Every other year, if it’s their time to pay, an extra fee is tacked onto a county resident’s vehicle tax bill. It’s an additional fee called a tag renewal fee. It is money that goes to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV), but what is it?
On SCDMV’s website there is a list of fees charged by the agency. They include driver’s license fees, registration fees and late fees, but there is no tag renewal fee on the list, much less information on what the fee is for.
The reason why the tag or license plate fee is not specifically listed is because the bi-annual fee is listed to correspond with a vehicle’s gross weight. The owner of a vehicle weighing one to 4,000 pounds will pay $30. A passenger car’s weight would increase the payment to $40 and a larger truck or SUV’s weight would force a fee of $60 and so on, up to $100. If you have a hybrid vehicle, it’s a $60 fee regardless of its weight.
Kyle McGahee, SCDMV’s head of Communications & Community Affairs said the fee goes back to the agency for operational costs. The payment is not for a new license plate and the fee is not new. It’s part of the Motor Vehicle Assessment and Property Tax Law.
“The renewal fee is for the plate that you already have,” said McGahee. “The act started in 1996 and there were some revisions in 1997, 2003, 2017 and then 2018.”
While the extra fee is found on the county tax bills statewide, it is not a fee from your county, it goes back to the state. It’s included in the tax bill because it’s the most efficient way for the state to collect the money and get people registered properly.