:

      I agree with T. We can afford all the toys, but go without them. That way we pay for our kids college education, and a nice vacation yearly. I rather go to Mexico and give them my money and get two weeks off from this hole than to give all that money for toys to Minnesota and then have to pay the taxes on the toys, taxes on the registration, taxes on the gas they burn, taxes on the tabs for the trailers, burn up my vehicles towing the toys, or worse yet, own a gas guzzler and pay Uncle Dayton more each time I commute to work. It is a conscious decision, but one I do not regret. The less I pay to the government, the more I have for me and the less Government has to waste.

      1. Matt says:

        tabs were here for 100 years, Dayton hasn’t been in office that long, stop blaming him for your tabs. It just shows how big of an idiot you are.