Those “Tag Applied For” signs on the back of cars don’t hold much weight with cops anymore. Due to the passage of House Bill 1005 during the 2010 legislative session, all vehicles purchased in Georgia from any source other than a registered car dealer must be titled and registered within seven business days from the date of purchase.

This new law replaces the former 30-day registration period.

This will affect all casual sales between individuals and businesses. Dealer vehicle sales will continue to issue 30-day drive-out tags to customers as they have in the past.

If a purchaser of a vehicle cannot acquire the title within seven days, the purchaser must visit the Madison County tag office and register the vehicle. The requirements for this registration are a bill of sale, current registration from the previous owner, driver’s license and proof of insurance.

The customer will then be issued a temporary operating permit good for 30 days from the purchase. Once the title is obtained, the purchaser will bring the title to the tag office, transfer the title and obtain a metal license plate. The purchaser may obtain one additional 30-day temporary permit if necessary.

The primary purpose of this legislation is to eliminate the often seen handwritten “Tag Applied For” signs. These signs are often seen on the roads and are an indication that someone has recently purchased a vehicle but for some reason hasn’t been able to properly title and tag the vehicle.

The only method to legally drive a newly-purchased vehicle now is to have either a dealer-issued 30-day drive-out tag or a temporary operating permit from the county tag office. From now on, having a sign in the back of the window stating “Tag Applied For” will be an open invitation for law enforcement to pull the driver over and write him or her a ticket.

If a person is unable to obtain a title within 60 days from the date of purchase, the vehicle cannot legally be driven on the road. The penalty is a misdemeanor in Georgia.

The new law went into effect Jan. 1. For more information call the Madison County tax commissioner’s office at 706-795-6385.

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