Alabama's mandatory liability insurance law becomes effective January 1, 2013.

*** Mr. Robertson would like to remind each registered owner to bring in a valid driver's license or state issued ID card along with proof of insurance that includes the NAIC number, the insured's policy number, and the policy coverage dates.  

Tag Registration:

When purchasing or leasing a new or used vehicle, the new owner must register the vehicle within twenty (20) days at the Commissioner of Licenses office.  If the vehicle is acquired from a licensed Alabama dealer, then the dealer should apply for theAlabama certificate of title.  It is the owner's responsibility to register the vehicle in his/her home county within twenty (20) calendar days. 

The minimum registration requirements are as follows:

  • Valid driver's license or State Issued ID (with few exceptions of form of identification) for EACH REGISTERED OWNER, pursuant to Section 32-7A-17, Code of Alabama 1975.
  • Title document (see titles page) or Title Application issued by a designated agent of the State of Alabama.
  • Bill of Sale showing proof of sales tax, purchase price and date of vehicle, and/or trade information.  Bill of sale must list vehicle by description and vin.  A bill of sale from dealership must show the dealer's address and the breakdown of proper sales tax collection.
  • Proof of Alabama insurance.  Out-of-state policies will not be accepted for Alabama licensing purposes. Certain military polices, such as USAA, must confirm before being accepted. (Please see MLI section on this page for more information.)

Tag Renewals:

Your Alabama motor vehicle license plate/decal must be renewed annually. Renewal reminders will be mailed to the last known address as a courtesy at the beginning of the scheduled renewal month.  If you have changed your address since your last renewal or vehicle purchase, please notify the License Commissioner's office at (256) 241-2900 or email
  • It is the owner's responsibility to renew his/her tag/decal during the correct renewal month even if you do not receive a renewal reminder in the mail. The first letter of your last name determines the month in which your renewal is due. (See chart below.)
All tag renewals may be processed at the Calhoun County Administration Building, Piedmont Annex,  the Alexandria Community Center, or by mail.  In addition, you may now renew your tag online if you want to save a trip to the administration building,  click here


If you are renewing your tag in person, it is best to come to the administration building between the 10th and the 25th of the month, in order to avoid waiting time.

The amount you pay to renew your tag is a combination of your ad valorem tax assessment and a license fee. Ad valorem taxes are determined by multiplying the state-assigned value of your vehicle by the assessment rate (based on the classification of the vehicle), then multiplying the assessed value by the millage rate determined by your address.  Effective, January 1, 2000, all ad valorem taxes are collected at the time of registration. 

Please note:  A mail fee of $2.00 is charged for each tag renewal processed through the mail.



October 1, 2008 - You can now renew your car tag,
boat license, manufactured home & business license online. 


Calhoun County is one of several counties in the State of Alabama that offers on-line services.  


IMS Enterprises

Through the renewal site, customers may renew their tags, business licenses (in the month of October), boat registrations, and manufactured home decals (during the months of October and November only).   **The fee is $5.00 or 3% of your total, whichever is greater when renewing with a debit or credit card online.  This fee is not paid to Calhoun County but to the processing entity, IMS ENTERPRISES.  Upon completion of your renewal, you will receive a confirmation number and a printed receipt. (Your printed receipt is not considered a legal document for law enforcement purposes). Please record the confirmation number, print and retain the receipt until you receive your actual registration or sticker.  If you have any difficulty you may contact IMS Enterprises at 256-275- 4042 for telephone assistance or e-mail at

Click Here to Renew

Calhoun Tags App
In addition to the IMS website, the Calhoun Tags App  is available on iOS and Android smartphones. This method, like the renewal website,  provides a fast and efficient way to renew your tag without having to come to the administration building. You can even sign up for push, text, or email notifications to remind when you are up for renewal. Simply go to the Apple App or the Google Play store to download it to your smartphone at no cost.  (See the link on our home page.)

Online registration questions can be directed to
Please Note:
If an address change is required with your tag renewal, you may still renew your tag via an online transaction, provided that your new address remains in Calhoun County.

