The Basics Pt 2

Registration of a vehicle is the process of listing your vehicle and its identifying characteristics, color, make, and model (ex: Blue Honda Civic LX) as well as year, with the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Motor Vehicles, as well as your county taxing authority. Residents of other states must also register their vehicles, and if their vehicle is housed in Virginia, they are required by law to register their vehicle in the Commonwealth as well.

A very important part of your registration is a special number called a “VIN” – vehicle identification number. The VIN number appears in several places on the vehicle itself and in the identifying paperwork. It is usually 15-17 characters in length, composed of combinations of numbers and letters each with special identifying significance, and is etched into the dashboard right where it meets the windshield on the driver’s side.

What is the purpose for registration? It lets the Commonwealth know what vehicles are driving on Virginia roadways, how they might be identified, and where they are located in case of legal necessity, such as determining liability. Vehicle owners are also assessed a tax in Virginia, called a personal property tax, and registration helps to determine that taxable amount. The tax is based on the type of vehicle, its age and use (if used only on farms, the tax may be less, for example) and if it has certain features installed. Registration also helps local authorities and police in case of commission of a crime involving the vehicle or as a way to identify the owner who may have been victimized.

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