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Texas Process for registration, title and taxes

I was surprised by a very quick notification and delivery of my S and I have NEVER had to do this myself with a new car(because TX dealerships handle it) so I thought I'd post in the main and TX sub-forum for others' benefits. Until you get these things done you are at risk of getting pulled over by cops at random. If you are like me testing the acceleration for friends you'll be getting pulled over for good cause and ending up with a bunch of secondary tickets.

1) Get your VIN# from Tesla
2) Get your insurance and insurance card sent to you before delivery or ASAP after. Mine came on a Sunday AM and I didn't have my insurance confirmed so I was not covered for a day.
3) Once your car is delivered, take the car, your TXDL and the insurance card to a trusted garage for inspection. Tell them you need an "out of state" registration form in addition to the inspection receipt, report, and sticker.
4) Go to your local county tax assessor office with your insurance card, inspection report, receipt, and out of state registration form. Get your 30-day temp license and registration paper. Now, the person I spoke to at the office said the out of state form wasn't needed for a new car, but they had no information on Tesla and the VIN# wasn't in their system either so better safe than sorry.
5) Await the title from Tesla, go back up to the county tax office. Make any adjustments for lien holders and owners needed at the tax office and get your registration sticker. And of course bring a giant wallet to pay the taxes ;)

@sandman Thanks for putting this together. I expect delivery today so I'll need to follow the process very soon.

Congratulations eltonf!!! Hope you enjoy it as much as I have so far. The process has been a little chaotic and rushed but the car is so much fun to drive I don't care. Watch out for hail today. Heard one weather report that said small chance so I left mine at home.

Wow, I just pulled up the forums specifically to search for this process, as I'm getting mine delivered tomorrow (Austin) and the FedEx they sent me just had California docs. For some reason I thought you needed a Certificate of Origin in order to get even the temporary tags.

Thank you, sandman!

rc_Austin, please update on whether you need the Certificate, etc.!

What did the taxes amount to? Getting my delivery in April.

This is excellent!! I'm expecting delivery at the end of the month, and this answers so many questions!! Kudos, sandman!

In Texas - 6.25% of total cost on MVPA.

There is also information over on the Tesla Motor Club forums. See the Texas registration issues" thread.

Thanks a lot, txjak for that link. Very helpful. The money keeps adding up! :-( I am hoping we can influence the lawmakers into providing more incentives for us in TX...we seem to be getting a raw deal as compared to CA.

@Psycho....not considering their state income taxes!

Not when you consider property taxes!!!

I just posted this on TMC, but wanted to make it available here as well:

So I was told I could use the California registration paperwork to register the car and was going to give it a try today when the MCO showed up (I had asked several times about an ETA so I could avoid 2 trips to the DMV but got no firm date until it just appeared). I took everything to the tax office and they only wanted the MCO. But on the back of the MCO the car was first listed as transferred from Tesla to Tesla with odometer listed at 10mi (almost like from a factory to a dealer), then secondly to me (odometer of 95mi). Well - she refused to register the car unless there was a date listed for the day it was transferred from Tesla to Tesla. So I called my DS and got no answer ans since I had just waited 30min in line, I just guessed a date around when it should have been completed in the factory. She then happily took my $5600 and gave me my plates. She never looked at the California paperwork. I would also add to the list of things to bring: the lien holder paperwork if you have a loan as this is supposed to be on the title application.

Got it inspected afterward – no problem – the guy even asked me to drive it for him because he was unsure he could do it. All the employees were crowding around looking at the dash in awe.

Didn’t put the front plate on yet and the inspector didn’t say a word.

Glad to have all that done – it was a stressful few days. It’s an amazing car and all worth it.

@mark, I'm in that category of rushed cars delivered at the completed at the end of the year so quite interestingly I received the car w/o having paid for it. No paperwork was giving to me at all.

Thanks for the additional details of what to do when the MCO and title show up. The folks at the County Tax office only mentioned the title to me.

@txjax, thanks for the TMC link. Guess I need to start heading over there to browse as well.

@sandman Your instructions worked out great for me today. Thanks again for putting this together. One thing to add is remind people to being $25 cash or a check. I waited in line for about 45 minutes, went through the song and dance about temporary tags, then when it came time to pay I realized I only had $7 in my wallet. I had to leave and go to an ATM. Luckily the guy was nice and let me come straight back to him when I got back with cash.

I also received MCO unexpectedly today after getting my temp tags. I'll head right back to the DMV tomorrow to make that painful tax payment and register the car.

Even though I live in Dallas, I'll be taking delivery north of Dallas in Denton. Now, it would be awesome if I could take care of all this stuff in Denton, but I'm not sure if any of these steps require me to do the business in Dallas County since I live there.

Does anyone know if it's possible to take care of all this post-delivery business in a city outside of the one in which I reside?

Ok, dumb question ... does the Title come from TX, or from Tesla? Initially I thought you had to return the California Reg paperwork to Tesla in order to get the Title, from them. But I just re-read it, and it says that by returning that paperwork, you'll get the MCO, which they already sent me.

I already registered w/the Tax Assessor and paid the 6.25%, and as I left, the lady said "the title will be sent to the Lienholder".

@rc_austin I think your basically done. I was confused by the California DMV tags as well. I'm guessing the lien holder is the true car owner until you pay off the loan. Hopefully someone with more insight will clarify.

I've heard that as well. I believe the lien holder is the true owner until the car is paid off.

Updated per feedback...

