I-976 Changes to Vehicle Licensing Fees

What is I-976?

I-976 is an initiative that repeals or lowers certain vehicle registration fees and taxes. It’s commonly referred to as the $30 car tab initiative. 
When does the Initiative go into effect?

Most changes will go into effect December 5, 2019. See below table. Any potential changes to the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET), also known as the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) tax, are not yet effective. This tax goes towards Sound Transit projects.  
What vehicle fees are affected by I-976?

Effective December 5, the Initiative lowers or eliminates the following fees and taxes:

Vehicle fee New amount  Funds Benefit 
Vehicle weight fee (under 10,000 lbs.):

4,000 lbs. ($53) 
6,000 lbs. ($73) 
8,000 lbs. ($93) 
10,000 lbs. ($93) 

Lowered to $30 Motor Vehicle Account, Washington State Patrol (WSP) Highway Safety Account, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) ferries and transportation projects
Passenger weight fee ($25 - $72) Eliminated WSDOT transportation purposes and projects
Electric vehicle fee ($150) Lowered to $30 Motor Vehicle Account and electric vehicle infrastructure projects
Snowmobile registration ($50) Lowered to $30 Maintenance of snowmobile facilities, safety and education programs
Commercial trailer fee
Lowered to $30 Motor Vehicle Account, WSP Highway Safety, ferries and transportation projects
Motorhome weight fee ($75) Eliminated WSDOT transportation purposes and projects
Transportation Benefit District (TBD) fee ($20 - $80) Eliminated Transportation improvements proposed by the specific district
0.3% vehicle retail sales/use tax Eliminated WSDOT transportation purposes and projects


What fees will still be charged? (for vehicle registrations that expire on or after December 5)

The Initiative only affects vehicle licensing fees listed on table on page 1. The Initiative did not affect the following common fees:
$8 service fee: Funds are retained by the subagent who processed the transaction, or to fund state ferry replacements if renewed at a county auditor or at the DOL
$4.50 filing fee: Funds go to the county in which the fee is paid
$0.25 license plate technology fee: Funds are used to support technology used for licensing activities
$0.50 DOL license service fee: Funds are used to support the computer system and reimbursement of county licensing activities

For a more comprehensive list, please visit:

What happens if a lawsuit is filed?

One lawsuit has been filed and there may be others. We are working to understand the effects of this lawsuit and any injunctions that may be issued. DOL will proceed with implementing the Initiative unless directed by a court to do otherwise. DOL will keep staff and contractors informed as soon as we have more information.

How do I know what fees to pay?

Expiration before December 5: All current fees are effective until December 5. If your vehicle registration is due before December 5, please pay the amount listed on your renewal notice or check online at

Expiration on or after December 5: Updated fee amounts will not be available for online services or in office until December 5.

Can I wait to renew my tabs until after December 5 to save money?

Regardless of when customers renew their registration, the fees will remain the same for all vehicle registrations that expire before December 5, 2019.

If I already renewed for my tabs that expire on or after December 5, will I get a refund?

DOL is developing a refund process and will communicate with affected customers.

How do I get more information about I-976?

DOL will provide updates when new information is available.

See I-976 Fact Sheet Injunction

Last Updated: 08/24/2021 09:04 AM

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