Terms & Definitions

Terms & Definitions

This glossary explains the terms and definitions used to calculate the first-time registration fee for new vehicles.

Vehicle Type: The passenger vehicle category includes sedan (4 door), coupe (2 door), convertible (CV), hatchback or lift back (3 or 5 door) station wagon (SW), passenger van (PV), and passenger utility (UP) or sport utility (SUV). The light truck vehicle category includes open bed pick up (PK) trucks and cargo vans (VN) with an empty weight of 16,000 lbs or less. The motor home category includes motor vehicles designed to provide temporary living quarters and which is built into, as an integral part of or a permanent attachment to, a motor vehicle chassis or van. The motorcycle category includes motor vehicles that uses handlebars or any other device connected to the front wheel to steer and that is designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground; does not include farm tractor, auto-cycle, low speed electric vehicle, or low power scooter. This estimation program will not calculate registration fees for heavy-duty commercial trucks such as dump trucks, trash trucks, etc.

MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price): The manufactures suggested retail price of a motor vehicle including any accessory or item of optional equipment physically attached to such vehicle prior to the sale to the purchaser. The MSRP is used to determine the taxable value. Note: The purchase price cannot be used for the MSRP.

Fuel: Gas/Other means all fuel types except diesel and all electric.

Taxable Value: A percentage of the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price). If the vehicle is a passenger vehicle, motorhome, or motorcycle multiply the MSRP by 85% and the sum is the taxable value. If the vehicle is a light truck multiply the MSRP by 75% and the sum is the taxable value.

The taxable value is used to determine ownership taxes due. You can find the taxable value on your application for title or Colorado title provided to you by the dealer. If you financed your vehicle purchase a Title Complete Notice will be forwarded to you and notes the taxable value.

Note: The purchase price cannot be used for the taxable value. Taxable values do not change throughout the life of the vehicle. The tax factors used to calculate ownership taxes decrease as the vehicle ages until it reaches the minimum fees due at 10 years old.

CWT (Hundred weight): (Not required for motorcycles) Using the empty weight, round up to the nearest hundred pounds and drop the last two zeroes. Example: Empty weight 4,726 pounds = 48 CWT. Title Complete Notices generated when the application for title has been processed indicates the CWT. Selling dealers can provide you the empty weight.

Purchase Date: The purchase date is used to calculate prior ownership taxes due from the date of sale to date of registration. If you have not purchased the vehicle enter the estimated purchase date.

Registration date: Registration date is the date when plates and registration is issued to your vehicle. The registration date is used to calculate ownership taxes due for the twelve- month period. If you do not have a definite registration date enter the estimated registration date.

Prior Ownership Tax: Ownership Tax is equivalent to personal property tax. Prior ownership taxes are calculated from the month following the month of purchase through the month of the application for registration.

Example: Month following the month of purchase is February. Month of application for registration is March. Prior ownership taxes will be assessed for two months of prior ownership taxes.

Ownership Tax: Ownership tax is based on the vehicle year of manufacture and the taxable value of the vehicle. The taxable value will not change during the life of the vehicle. The calculation used to determine ownership taxes due will change as the vehicle ages until it reaches the minimum fees due at 10 years old.

Ownership tax is always calculated for 12 months based on the month following the month of application for registration through the determined expire month next year.

License Fee: License fee is based on the empty weight of the vehicle (CWT) and vehicle type. Additional fees that may be included in the license fee are based on vehicle type, age of vehicle, fuel type, and material fees (plates and validation stickers). Also may include: Highway user fee; Emission fee; Diesel fee; Emergency Medical Services fee; Motorist Insurance Identification fee; Peace Officer Standards & Training fee; Surcharge for Motorcycle Operator Safety Training Fund; and CSTARS fund fee.

Issuance of Designer plates, Special Organizational plates and Military plates will increase the license fee by approximately $50.00 or more for the first time issuance and at time of replacement. Designer plate registration and several special organization plates will include an additional $25.00 or more annually, will be assessed at time of renewal.

Plug-In Electric Motor Vehicle Fee: (Does not apply to hybrid vehicles). An annual fee of $50.00 will be charged with registrations on plug-in electric vehicles that can be recharged from any external source of electricity and the electricity stored in a rechargeable battery pack propels or contributes to the propel of the vehicle’s drive wheels.

Hybrid Vehicles: Vehicles powered by electricity and gas, electricity and diesel, electricity and propane or electricity and natural gas.

Bridge Safety Surcharge: Provides for “Funding Advancement For Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery” as described in Senate Bill 09-108. This surcharge shall be imposed on any registration made on or after July 1, 2009.

Road Safety Surcharge: Provides for “Funding Advancement For Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery as described in Senate Bill 09-108. This surcharge shall be imposed on any registration made on or after July 1, 2009.

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Motor Vehicle Division

303-413-7710
303-413-7725 (Fax)
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1750 33rd Street, Suite 100
Boulder, CO 80301