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OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Time waits for no license plate if taxes due

by Frank Fellone | September 17, 2022 at 3:43 a.m.

Dear Mahatma: Would be surprised if this doesn't win a prize! -- Avid Annie

Dear Annie: Thank you for sending the photo of the white Acura with the Alabama plate. Holy Sweet Bama! The tags on that car date to September 2018, Anno Domini.

That's Latin for "This Car Hasn't Been Registered in Four Years."

Annie sent this in after another reader waxed indignant about all those expired temporary paper plates he sees around town. There should be a contest, another reader said, for the oldest temp plate spotted in Our Town.

Bless her heart, Annie's plate isn't a temp, but certainly violates the spirit of the law that says new residents of our state must register their vehicles, and the law that says residents of the Natural State must register -- and pay taxes on -- a newly purchased vehicle within 30 days.

Let's now turn the page to another avid reader.

Dear Mahatma: Several weeks ago I spied a commercial, albeit beat-up, van circling the War Memorial Park traffic circle with a temporary tag dated October 2017. In the contest for finding expired tags, I win! -- Expired Tag Lookout

Dear Lookout: It's true. You win the Drivetime Mahatma Pop-up Temp Plate Contest and Goat Barbecue.

Anyone out there got a goat?

We find this extraordinary. But maybe not. We hereby propose a law authorizing police to impound any vehicle with a lapsed temp plate. Are there enough holding lots for these vehicles?

Our theory is that people don't register new vehicle purchases because they don't have any money left over to pay the sales tax.

As an example, let's say we went out and bought a nice used truck for $38,000. To figure out sales tax we went to the calculator on the website of the Department of Finance and Administration.

Let's also theorize, or stipulate, that we live in Little Rock. Our sales tax totals $2,437.50. Plus $25 more to the county and $28.12 to the city.

The calculator warns that if a vehicle is not registered within 30 days, the owner will be flogged with a rolled-up copy of the Saturday edition of this newspaper, and put in stocks on the village green, to be mocked by upright citizens.

Yes, yes, we made that up. If only.

The website mentions penalties for late registrations. What are they? We asked this of Scott Hardin, the long-suffering spokesdude for DF&A.

Maximum penalty for registration would be $30 extra. The bigger penalty is 10 percent on the sales tax.


Switching gears, a couple of readers speculate on the meaning of the REVOLT license plate recently seen, by us in Bentonville, on a Tesla.

Time to recharge, the first reader said. The second said it was maybe a commentary on the Chevrolet Volt, "a great plug-in hybrid that died too soon."

Vanity plate seen on another Tesla: IPADCAR


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