Tabs or cats

Covid implies you don’t need to worry about new license tabs since dmv offices has reduced hours. For the last year? You can buy tabs online. Using your iPhone? I wonder why some cars have tabs from June-2020 and car in front of me has tabs from apr-22? They must not be lazy?
MN has month and year stickers on license plates.
No feline side topics please.

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What the Heck are Tabs ?

The little sticker you put on your license plate to show your registration is current.

I think a lot of people are using the covid excuse just to avoid paying for car registration.

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I have never heard of the stickers called Tabs . Our local Tag Agency has a drive through and inside they have the clear plastic guards for the employees and customers . The mail order is $1.50 extra .

Mr. Google seems to indicate the the term ‘Tabs’ is a regional thing .

Must be a west coast thing.

$1.50 is well worth it. When I lived in WA state, I never went to the DMV to renew a registration or transfer a title. I would go to a license agency in a strip mall and be in and out in 10 minutes. The $5.50 subagency fee they charged was also well worth it.

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I did see a 2019 plate recently. Whew

NH and MA have been doing registration by mail for years. Long before Covid. The DMV isn’t open right now, but the Town Clerk is open. You can register your vehicle there. Last year at the height of Covid they had drop boxes setup…It was a little slower, but worked out fine (at least in our town).

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I’m in MN too, and I’ve been renewing my plates online since long before COVID hit.

As to why you might see expired tabs, remember that the MNLARS debacle was still being fixed when everyone had to go home for COVID, so the registration system is still in a mess right now. Sometimes it takes a month or two to get your stickers.

I grew up in Wisconsin and never heard “tabs.” Now I live in Duluth, Minnesota (across any of 3 bridges from Superior, WI) and hear “tabs” - never license plates, or stickers - all the time. It still sounds weird and somehow unclear as to its meaning.

I agree with asemaster; some people are just trying to avoid the bill. Even before Covid I’ve been sitting at a traffic light and seen a fair number of people with expired tags.

In OK registering a car purchase must be done within 30 days. Over the years I’ve seen temp paper tags (both new and used cars) that were in some cases months past due. The registration and excise taxes are pretty high here but not doing it just piles on even more.

As for tabs, just a matter of nomenclature I guess. The state of OK calls them decals. I call them stickers.

Was behind car with expired tabs on plate at bumper location and new license plate with new tab in rear window. Wtf?

In Washington State the legal name is “Tabs” or “Emblems”

Per RCW 46.16A.200,
(12) Tabs or emblems. The director may issue tabs or emblems to be attached to license plates or elsewhere on the vehicle to signify initial registration and renewals. Renewals become effective when tabs or emblems have been issued and properly displayed.

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It’s like what do you call Soda. Is it Pop…Soda…Tonic…Soda Pop…Cola…All depends on where you live.


I’ve been registering my cars online for the 8 years I’ve lived in Florida. Our Tax Collectors (that’s what they call the DMV) have been open for quite some time but renewing registration doesn’t require that.

Online is quick and easy plus I can buy a 2 year reg if I want. I know if I do that, I’ll let it lapse. I’ve been conditioned to renewing registration yearly.

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For a very brief period in the late '80s-early '90s, NJ used renewal tags on our license plates.
Because we are a “two plate” state, you would receive two of those self-stick tags in the mail with your new registration certificate. This allowed others to assess the reasoning skill/intelligence of other drivers, depending on how they chose to apply those stickers.

At least a couple of times each day, you could see someone’s rear license plate with both of the identical tags on it, and–of course–the front plate without a tag. Duh!

However, the best one that I ever saw was the car where the owner had chosen to apply both of the identical tags on the outside the windshield, partially covering the inspection sticker.
Double duh!
The wipers had damaged the tags, but they were still readable.

After–maybe–4 years, NJ decided that we didn’t really need those renewal tags, and we have survived very nicely without them ever since.

In Missouri new license plates are issued every ten years and renewal stickers in between. The renewal can be for one or two years. For me it’s usually been easier to pay for two years at once, get the two year stickers, and not need to deal with it again for two years.

Last November I couldn’t do registration renewal by mail because MO determined my ten years was up and time to make me get new plates. I do not like my new plates because of the last three characters. The first three aren’t much better.

I will be spending the next ten years referring to these plates in ham radio phonetic alphabet because the last three characters are Pappa Four Utah. :roll_eyes:


We have drop box at our dmv. You fill out notice and they have a bank of lockers inside where you can open them. Kinda like Home Depot for online order/store delivery. Takes 3-5 days

Never called them anything but tabs. Stickers like animal stickers or temporary tattoos or something? Talked about in a different discussion but back in the 50’s or so when they first came out with keeping your plate for a few years instead of getting a new plate every year, they were actually embossed metal tags with a tab that fit into a slot in the license plate. Then they were secured with a bolt. Usually a stove bolt back then. So that might be where the term tabs came from. They actually had a tab that fit the slot. Took all the fun out of collecting license plates. In Minnesota anyway.

My former neighbor built our dmv office building. Has 20 tix counters. BIG space. Ironic I drop off form at door and there are 3 people inside office 20’ away. Is 60 day wait for appointment. They do paperwork in office and then put my tabs in locker outside door. How efficient.

In the early sixties, as I recall, MN had a metal tab for the expiration date. I know by the seventies they had switched to stickers.