Vehicle FAQ

Vehicle FAQ

Q. How do I register and title a motorcycle?
Follow the same procedures as with any motor vehicle.

Q. How do I register and title a boat?
Contact the Houston County Tax office. For education, general information and forms, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Q. How do I contact the Houston County Tax Office?
You may contact us in a variety of ways. You may e-mail us. You may telephone us at 936-544-3255, ext. 257. If you wish to correspond with our office, please address your letters to Laronica Wooten Smith Houston County Tax Assessor-Collector, PO Box 941, Crockett, TX 75835. Our office is located at 401 East Goliad Avenue Suite 101, Crockett, Texas

Q. Can I download forms that pertain to motor vehicle registration and titles?
Yes, the Texas Department of Transportation Vehicle Title and Registration Forms Page has many of the commonly used forms that can be downloaded. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer in order to view the documents. Link to Adobe on this page, and from there you can download Acrobat Reader.

Q. I am disabled and would like to obtain license plates with the international symbol of access. What should I do?
Texas law allows disabled residents to obtain either a) one set of plates with the international symbol of access plus one placard, or b) two placards. A placard may be displayed in any vehicle being used to transport the disabled person. If the vehicle does not have disabled-person license plates, the law requires that the placard be displayed on the rear-view mirror whenever the vehicle is parked in a disabled-person parking space. A disability statement form is available from the Houston County Tax office. The applicant’s physician must complete the form VTR-214. The physician’s signature must be notarized unless a separate written original prescription is submitted. Placards must be renewed every four years. There is an exchange fee of $0.50 for a set of disabled-person license plates, if the registration is current. Additional sets of disabled person plates may be obtained for vehicles specially equipped for operation by a person who has lost the use of one or both legs. For more information on disabled person placards and license plates, please see the Frequently Asked Questions About Disabled Person Placards/License Plates provided by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Q. What should I do if my license plates are damaged or stolen?
You can obtain replacement plates at the Houston County Tax Office. If your plates are damaged or you are only missing one plate, please turn in the remaining license plate(s) to the Tax Office for proper disposal and recycling. Please also bring with you your current registration receipt & the titled owners identification. You will be required to fill out a replacement affidavit, and there will be a $6.50 fee.

Q. How do I replace a windshield validation sticker?
You can obtain a replacement windshield validation sticker at the Houston County Tax Office. Please bring with you your current registration receipt &the titled owners identification. You will be required to fill out a replacement affidavit, and there will be a $6.50 fee.

Q. Is insurance required to purchase a one-trip or 30-day permit?
Yes, insurance must be on the vehicle the permit is for. Also, payment must be in cash, debit card, cashier’s check or money order.

Q. What does “Registration Purposes Only” mean? What are the circumstances for this type of transaction?
“Registration Purposes Only” means that the vehicle is registered, but not titled, in Texas. This type of ownership document may be requested when a vehicle that was registered or titled in another state is subject to registration in Texas but the owner or operator cannot or does not wish to surrender the negotiable out-of-state evidence of ownership in order to obtain a Texas negotiable title.

Q. How do I obtain personalized license plates or other special plates?
You may obtain an Application for Personalized License Plates by going online to There is a charge in addition to the regular registration fee. The amount charged for personalized and special plates varies according to the type ordered. In some cases, the applicant must meet eligibility requirements before applying for special plates. Follow the instructions on the forms. See the Special License Plates Listing for pictures of the specialty plates that are available in Texas. Some special plates are available at the Houston County Tax Office.

Vehicle Title Questions

Q. I lost my title. How do I get a duplicate?
Applicants for a Certified Copy of title may be the owner of record, lienholder, or verifiable agent of either. Whether the application is submitted by mail or walk-in, all applicants must provide:

  • A properly completed Application for Certified Copy of Title (Form VTR-34), which is available at all VTR Regional Offices, county tax assessor-collectors offices, and on VTR’s Fax on Demand at 1-888-232-7033.
  • The appropriate fee: $2.00 for mail-in applications and $5.45 for walk-in applications. (If mailed, the fee should be in the form of a check, cashier’s check, or money order made payable to the Texas Department of Transportation.) Please do not mail cash.
  • Photo ID (State or US-issued photo ID, such as Texas or other state driver’s license, government identification card, U.S. Passport, or military identification) of the person signing the Form VTR-34.
  • If mailing by overnight or express mail through a mail service which requires a physical address, mail to the VTR Regional Office nearest you, using the appropriate street address on the back of the Form VTR-34.
  • Verifiable Agent of Owner or Lienholder (Mail-in or Walk-in)

In addition to the requirements above, a verified agent of the owner or lienholder must also provide a letter of signature authority on original letterhead, or a business card, or copy of the agent’s employee ID.

