Penalties (CVC §§9552-9554.5 and 9561 and R&TC §10854)

  • A late penalty is assessed whenever fees are due and not paid as required.
  • The penalty is assessed at a rate based on the extent of the delinquency.


A penalty is not assessed in the following situations:

  • When the fees for an application for original California registration are paid within 20 days of the date fees become due.
  • When a California dealer or lessor-retailer submits the fees and application for registration or transfer of a used vehicle within 30 days from the date of sale. (CVC §9553c,1)
  • Vehicles and vehicles where the registration expires while in the dealer inventory.
  • When a transferee acquires a vehicle and the registration subsequently expires, and the transferee pays the renewal fees within 20 days from the transfer date.
  • When a legal owner or its agent repossesses a vehicle and all renewal fees due are paid within 60 days of the repossession date.
  • When a repossessed vehicle is sold through a motor vehicle auction dealer and all renewal fees due are paid within 60 days of sale at auction.
  • When a garage or storage facility keeper establishes a lien against a vehicle and the registration expires while in the garage/storage facility keeper’s possession.
  • When a Certificate of Non-Operation (REG 102) is acceptable and renewal fees are paid on or before the date of first operation of the vehicle.
  • When the registration expiration date or the last penalty-free date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or state holiday, and the fees are paid on the next business day.