A vehicle is registered for the “registration year,” which is the period of 12 consecutive months beginning on the first of the month following the month of the birth of the owner of the vehicle. A vehicle registered for the first time in the state will be registered for the remaining unexpired months of the registration year, and the registration fee will be prorated. The county treasurer may adjust the renewal and expiration date when deemed necessary for administrative efficiency.
A vehicle may be operated without registration plates for 45 days after the date of delivery from a dealer with a “registration applied for” card.
A vehicle’s registration card must be carried at all times in the vehicle.
Application for renewal of a vehicle registration may be made on or after the first day of the month prior to the expiration or registration and up to and including the last day of the month following the month of expiration of registration. The county treasurer will refuse to renew the registration if the treasurer knows that the applicant has a delinquent account, charge, fee, loan, taxes, or other indebtedness owed to or being collected by the state.
A vehicle owner who moves out of state can receive a refund on their registration fees by returning their vehicle plates and proving that they are registered in another state within 6 months of moving.
Delinquencies begin and penalties accrue the first of the month following the purchase of a new vehicle, and 30 days following the date a vehicle is brought into the state.
The owner of the vehicle must inform the county treasurer of the county where the vehicle is registered of a change of address, change of name, or change of fuel type within 10 days.
The registration fee is computed on the month of purchase of a new vehicle, except that the registration fee on a new vehicle acquired outside the state is based on the month that the vehicle was brought into Iowa.
The registration fee for a vehicle from another state or country becomes due in the month that the vehicle is sold or transferred to an Iowa resident or the month that a non-resident owner establishes Iowa residency or accepts employment of 90 days’ duration or longer.
If a vehicle is in storage and the registration is not delinquent, the owner may surrender the registration plates to the county treasurer and will not be obligated to register the vehicle while it remains in storage.