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California DMV Backfees!!!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Gruizer54, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. Gruizer54
    Joined: Apr 23, 2001
    Posts: 84


    Hey guys, I need your help here. I couldn't find the answer to my question in any of the forum searches I did.

    I went to the DMV and tried to register my 54 Chevy and they gave me $600.00 is backfees for a vehicle that wasn’t even in their system.

    I bought the car (1954 Chevrolet) as a project back in July of 1998 from a somone who had it stored next to a barn in the Napa/Sonoma area. He didn’t have a title for the car so I had to get a Bill of Sale form from the DMV and have him sign it. I registered the car under my name on Janurary 8th 1999 (about $60). The vehicle has been garaged for the last 13 years as it has been a long project. I never ended renewing my registration.

    Fast forward 13 years and I go into the DMV yesterday to get it registered and since it was no longer in their system I figured I would have to pay just the fee to license it under my name again (around $60 last time I did it). The guy didn't know what to do with it so he took it to his manager and she didn't know what to do with it. So she called someone on the phone and they came up with $600 in back fees to get the car current.
    I don’t understand how they came up with the fees if the vehicle was no longer in their system. Is there anything I can do to dispute the fees? Should I just go to another DMV and see if they will drop the fees? My fear is that now the car is in their system with backfees based on someone's opinion.


    I should have just been dishonest and said I lost the title and paperwork so I could register it as a new title. See what happens when you try to do the right thing in California!
  2. rick finch
    Joined: May 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,003

    rick finch

    This state is broke....they're trying to get as much revenue as they can and the omnipotent DMV is a great source.
  3. KJSR
    Joined: Mar 7, 2008
    Posts: 2,412

    from Utah
    1. Utah HAMBers

    If I remember correctly, if it is out of their system they charge for the last four years at an accelerated rate.....
  4. easyissy
    Joined: Mar 23, 2011
    Posts: 133


    When I went to register mine ('58 Ford) they told me they only go back 3 years for backfees and mine came up to around $150. Seems like your getting reamed. Maybe try a different DMV I would suggest.

  5. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,060

    from California

    gotta love the DMV. "I don't know what to do so lets just charge him $600.00 for nothing"

    there is (or used to be) a rule in the book that stated if you are a car collector and registering a collector vehicle there would be no back fees. I went through this once about 10 years ago.of course the stupid bitch at the DMV new nothing about it and was too fat to get up and ask someone or look it up. she was ready for a fight and I wasn't going to argue with her, I just told her to get the supervisor to look it up.

    once she found it they tried to argue that a 58 bug is not a collector car. then they tried to say I was not a car collector even tough I had 3 or 4 old cars registered to me at that time, tried to tell me I was some sort of car dealer.

    I think they expect people to get all pissed and walk out. I didn't, stood my ground and paid the regular tags with no back fees.

    not sure if any of this would apply in your situation, but there it is.
  6. slddnmatt
    Joined: Mar 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,682


    Call C.A.R.S. in temecula. They are the best, the owner worked for the dmv she got my back fees from around 800 bucks down to 200 on a vw. 951-694-4331 the dmv is just dumb....
  7. no55mad
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 1,888


    I have done this also in the past with a 70 Nova SS. I had to show them production numbers etc and it worked. A car collector friend told me about this - the DMV will never divulge this info. So I tried to do it again with a 55F100 about 2 years ago. They acted like they had never heard of this program. There was even a state rep in the office - she told me she had never heard of it but also said this vehicle was not a classic anyway. So, I registered it in another state to get by the ridiculus back fees, waited a year, and reregistered it in Ca.

  8. RopeSeals???
    Joined: Jul 2, 2007
    Posts: 444


    When you posted fees in 1999, it got back into the "System"

    You state "I never ended renewing my registration."

    Does that mean you paid for yearly renewal and received either stickers or PNO?
    When you posted fees in 1999, did you get a title in your name?
    When was is the last year of registration/PNO?
  9. rgfloor
    Joined: May 12, 2008
    Posts: 34

    from oh

    The problem is you just left should have got a non-op registration. This essentially stops the fees, according to the DMV, you have been driving illegally for 10 years, and now they want their fees.
    sure it is an extra hoop to jump thru but it would have stopped the fees.
  10. Dane
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,351

    from Soquel, CA

    That's what I would try. As long as there are no tickets against the car in the time you want to non op I think you should be able to do it.
  11. RopeSeals???
    Joined: Jul 2, 2007
    Posts: 444


    I think this is what 49ratfink and No55mad were referring to...