If the Form VTR-34 is signed with a Power of Attorney (POA), the transaction must have, in addition to the requirements above:
Photo ID of recorded owner/lienholder signing the POA.
Photo ID of individual signing the Form VTR-34.

NOTE: Businesses given POA will also be required to provide a letter of signature authority on original letterhead, business card, or a copy of employee ID.

Q. I just bought/sold a car. How do I transfer the title?
The seller must write the purchaser’s name and address, the odometer reading and date of sale in the title assignment. Purchaser and seller must each sign both the title and the title application form (Form 130-U). Both signed documents must be given to the purchaser, along with the registration receipt. The purchaser must then go to the Houston County Tax Office location and file the title application. Proof of current insurance & identification will be required. If the vehicle was last registered in a non-affected (attainment) county, proof of emissions-testing will be required. Please see Emissions-testing regulations. The fee is $28, plus motor-vehicle sales tax (6.25 percent). There is also a $2.50 transfer of a current registration fee. If the license is not current, please have vehicle inspected prior to transfer (there may be a registration fee). When you purchase a vehicle from a licensed Texas dealer located in Houston County, the dealer is required to complete all the paperwork necessary to title and register the vehicle in your name. The dealer is also required to file the documents with the Houston County Tax Office within 45 days of the date you purchased the vehicle.

Q. I’ve bought a vehicle and I have liability insurance on another car. What document can I use to show proof of financial responsibility when I transfer title and registration?
The personal automobile policy for any other vehicle an individual owns provides 30-day coverage after an additional vehicle has been acquired. Therefore, a copy of the personal automobile insurance policy or the card issued for the policy is acceptable as proof of financial responsibility.

Q. I applied for a title and neither my lienholder nor I have received it yet.
Customers should receive their titles within three weeks from the date the application was filed. Contact the Houston County Tax Office and ask to have the record checked.

Q. Why does the state show a lien on my car if I paid it off?
This occurs if you have not advised the State of Texas that your lien has been satisfied. To remove the lien information, fill out a Title Application Form (130-U). Submit the application, title and a release of lien to the Houston County Tax Office. The fee for this service is $28.00. The State of Texas will mail a title to you that does not show a lien.

Q. What is required to correct an error in the odometer reading after the title has been issued?
A statement of fact will be required. This statement must address the discrepancy and must be acknowledged by both the seller and the buyer involved in the transaction in which the error was made.

Q. If my odometer reading is not available, what am I required to enter on the Odometer Disclosure Statement?
The Odometer Disclosure Statement should contain an explanation from the seller as to why a mileage reading is not available. If there is a reading of any sort displayed on the odometer, this reading must be disclosed, and an indication as to whether the mileage is actual, not actual, or exceeds mechanical limits must be made.

Q. I sold my vehicle several months ago, but the registration and title have not been changed to reflect the new owner’s name and address. I’m getting notices about parking tickets involving that vehicle and the registration renewal notice has also come to me. What can I do?
It is likely the new owner has not transferred title into his or her name. Contact the Houston County Tax Office or VTR Regional Office and fill out the Motor Vehicle Transfer Notification (Form VTR-346). Or write a letter to: Texas Department of Transportation, Vehicle Titles and Registration Division, Attention: Customer Information Services Branch, Austin, TX 78779-0001. Your letter must provide the vehicle description (year, make, vehicle identification number), date of sale, and purchaser’s name and address. Upon receipt of the form or letter, the State will place a notation on the motor vehicle record stating that the vehicle has been transferred.

Q. How do I sell a vehicle that is registered and titled in a former spouse’s or a deceased spouse’s name?
If the divorce decree awards the vehicle to you, provide the Houston County Tax Office with a certified copy of the decree and apply for title. If the decree does not award the vehicle to you, a properly assigned title will be required. In the case of a deceased spouse, the ownership will be determined based on whether there is a will, trust, etc. Contact the Houston County Tax Office or a VTR Regional Office for help.

Q. My title was issued incorrectly. What should I do?
Contact the Houston County Tax Office and we’ll help you resolve the problem.