Tag Renewal Information 
Once a vehicle is registered in your name, it is necessary to renew the registration each year according to the renewal schedule listed below:

Renewal Month First Letter of Last Name
January A and D
February B
March C and E
April F,G, and N
May H and O
June M and I
July P and L
August J, K, and R
September Q, S, and T
October U, V, W, X, Y, and Z
October/November National Guard
October/November Trucks, Commercial & Fleet

**All vehicles in Alabama are personal property.  Property tax is paid in advance from the time of registration until your renewal month.


To renew your registration you must show:
1.   a previous tag receipt in your name or a renewal card, which has been mailed to you as a courtesy by the License Commissioner's Office.  Even if you do not receive a courtesy notice, it is your responsibility to renew your tag before the expiration date.

        Note:  Please notice the decal on your license plate.  If the month on your plate has passed, your tag is expired.  Example - if your plate shows August, the renewal must be made prior to September 1st.  For more information, contact the Commissioner of License Office at 256-241-2900 or you may also email

2.  Each registered owner or co-owner should also bring their valid Alabama driver license or photocopy to comply with Act 2011-688 related to Madatory Liability Insurance compliance.

3.  Proof of insurance will be required by evidence that includes the provider's NAIC number, policy number, and current effective dates.

Mandatory Liability Insurance (OIVS)

Minimum liability insurance is required on all self-propelled motor vehicles.  Beginning January 1, 2013, license plate issuing officials will attempt to verify liability insurance utilizing the State of Alabama Online Insurance Verification System, which will allow license plate issuing officials to immediately verify the insurance status of a vehicle at any point in time.

If insurance cannot be verified through the system, vehicle owners must provide evidence of insurance to the license plate issuing official.  To be acceptable, the proof of insurance must display the current effective date, insurer's NAIC number, vehicle identification number, and policy number.

Proof of insurance is required at EACH registration and renewal.

Alabama Department of Revenue runs digital verification of VIN numbers monthly and sends correspondence to registrants for insurance verification, when verification is not automatic.  Failure to provide insurance M.  It is important for registrants to return all correspondence replies as soon as possible to the Alabama Department of Revenue. Fines and penalties, once accrued, may be paid at the Calhoun County Commissioner of License Office at all locations. 

Transfers:  Effective January 1, 1998 the plate no longer goes with the vehicle.  In the past, certain distinctive and personalized vehicle plates were transferred from vehicle to vehicle if the owner acquired a different vehicle or, in some cases, if the owner wanted to put the plate on another vehicle he or she owned. By statute of law, an owner who trades vehicles must remove the license plates from the previously owned vehicle. Also, if a vehicle is sold or disposed of otherwise, the owner is required to remove the plate. If the owner sells his/her vehicle, or if it is totally destroyed or junked, he/she may transfer the plate to a vehicle of the same classification already owned and not currently licensed, or to a vehicle of the same classification or higher classification acquired later in the license year. There are certain limitations, however, the owner may not transfer the plate to another vehicle he or she owns unless the licensed vehicle has changed ownership. 

In the event an owner trades vehicles, the transfer of the plate is the transfer of registration only. This means that an owner must pay the ad valorem tax that is due on the newly acquired vehicle at the time the tag is transferred. 

Ad valorem tax
is a property tax based on the market value of property in Alabama on October 1.  Ad valorem tax on vehicles is authorized under Section 40-12-253, Code of Alabama 1975. An ad valorem tax lien attaches to a vehicle when it is first brought into the state by a new resident, or when it is originally sold by a new vehicle dealer. Property tax is an ownership tax and not a usage tax. The tax lien accumulates whether the vehicle is operated on the highway or remains off the highway.

When an Alabama resident buys  a vehicle with an outstanding property tax lien, then the buyer must:
1. Pay all property tax that has accrued on the purchased vehicle since it was last registered and any interet and penalties on taxes that are deliquent.
       2.  Transfer the buyer's current plate to the replacement vehicle or purchase a new plate for the vehicle within twenty (20) calendar days of acquisition.
       3.  Inquire about a property tax credit voucher if a vehicle is sold or transeferred prior to the owner's renewal month.