NOTE: This is if you DO NOT already have your MCO(Mfg Certificate of Origin) and need to get temporary plates:
1) Get your VIN# from Tesla
2) Get your insurance and insurance card sent to you before delivery or ASAP after.
3) Once your car is delivered, take the car, your TXDL and the insurance card to a trusted garage for inspection. Tell them you need an "out of state" registration form in addition to the inspection receipt, report, and sticker.
4) Go to your local county tax assessor office with your insurance card, inspection report, receipt, and out of state registration form and at least $25 in cash. Get your 30-day temp license and registration paper. Now, the person I spoke to at the office said the out of state form wasn't needed for a new car, but they had no information on Tesla and the VIN# wasn't in their system either so better safe than sorry.
5) Await the Certificate of Origin from Tesla, go back up to the county tax office. Make any adjustments for lien holders and owners needed at the tax office and get your registration sticker. And of course bring a giant wallet to pay the taxes ;)

@Brad Holt, regarding your question of where you live vs. where you will take delivery. The inspection can be done anywhere in Texas as that is a statewide thing. I believe you must do the registration and TAXES in the county you reside. I put TAXES in caps because that's what they really care about.

At the tax office I was asked by each person I talked to if I still lived at the address on my TXDL. Here is a link to the locations:
http://www.dallascounty.org/department/tax/locations.html

This is the most painful part of my Tesla experience!!! I ordered special plates online, and it took about a month for the downtown office to receive them, and I've been to one of the other facilities 5 times trying to get all of the paperwork together, and the paper plates, plus thinking the plates would finally arrive there. They are finally in the right place to be picked up, and I need to go for a 6th time, where I will pay a huge amount of sales tax and finally get the plates. I'm wondering when we will know when the front plate issue will be established again this year, since it wasn't required last year...?

Regardless, the Manufacturer's Certificate, plus proof of insurance, the bill of sale, plus the application for title form listing the lienholder, if applicable, and you should be good to go...and your driver's license. You can go to any courthouse/DMV in your County...but if you ordered special plates they will go to the main location and can be transferred to a different location.

This thread is AWESOME. That is all.

regarding front plate laws, here is a petition you can sign online. I have no idea what is being done with this petition...

http://www.petitiononline.com/txplate/petition.html

As for the future, I'm not sure what will happen. I've never had my front license plates on except for my truck and that plate probably enhanced airflow and looks of the truck ;) I've left them off since 1996 and never had much of an issue. Once I got a ticket for it, put the plates on, took it up to the DMV, got it dismissed, went home and took them off. Even if they change the law to include punishment I probably won't comply unless it becomes a real hassle. Cops in major metro areas have a lot better things to do than hand out tickets for stupid things like this unless you are driving dangerously and they need a reason to pull you over. Don't drive drunk, don't speed around others or drive recklessly and I think we'll be fine.

Just to close on my experience, after the temp plate process all they wanted was MCO and the bill of sale which was one of the pages you initialized in the agreement with all of the pricing. Just as Mark indicated.

Funny story, Tesla type-o'd the purchase date on my MVPA to 1/31/2012 and I never noticed. That raised some eyebrows at the tax office. I had to sign an affidavit stating I purchased on 12/31/2012.

My experience was torture...I won't go into all the details, but suffice it to say I ended up with a 5% sales tax penalty because of all the problems I had...which was more than $300.00. Just so disgusted...

FYI - went to one of the EZ Tag stores in Houston this morning to get the tag for my Model S, which might arrive on Monday.

I asked to get the license plate tag (which hooks onto the bottom two screws of the front license plate).

Since their database doesn't include Tesla Model S as one of the vehicles that has problems with windshield tags, it took a little discussion with the person at the counter and her supervisor, before they agreed to give me the license plate tag.

Those tags are in tight supply - was told they only had one left after I got mine.

Here's a copy of the process I posted over on the Tesla Motors Club site.

Updated Texas Delivery & Registration Process without a DS

Here's the (final?) updated process following the "finalize" step for Texas delivery without a Delivery Specialist:

  1. Tesla contacts you with VIN and shipment date, advises of balance due.
  2. You pay the balance due. (See Note 1, below.)
  3. As much as a week or two prior to shipment, Tesla sends you some California paperwork to sign.
  4. You return it to Tesla
  5. Prior to shipment (hopefully), Tesla sends you the Certificate of Origin, Texas Application for Title and other paperwork. (If not, see Note 2, below.)
  6. You file the Application for Title with your County Tax Office, pay the sales tax, show proof of insurance and get your registration sticker and license plates (temp or otherwise). (See Note 3, below.)
  7. Your vehicle is delivered. You attach license plate(s) and go get a state inspection.
  8. You receive your Texas Title in the mail sometime later.

Notes

  1. I suggest that before you send the final payment you talk to someone and verify these steps. (Save their phone number.)
  2. If you get the car before you get the Texas paperwork to register it, you can get temporary tags at the DMV for $25 to allow you to drive the car for up to 30 days.
  3. If you have financing, fill in the lienholder information on the Title Application, if you have been instructed to do so by your lender, or bring the lender's paperwork with you.

It is possible to edit posts over there so here's a link to the original.

FYI, I didn't have to do Step 4. I just spoke with my Tesla contact and made sure he sent me the TX-specific paperwork. He sent the CA stuff first and the TX stuff arrived the next day. CA stuff seems to be completely unnecessary in TX.

I checked with my PS and he said "We do need you to sign and return these forms. We need them because the sale is processed in CA and we have to file them, even though you’re registering your car in TX."

I think, however that they may now be sending both the CA and TX forms in the same package. Once I get mine, I'll update the process.

My delivery was just as txjak outlined. I received my plates from the assessors office the same day about a week before my car arrived. Delivered on 22 Jan. currently waiting for the title. The assessors office staff were very nice and accommodating. The manager did stop by to see a picture of the car (I had my trusty iPad on me) - 45 min wait in line.


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