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Any reasons other than collecting $50 per year per vehicle (which is essentially a tax) would be appreciated.

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    Some regions also require emissions testing for renewal. But yea, it's mainly a tax to pay for things. – user1530 May 6 '13 at 17:26
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    I remember the days of $50 registration... Must have been 20 ish years ago though. was 300 for one 190 for another and 150 for my Bike this year – SoylentGray May 7 '13 at 12:27
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    @DA I think that juxtaposes "registration" with "inspection"... while the two are often related, they are different concepts. An "inspection" serves a public order/ safety function, which emissions can comfortably fit in. "Registration" is pretty much exclusively a tax for the privilege of owning/ operating a vehicle in a particular state, although it also is tied to license plating and whatnot. – Jeremy Holovacs May 10 '13 at 17:01
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Yes, part of the purpose for vehicle registration is for taxation.

Another thing that vehicle registration does is it establishes clear ownership of the vehicle (because you don't always keep it on your person.) It's kinda like the deed to your house.

It can come in handy in-case someone steals your car, or if you somehow lose your car otherwise. It becomes easier to track.

It also Identifies you, in-case you break some sort of traffic law, your license plate can be noted, and the government will be able to find whoever owns a particular car.


The reason you have to renew, is because it's easier to keep track of a vehicle if its registration keeps getting renewed. If the owner doesn't keep renewing it, It's very difficult to know whether the vehicle still exists, or if the owner (improperly) sold it without transferring ownership etc...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_registration

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    Re: ownership proof, the question was about renewal, not registration itself – user4012 May 6 '13 at 20:23
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    I live in MA, ownership is established by "title". Registration is another document which proves that you have insurance and a license plate. I don't mind paying the first $50 to get the license plate and the registration paper, but I was trying to comprehend the reason behind yearly $50 registration renewal. In MA, when you sell a car, the title has to be transferred, and a new registration has to be acquired, too. – Mr. TA May 7 '13 at 17:44
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    It's easier to keep track of the vehicle and the owner when the owner has to keep renewing his registration. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica May 7 '13 at 18:00
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    @Mr.TA - It is fairly common for people in the US to drive with out valid plate/licence/ or insurance. That one reason why the costs for insurance are so high. If you do not need to register the car there is no incentive for those who would ignore the law to pay the other costs (title/registration/insurance) since all they have to do is avoid being pulled over by a cop that will not accept that I borrowed this car from my friend. And unless the car is reported stolen the cop has no cause to investigate further. – SoylentGray May 9 '13 at 0:08
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    @Chad good to know. But still, registration renewal doesn't really stop that from happening, because if someone is risking getting a huge bouquet of tickets/charges for no insurance, invalid/stolen plates, and no license, what is a $50 annual fee going to do to convince them to change their ways? – Mr. TA May 9 '13 at 14:59
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This question was asked 6 years ago but for whatever reason has come back up in the Top Questions list so I will answer it as no one else has properly. The asker of the question wanted

"Any reasons other than collecting $50 per year per vehicle (which is essentially a tax)",

but no other reason exists. The registration renewal with accompanying fee is used to raise funds for transportation maintenance such as road repair and construction. You can read a little more about how it works in Texas here: How it works: Where do fees from vehicle registration and inspection go?

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