License unneeded off the public roadways

The in basket: Dale Ireland of Silverdale wonders if he has to buy a license tab for his old 1973 truck, which he uses only on private property.

“We live in a development with 25 homes and a 10-acre common area including a

grass dump and a number of small private roads,” he said. “I use the truck

use to take yard waste to the dump area, all on the private roads. 

“Do I have to pay for license tabs? I have auto insurance just

because I want to be safe but I was wondering if I have to pay the state

license fee if I don’t drive it on public roads. Is the tab fee a property

tax or a road use tax? What if a car is in storage?”

It’s an academic question for him, he said, as he’ll probably buy the tab anyway, in case he wants to take the truck onto the public roads. “But I was just curious about the

nature of the tab fee,” he said. 

The out basket: No, says Brad Benfield of the state Department of Licensing. “A vehicle operated entirely on private property does not have to be licensed.”

It wouldn’t matter if it was in storage, but in order to take it on a public road the truck would have to be licensed, hauled to and from storage on a licensed vehicle or trailer, or a three-day trip permit would have to be used. A trip permit, Brad says, is available at vehicle licensing offices for $25 (a $4 service fee may also apply) and allows the use of a vehicle for three consecutive days beginning with the first day of use.

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