Q. Can a certificate of title be issued to a vehicle which is displaying $5.30 Machinery License Plates?
No. Vehicles issued the $5.30 distinguishing Machinery License Plate cannot be titled under the Certificate of Title Act.

Q. How do I register and title a rebuilt/salvage vehicle?
For information about rebuilt and salvage vehicles, contact our office via e-mail or call us at 936-544-3255, ext. 257.

Q. How do I turn a Salvage Document into a blue negotiable Texas title?
If a salvaged vehicle for which a salvage document has been issued is repaired and placed in operable condition by a purchaser of such salvaged vehicle, the person or firm who purchased and repaired the vehicle (Texas licensed salvage dealers excepted) must apply for title and registration in their name. The following must support the application for title:

  • Salvage Document
  • Form 61- Rebuilt Affidavit
  • A $65 Rebuilt fee.
  • Vehicle Inspection Certificate
  • All out of state titled vehicles require a 68-A

If the vehicle for which the salvage certificate has been issued has a non-conforming USA VIN, proof of compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation safety regulations is required.
In any case when a negotiable title is issued and a Salvage Document is in evidence, the negotiable title will contain a notation to indicate that the vehicle was previously damaged. “Flood Damaged” will be shown, when applicable, or “Rebuilt Salvage” will be shown. These notations are carried permanently in the master title records and will appear on all subsequent titles.
Valid proof of financial responsibility, covering the described vehicle, in the applicant’s name.

Q. What information is required, and who is authorized to execute a Statement of Fact should one be required to correct an error on a title assignment?
The statement must certify to the correct information and must include a description of the vehicle identification number and the date the statement was executed. Only the seller is authorized to execute the Statement of Fact. However, if the Statement of Fact is required for the odometer disclosure portion of the assignment, in addition to the seller’s signature, the buyer must also acknowledge the statement.

Q. Why am I required to provide certain documentation to change a vehicle title to my name?
The title law protects ownership rights for more than 15 million vehicles in Texas. Therefore, the statutes require transfer of ownership by proper execution of certain ownership documents. When these specific documents are incomplete or unavailable, Texas statutes require that the applicant apply for a Tax Collector’s hearing or bonded title.

Q. What is a bonded title and what is it used for?
A bonded title is a notation on a title document, as well as on the motor vehicle records, which indicates that a Certificate of Title Surety Bond has been surrendered in support of the application for title. The bond is issued in the title applicant’s name, for a three-year period. The bond is required by statute in cases where proper ownership documents are unavailable. Purpose of a bonded title is to protect previous and future owners of the vehicle, as well as lienholders, from potential claims.

Q. How do I title a new manufactured trailer?

  • Manufactured Certificate of Origin (MCO)
  • Form 130-U Application for Texas Certificate of Title & identification

Q. How do I register a homemade / shopmade trailer?
You will need:

  • Please contact the Houston County Tax Office at 936-544-3255 ext. 257

Q. How do I title a homemade, shop made or out of state trailer?
You will need:

  • Please contact the Houston County Tax Office at 936-544-3255 ext. 257

Q. How much sales tax would I owe if I am gifted a vehicle?
The sales tax only on a gifted vehicle is $10.00.
Beginning September 1, 2009 a vehicle can only be gifted from one family member to another. (A family member is defined as a grandparent, grandchild, child, stepchild, sibling, guardian, or decedent estate.)

Q. Do I need any extra forms if I am gifted a vehicle?
Yes, a notarized statement between both interested parties must be completed explaining the nature of the transaction and the relationship between both parties. Form 14-317 is now available on the Texas Comptroller’s website

License/Registration Questions

Q. How do I renew my registration by mail?
Follow the instructions on the renewal notice. Send the renewal notice, registration fee and all requested information to the Houston County Tax Office. Include a photocopy of your current insurance card to show proof of financial responsibility. Please make your check payable to Laronica Wooten Smith TAC. Our mailing address is PO Box 941, Crockett, TX 75835.

Q. I registered my vehicle in August. So why does the registration expire in July?
A vehicle registration period is for 12 consecutive months or any portion thereof. Registration for vehicles registered during August will expire on July 31.

Q. Why does it cost less to register my new pickup truck than it does my older car?
State law makes the fee structure for passenger vehicles & trucks based on the empty weight of the vehicle and its net carrying capacity.