    Vehicles Exempt From Reporting Operational Status
    Historical vehicles, horseless carriages, and vehicles of special interest that are part of a collection and are not operated as defined in California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§5004, 5004.5, and 5051.
    Other exempted vehicles include:

    • Mopeds
    • Vehicles with registrations that expire while in dealer or lessor/retailer inventory
    • Vehicles with registrations that expire while being held for lien sale by an authorized towing company or parking facility
    • Vehicles which are part of an apportioned or permanent fleet
    • Special Equipment (SE) as defined in Vehicle Code §§245, 565, 570, and 575
    • Unrecovered stolen vehicles
    • Title Only vehicles that are currently located and registered in a state other than California
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
  12. RopeSeals???
    Joined: Jul 2, 2007
    Posts: 444


    From the CA DMV...

    Since the California DMV has an aggressive delinquent registration collection process in place, it may be that renewal fees have been paid but other requirements have not been met, such as: smog certification, or clearance of outstanding parking citations. Stickers cannot be issued until all requirements are met.

    If the renewal fee is not paid within 30 days following the expiration, DMV sends a series of computer generated delinquent registration notifications to the vehicle owner(s). If the renewal fee still remains unpaid after 90 days, the account is transferred to the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) for collection.

    FTB has the authority to withhold wages, levy bank accounts, intercept tax refunds, and seize real or personal property to collect delinquent registration fees.
  13. SlmLrd
    Joined: Oct 27, 2007
    Posts: 988

    from DAGO

    I used a registration company. No record of my car (hasnt been registered since 1960) $86 and got my title 3 weeks later.
  14. gasserjohn
    Joined: Nov 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,219


    join theAAA............
  15. big bad john
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 4,727

    big bad john

    ...Sure glad I don't live in california....I was thinking that Wisconsin fees are high...Hope you can find a way to get it reduced...
  16. deto
    Joined: Jun 26, 2010
    Posts: 2,620


    you needed to non-op it.
  17. MeanGene427
    Joined: Dec 15, 2010
    Posts: 1,724

    from Napa

    I have several that I got the paperwork straight, VIN verify etc., then got a Title Only with non-op until I'm ready to register it. Sounds like another one of those threads ranting about DMV when all you had to do was non-op it- and when it's non-op'd, it doesn't fall out of the computer, either. I got a '66 Country Squire a couple years ago that hadn't been registered since '89 but had been non-oped, signed pink, bill of sale and transfer fee, out in 10 minutes, pink in the mail, noooo problem
    Also had the 428 running in 20 min and drove it on the trailer- cherry on the sundae :p

    BTW, take your paperwork to a DMV just about 20 min north of you with your story straight, and you'll probably be OK- but DON'T, whatever you do, go to the DMV in Santa Rosa
  18. 01spirit750
    Joined: Oct 27, 2010
    Posts: 86

    from Ohio

    To expand on the waiver for not reporting operational status.

    Your car is 58 years old and per California DMV is classified as a historic vehicle

    See item #3 below
    Vehicles of Historic Value

    <!-- #EndEditable --><!-- #BeginEditable "section_number" -->5004<!-- #EndEditable -->. <!-- #BeginEditable "section_content" -->(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, any owner of a vehicle described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) which is operated or moved over the highway primarily for the purpose of historical exhibition or other similar purpose shall, upon application in the manner and at the time prescribed by the department, be issued special identification plates for the vehicle: <!-- #EndEditable -->
    <!-- #BeginEditable "addl_section_content" -->(1) A motor vehicle with an engine of 16 or more cylinders manufactured prior to 1965.
    (2) A motor vehicle manufactured in the year 1922 or prior thereto.
    (3) A vehicle which was manufactured after 1922, is at least 25 years old, and is of historic interest.
    (b) The special identification plates assigned to motor vehicles with an engine of 16 or more cylinders manufactured prior to 1965 and to any motor vehicle manufactured in the year 1922 and prior thereto shall run in a separate numerical series, commencing with "Horseless Carriage No. 1".
    The special identification plates assigned to vehicles specified in paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) shall run in a separate numerical series, commencing with "Historical Vehicle No. 1".
    Each series of plates shall have different and distinguishing colors.
    (c) A fee of twenty-five dollars ($25) shall be charged for the initial issuance of the special identification plates. Such plates shall be permanent and shall not be required to be replaced. If such special identification plates become damaged or unserviceable in any manner, replacement for the plates may be obtained from the department upon proper application and upon payment of such fee as is provided for in Section 9265.
    (d) All funds received by the department in payment for such identification plates or the replacement thereof shall be deposited in the California Environmental License Plate Fund.
    (e) These vehicles shall not be exempt from the equipment provisions of Sections 26709, 27150, and 27600.
    (f) As used in this section, a vehicle is of historic interest if it is collected, restored, maintained, and operated by a collector or hobbyist principally for purposes of exhibition and historic vehicle club activities.
    <!-- #EndEditable -->
    <!-- #BeginEditable "section_change_history" -->Amended Ch. 918, Stats. 1984. Effective January 1, 1985. <!-- #EndEditable -->
  19. gal6xie5
    Joined: Dec 19, 2006
    Posts: 268


