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Registration Woes in California

Seasons Greetings Alfisti et al:

On Monday there was a post on the AD wherein the Digester was comtemplating
the purchase of a Peoples Republic of California (PRC) licensed car which had
not been registered in a number of years.  I faced this dilemma a some years
ago, during a forced four year return to the not-so-Golden State.  While
there, I purchased my Alfa Montreal, at the height of the market, from a
seller who had not registered the car for five years, nor had he filed the
required certificates of non-operation.  I was faced with sales tax of 8% on
the sales price, plus five years of back registation and penalties, plus the
current year's registration (based on the 2% of the sales price), plus the
cost and trouble of getting it to pass the smog test.

With no shame on my part, I loaded the Montreal up on my trailer, and took it
to Oregon (from whence I came):  no sales tax, no smog, no back registration,
no penalties, and only $15/year registration cost, paid every two years.  The
only comment I got from the DMV clerk in Klamath Falls was, "Gee, that sure is
a pretty red!"  He had no clue what he was looking at -- only that the
firewall VIN matched the old released (signed-off) California title from the
previous owner.  Keeping my old address and driver's license active in Oregon,
and getting registered at 4:50 pm on a Friday afternoon (planned, of course),
saved me in excess of $4,000!

Now I admit I was perhaps potentially guilty of a some *terrible* sin, and on
judgement day I will may have to pay the piper, but I was able to enjoy my car
without having to switch the license plates with my 69 GTV every time I wanted
to take it out (of course, what gendarme would check the car's VIN against the
paperwork, and would he know that Montreals weren't made in 69?)

I strongly suspected that I would soon return to Oregon (as indeed happened)
and that my out-of-state registrations would no longer be a concern.  I
successfully avoided smog inspections on my PRC-registered cars, as I kept
them registered in a far northern county which refuses to participate in the
state mandated smog program (namely at Mom & Dad's, in their name).  I bought
and sold cars through family members, exempting me of sales tax as well.  And
when the need presented itself, a *very* good bottle of scotch could get a car
to pass smog on title transfer...

To the prospective buyers of California cars not having current registration:
sell your car to family or a friend out of state, preferrably in a state that
has no sales tax, and inexpensive registration costs.  Have them register the
car there.  Once they have clear title, then buy the car back and bring it
into the PRC.  If the car is smog exempt, then all you pay is sales tax, title
transfer, and current registration (you may even beat the sales tax if the
seller is immediate family).  For newer, non-California cars, you may have to
pay the additional $300 smog fee.  All in all it should be cheaper than paying
all the ludicrous back registration fees and penalties the PRC expects.

After all, don't you just really want to give them your hard-earned money?


Portland, Oregon (where I now sleep in good conscience:  all my cars and
driver's license have the same address as I do...  Life here is indeed good!) 

And where my favourite view of California is in my rearview mirror...
(growing ever smaller)

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