Q. Which types of vehicles may be used on the highway without having to be registered?
The following vehicles may be operated upon the highway without registration:

  • A farm trailer or farm semi-trailer used in farming operations that does not exceed 4,000 pounds gross weight & stays within the county
  • A farm tractor used in a farming operation and not “for hire” and
  • Implements of husbandry (those devices used to till the soil and harvest crops)

Q. I’m going out of town for vacation, and my registration will expire while I am gone. May I renew it in advance?
Yes. You can renew you registration up to two months prior to your expiration month.

Q. I just moved to Texas. How do I register my vehicle?
Before it can be registered, your vehicle must pass a State of Texas vehicle safety inspection and a visual verification of the vehicle identification number. These services are available at state-approved Safety Inspection Stations.
The inspection facility will provide you with a Vehicle Identification Certificate (Form VIC). You must submit this form to the Houston County Tax Office along with an Application for Texas Certificate of Title (Form 130-U) and an out-of-state title or out-of-state registration. A new resident fee of $90, or a sales tax fee of 6.25% of the vehicle’s purchase price will be charged. Title and registration fees are due at the time the application for title is made. You may do this in person at the County Tax Office or by mail. Proof of liability insurance & identification is required in Texas in order for these services to be provided (please read more info in next question).

Q. Will my proof of insurance from out-of-state be acceptable to cover a vehicle required to be registered in Texas? If so, should approval be based on the minimum amounts of coverage required in Texas?
Proof of liability insurance coverage from out-of-state insurance companies is acceptable. If you have out-of-state insurance, you will need to bring the policy when registering the vehicle. The policy must be for at least the minimum limits prescribed by Texas law. Insurance from a “no fault” State is not acceptable as proof of liability.

Q. For how long may a new Texas resident operate his or her vehicle in this state while displaying current out-of-state license plates?
He or she can operate the vehicle for a period of thirty days after establishing residence or entering gainful employment, after which time the vehicle must be registered in Texas.

Q. I have not received my registration renewal notice. What do I do?
Your vehicle registration can be renewed at the Houston County Tax Office by using your license receipt from the previous year, the title, inspection receipt or the license plate number along with proof of insurance and identification. The Houston County Tax Office is able to verify your registration, electronically, either by using your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or your license plate number. The Department of Transportation can also mail you another renewal notice, depending on the amount of time remaining before your registration expires. Just call the Houston County Tax Office 936-544-3255 and we’ll help you correct the problem.

Q. I moved to another location within Texas. How can I be sure that my registration renewal notice will get to me when the time comes?
Your mail will be forwarded if you filed a Change of Address Form with the U.S. Postal Service. However, the registration record will not be updated in the State’s system. Contact this office or one of the VTR Regional Offices and fill out the Notice of Address Change for Texas Motor Vehicle Registration (Form VTR-146). Or, write a letter to: Texas Department of Transportation, Vehicle Titles and Registration Division, Attention: Customer Information Services Branch, Austin, TX 78779-0001. They will take the information you have provided and update your vehicle registration record accordingly. You must provide the description of each vehicle you own. You may also call their Customer Help Desk at 512-465-7611, TDD 512-302-2110.

Q. I did not receive my renewal notice and my registration has expired. Why am I being forced to pay a 20% penalty?
The 20% penalty is required by law if a vehicle is driven on public highways with expired registration after the five-day grace period and you were issued a ticket by law enforcement.

Q. Can a vehicle be operated after its registration expires?
Yes. A vehicle may be operated for five days after its registration expires without penalty.

Q. What if I haven’t driven the vehicle since my registration expired. Do I still pay the 20% penalty?
You do not have to pay a penalty as long as you have not been ticketed for driving your vehicle with expired registration. You will pay for 12 months registration from the time you purchase your registration.

Q. What documents do I need to provide to renew my vehicle registration at the County Tax Office?

  • Registration Renewal Application Form 39A, Vehicle Inspection Certificate or vehicle information such as license plate number and Vehicle Identification Number
  • Proof Of Insurance & identification

Q. Can I send someone else to renew my vehicle registration?
Yes, please be sure that the person you assign bring the following documents:

  • Registration Renewal Application Form 39A, Vehicle Inspection Certificate or vehicle information such as license plate number and Vehicle Identification Number
  • Proof Of Insurance & the titled owners identification
  • Authorization Letter – Form MV-454. The form must be filled out completely

Q. Where do I get my driver’s license?

Contact the drivers license office at (936) 544-5917

Contact Information