    Its called Non Op. Easiest thing to do if your working on it and not driving it. We bought a 36 Ford Pickup that was non op'd in 72. $86.00 later I had new plates and title. I put a non op on my race car even though I have insurance on it. It never sees the street and is trailered everywhere so why keep the tags up.

    You initiated the car's paperwork in 1999. Should have put a non op on it then and would have avoided the fees.

    If I remember correctly, they stopped taking cars 'out of the system' well before 1999.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012

  20. I agree ..... shoulda been non-op'ed with the first renewal notice

    But that is history now.

    Some DMV beancounter is probably following this thread and laffing his ass off! LOL
  21. find a friend in oregon title it here then take it back to Calif they can,t do a damn thing about it. You think this is bad Wasington is much worse
  22. FatDaddy53
    Joined: Apr 14, 2008
    Posts: 467


    i figured a simple solution ... whenever u go to dmv with new registration shit,,, always put that date u go as the day u got/started anything.. theyll tag u for anything extra now
  23. Yawl ever notice that in California a DMV office usually has a CHP office right next door???

    ..... just thought I would throw that out there.
  24. Gruizer54
    Joined: Apr 23, 2001
    Posts: 84


    Guys, thanks for all the information. I know that I should have registered it as non-op but I was 19 and I thought that I would have it on the road within a year. I lost interest in the car so many times and with life changes (wife, kids, morgage) the car kept getting backburnerd. Big lesson learned...always non-op a project.

    I called C.A.R.S. but they are closed, so I will try them again tomorrow. If they can't help then I will give it another shot at a different DMV and hope that I get a clerk that is a lot more understanding. I never knew about the "vehicle of historic value" thing, I'll print that out and take it with me for some leverage.

    Thanks again guys.
  25. Careful with the "vehicle of Historic value" thingy .. it might "up" the value or your car which means more taxes .... just saying.
  26. slddnmatt
    Joined: Mar 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,682


    try CARS before noon. Nancy is the owner and the registration god..hopefully she can help you out.
  27. Gruizer54
    Joined: Apr 23, 2001
    Posts: 84



    I spoke to someone over at C.A.R.S. like slddnmatt suggested (nancy was out of the office today) and they are going to be able to reduce my fees from $600.00 to less than $120.00 to the DMV. There is a small fee to C.A.R.S. but it's totally worth it. Thanks so much for your help guys. slddnmatt I owe you a beer!

  28. slddnmatt
    Joined: Mar 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,682


    they are the best. glad i could help!!
  29. good info and i don't even live in cal. but this would help buying one there with no title and only bill of sale.
  30. EarlKann
    Joined: Dec 17, 2006
    Posts: 59


    Found this thread searching and felt it was worth adding my input.

    I am looking at an old Dodge truck that has about $800 in back fees due, current owner did not file the non-op. I called CARS in Temecula today, the employee who answered was very helpful and friendly, took my information and asked if she could have her boss call me back.

    Nancy called back with 30-minutes. Without seeing the paperwork she felt sure that she could get the back fees waived under the historic vehicle code which is quoted earlier in this thread. From about $800 to around $300 including the fees for CARS services.

    Excellent customer service, I'd much rather pay some fees to a local small business than to the Ca DMV. Highly recommend them.

    Thanks to slddnmatt for the tip.

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