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Q&A: State of Montana Vehicle Registration

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

1. What is required to register a vehicle in Montana?

Vehicle registration in Montana can be done for an existing vehicle you own (a transfer) or for a new/used vehicle you have just purchased. You can register luxury cars, boats and other watercraft, RVs, ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, trailers, trucks, and antique and classic cars.

woman with montana drivers license

First, you’ll need a title or Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (also called Statement of Origin, or an MCO) proving ownership of the vehicle. Second, you’ll need to provide proof of Montana residency. If you are not a Montana resident, you can set up Montana limited liability company (LLC) which can purchase and register vehicles in the state. An LLC is a standalone business entity that can be set up for any lawful purpose. It offers some protections from personal liability.

In order to form an LLC in Montana, you need to designate a registered agent. MT Vehicles can help you by:

  1. Assisting with and filing paperwork to form an LLC

  2. Acting as your required registered agent for your LLC

  3. Providing the required physical Montana address for your LLC

  4. Forwarding your mail associated with your LLC and your vehicle registration

Once your Montana LLC is set up, you can register vehicles under your LLC’s name. On your vehicle title or MCO, in the place where the owner is listed, you’ll put your LLC information (not your individual name).

2. How do I get a Montana license plate?

LLCTLC can register your vehicle under your Montana LLC as soon as you provide the necessary documents, including either the signed Montana vehicle title application or the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO). Montana doesn’t require vehicle inspections and you won’t even have to bring your vehicle in-state for the registration process. Once all your paperwork is submitted, you should expect your plates and registration within approximately three weeks.

3. How much will my vehicle registration cost in Montana?

Montana doesn’t charge a property tax on vehicle registration and has zero sales tax for vehicles, which can be a huge savings, but there are some other costs for vehicle registration. If you choose LLCTLC for your Montana LLC filing, you can choose a package to include a flat fee covering the cost of vehicle registration, LLC filing, and RA services (filling out and filing paperwork & using our MT office address on your filing papers). This makes it simple and hassle-free to start an LLC and register your vehicle in Montana.

4 – How do you renew vehicle registration online?

In Montana, you don’t have to renew vehicle registrations in-person, as Montana does not have annual vehicle inspection or smogging requirements. Renewing your Montana vehicle registration can be easily done online.

Using LLCTLC for your Montana LLC’s registered agent and utilizing our vehicle registration package and keeping your address updated with our office, we can help you make sure you don’t miss your annual vehicle registration. The county office where the vehicle is registered will send a postcard to notify us the renewal is due. We can forward this to you and you can complete the renewal online or through the mail. If you have a permanent registration, you won’t have to renew annually.

It’s also important to keep your Montana LLC in good standing in order to annually renew your vehicle, which we can take care of for you each January.

5. Is there a grace period for expired tags in Montana?

department of motor vehicles

You must renew your license plates during the month shown on your license plate tags, which will be the month that precedes your registration anniversary. For example, if you initially registered your tags in the month of June, you will need to renew your registration in May of the following year. There is a grace period for expired tags between the 1st and 25th days of the anniversary registration month.

6. How to make a Montana vehicle registration appointment?

If you’re ready to register a vehicle and Montana and want to get started on the steps to form a Montana LLC and register your vehicle, contact us today!


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