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Friday, August 7, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Mailed vehicle tab renewal notices for July delayed in Washington state

UPDATED: Fri., July 10, 2020

A Washington State University vanity license plate is seen in this August 2017 photo. The Washington Department of Licensing and local officials are urging drivers to check their registration during the month of July, as mailed tab renewal notices have been delayed.  (kathy plonka)
A Washington State University vanity license plate is seen in this August 2017 photo. The Washington Department of Licensing and local officials are urging drivers to check their registration during the month of July, as mailed tab renewal notices have been delayed. (kathy plonka)

Drivers expecting a notice in the mail this month to renew their vehicle registration will have to wait a little longer, and state and local officials are encouraging owners to sign up for online notices.

What the Department of Licensing is calling “a change in system programming” is responsible for the delayed mailing of tab renewal notices. The department began postmarking notices this week, wrote Communications Manager Christine Anthony in an email, but drivers should check their tabs and registration to determine if they’re in need of renewal.

Anthony was unavailable to answer follow-up questions on Friday because of mandatory furloughs at the department ordered to reduce expenses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said her office noticed the delay when it didn’t start receiving hundreds of pieces of mail earlier this month requesting new tabs.

Dalton said she’d contacted both the Spokane Police Department and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office about the delay in an effort to lobby for leniency for drivers who may not have received their expected notification about the need for a renewal.

“We still get quite a lot of people registering by mail,” Dalton said.

Vehicle owners may renew their tabs online using a credit or debit card or bank account number at dol.wa.gov, where they can also sign up to receive emailed renewal notifications. Dalton said those electronic notifications hadn’t been affected by the department delay.

The Spokane County Auditor’s Office has received numerous phone calls from residents awaiting their renewal notices in the mail, Dalton said.

While some licensing offices are open, the easiest, fastest and safest option is to renew tabs online, she said.

Drivers who eventually receive their tab renewal notices and file them in the mail should expect some lag time between receipt and the issuance of new tabs, Dalton said.

If renewing online, drivers can print a receipt to keep in their vehicles for proof of payment.

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