License plates in Colorado belong to the owner and do not transfer to a buyer upon the sale of a vehicle. The following information is a brief explanation of what is required to register a vehicle.

License plates are purchased in the Vehicle Licensing office during normal business hours Monday through Friday.

When a vehicle is purchased, there are two choices for licensing.

  1. Buy new plates. Current plate options are available here
  2. Transfer Colorado plates which were on a vehicle previously owned and has been sold, or are no longer driving. If you choose to transfer plates from another vehicle:
    1. Bring the ownership tax receipt or registration from the vehicle you are transferring the plates from
    2. Bring the license plates from the old vehicle when you are changing vehicle types in your plate transfer. For example, if you are transferring plates from a car to a new pickup truck or trailer, new plates will be required.

Please note: License plates can be transferred only when the names indicating ownership are the same on the old and the new vehicle. There are several exceptions to this rule, so if you have questions, please contact our office at (970) 498-7878.

  • Upon registration a set of two license plates and two tabs will be issued to be placed on the rear license plate.
  • One tab, which indicates the month of expiration, should be placed in the lower left corner of the rear plate.
  • The second tab, which indicates the year of expiration, should be placed in the lower right corner of the rear plate.

License plates are issued in numerical sequence and requests for a specific number cannot be honored

License plate renewal can be done one month before the month indicated by your license tab, during the month indicated by your license tab or one month after your expiration month. For example, tabs indicating an expiration of July may be renewed during June, July, or August.

Proof of insurance is required before our office can register any passenger car, motor home, bus, or motorcycle. See insurance requirements.

Sales Tax - If the vehicle is purchased from a Colorado dealer, the dealer will collect state sales tax and, in some instances, the dealer will also collect city tax. If you purchase a vehicle from a private party, the sales tax will be collected by our office. See sales tax information.

A notarized bill of sale will be required to verify the purchase price unless there is a place on the title for the purchase price.

Title fee of $7.20 is collected when the title is transferred.

Emissions tests are required on vehicles registered within designated areas of Larimer County. When a vehicle is registered outside an Emissions area and commutes to the Emissions area for employment or to attend school, an emissions test is required. Please see the Air Care Colorado website for information.

Registration fees of license plates or registration are determined by several factors:

  • Weight of the vehicle
  • Date of purchase
  • Taxable value
  • Whether or not sales tax will be due
  • Whether or not the title fee has been paid
  • Heavy trucks are calculated on the miles traveled and the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)
  • An Estimator  is available to determine applicable registration fees

If plates are transferred you will be credited for the license fee paid previously. The credit is prorated by the amount of time remaining on the existing registration.

late fee of $25 per month up to $100 is required on expired registrations, new purchases not registered after 60 days of purchase date, and vehicles registered 90 days after residency is established.