  • You must keep either an original tag registration (tag receipt) or a same-sized facsimile in your vehicle at all times. You may be asked to present this form to law enforcement officers at any time. Please note that your tag registration is not your vehicle title. We do not recommend that you keep your original title in your vehicle under any circumstances.

**For general vehicle renewal/ registration questions, please call 256 241 2900 or email


Distinctive and Specialty Plates 


 Annual Collegiate
Military Generic
Specialty Standard Passenger PlateStandard

General Information:
Personalized tags may be ordered for most private passenger and commercial vehicles, and some motorcycles and recreational vehicles. The combination of letters/numbers requested must not conflict with the regular number system and is subject to State of Alabama Revenue Department approval.

The number of characters allowed on a plate ranges from 5 - 7, spaces included. No symbols are acceptable. Our office will provide you with a registration receipt and a 60-day temporary tag. After the plate is manufactured, it will be mailed to your address in four to six weeks.

Picking your design and lettering can be time consuming. You can save time by visiting the Alabama Department of Revenue website at
 to see if your choice is available. There is no cost to reserve a license plate. Once approved, the reservation will be valid for five business days.

Some of the military and distinctive plates require certification. Please use the following link that to connect to the Alabama Department of Revenue for more information about these tags:


For a complete listing of fees for specialty tags and standard plates, especially those used for large trucks and recreational vehicles, please click the following link to the Alabama Department of  Revenue Fee Schedule.

The fee for obtaining most specialty tags is $50.00. This fee is a tax deductible donation made to the organization you are supporting at the time you purchase the specialty plate.  Personalization of your specialty plate is free at the time of purchase of the plate. The $50.00 fee is annual, due at every renewal of the specialty plate.

The Helping Schools tag design is available for a $15.00 donation that will be made to the Calhoun County public school of your choosing.  Personalization of the Helping Schools plate is free at the time of purchase of the plate. 


Mandatory Liability Insurance 

Beginning June 1, 2000, "No person shall operate, register or maintain registration of a motor vehicle unless the motor vehicle is covered by a liability insurance policy, bond, or deposit of cash." 
Section 32-7A-4, Code of Alabama, 1975.

This requirement affects automobiles, pickups, trucks, motorcycles, motor homes, and other self-propelled vehicles.  (Registrants must provide proof that they are in compliance with the MLI requirements when applying for new registration or renewals).
The Alabama Department of Revenue may, at random, contact you to verify compliance with the Mandatory Liability Insurance law (Section 32-7A-4 CODE OF ALABAMA).  If contacted, you will be asked to complete a survey showing proof of insurance coverage. Failure to provide proof of coverage may result in suspension of your license plate. 
If you have questions about a Mandatory Liability Insurance survey that you have received, you may contact the Mandatory Liability Insurance Department at the Alabama Department of Revenue at 334-242-9000 (Option 2). You may also visit Alabama Department of Revenue's website for more information by clicking ADOR.

For further information regarding suspended or revoked registrations, you may contact the Calhoun County Commissioner of License Office at 256-241-2900.
Heavy Trucks and Motor Homes

All trucks, including pickup trucks and motor homes, are registered based on combined gross weight.  Thus, in registering a truck the owner should declare the gross weight of the vehicle on the tag/tax receipt based on:

  • The weight of the truck with maximum load, including full tank of fuel, the weight of passengers, tools, etc., plus
  • The weight of the heaviest load to be towed if, for example, the truck is used to tow a utility trailer, the truck must be registered based on the weight of the truck, passengers, cargo in the truck, the weight of the trailer, and the weight of the load carried if the vehicle is used commercially.

Act 2004-520, effective January 1, 2005, creates two new weight classes for trucks, an 8,001 to 10,000 pound category and a 10,000 to 12,000.  Many owners of pickups may need to register their trucks in the new 8,001-10,000 pound category.*

*Act 2006-356, effective July 1, 2006, states that a registrant who is operating a pickup truck with 2 axles and a GVW of 12,000 lbs or less and is operating the vehicle exclusively for personal or agricultural use, may register the vehicle at the empty weight of the pickup. The weight of any permanent, attached equipment and accessories such as toolboxes or winches is included in determining the actual weight of the vehicle.