Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DMV) determines the types of vehicles that need registration and titles, including trailers. Some trailers do not need a title if they are under a specific weight requirement, but all will require registration. The fee for registering a trailer in the Sunshine State depends on its weight. The process of registering a trailer is relatively easy, even if it does not have a title.
Trailer Registration in Florida
A resident who owns and operates a trailer in Florida must register it, even if it doesn't have a title. Nonresidents must register their trailer if they work or otherwise engage in a trade or occupation in Florida or have children who attend public schools in the state. There are nonresident exemptions for college or university students if they are in the state for no more than six months and enrolled in an accredited work-study program. Nonresidents enrolled as full-time students at a college or university do not have to register their trailer in the state.
Someone wishing to register a trailer in Florida must provide a manufacturer's certificate of origin when applying. If the trailer is homemade, they must provide a weight slip. Trailers with a gross vehicle weight of under 2,000 pounds do not need a title, but trailers that weigh 2,000 pounds and over will require one.
Registration Application for a Used Trailer
A person who owns a used trailer under 2,000 pounds and does not have a certificate of title must provide these documents when registering it:
- Title registration from out of state or bill of sale signed by the former owner.
- Weight slip, if the weight of the trailer does not appear on the registration.
- Bill of sale including the Trailer Identification Number, year and make, and the state of origin if the vehicle is from a state that does not title or register trailers.
If a used trailer under 2,000 pounds has a current registration from an owner in Florida, its new owner must provide a bill of sale with the Trailer Identification Number and its license plate number, or the previous owner's registration.
Registering a Homemade Trailer
To register a homemade trailer under 2,000 pounds that does not have a registration, the new owner must provide a bill of sale stating the year of its creation and weight. If the weight is unknown, the previous owner must provide a weight slip. Florida's computer system will generate a Trailer Identification Number during the registration transaction. If a homemade trailer under 2,000 pounds has a current registration from an owner in Florida, its new owner must provide a bill of sale listing the Trailer Identification Number or the trailer's license plate number or the previous owner's registration.
If the homemade trailer is over 2,000 pounds and has a current registration from the previous owner, the new owner must provide its title and a bill of sale when registering it. If it did not have a Florida title, a compliance examiner will inspect it and assign it a Trailer Identification Number.
Registration Renewal for Florida Trailers
Florida law requires the renewal of a trailer's tags (license plates) and registration before expiration. A trailer's registration and tags will expire on different dates, which the state determines according to the type of trailer it is and who owns it:
- For trailers with individual owners, the registration expiration date is the birthday of the first owner on the registration.
- For businesses, the expiration date is June 30.
- Semi-trailers have an expiration date of December 31.
An owner must present the previous registration or renewal notice, if they have one, to renew a trailer's registration. Owners can process their registration and plate renewal online, by mail or at a county tax collector's service center or tag agency. A person who does not renew their registration by the due date may face a traffic citation if law enforcement stops them while operating the trailer. If the trailer's registration has been expired for more than six months , the owner faces a second-degree misdemeanor charge.
Registration Renewal Notices in Florida
The state does not notify vehicle owners that a vehicle's registration or plates will expire. Therefore, not receiving a notice does not excuse someone from failing to renew their registration or plates.
However, a tax collector's office may provide renewal notices as a courtesy to residents of a particular county. These usually go out in the mail approximately three weeks before the renewal date is due. The notice will also include materials that trailer owners need to renew their registration easily.
Trailer Renewal Registration Fees
The cost to register a trailer in Florida depends on its weight and the type of trailer it is. Trailer renewal registration fees are:
- Trailers for private use that are under 500 pounds: $6.75.
- Trailers for private use that are over 500 pounds: $3.50.
- CWT (pricing by hundredweight): $1.00.
- Trailers for hire that are under 2,000 pounds: $3.50.
- CWT (pricing by hundredweight): $1.50.
- Trailers for hire that are over 2,000 pounds: $13.50.
- CWT (pricing by hundredweight): $1.50.
The fees listed above represent only the base tax for trailers – other statutory fees also apply. A person requesting a digital copy of their registration will incur a small digital delivery fee, the amount of which depends on the county of registration. Owners must pay a trailer's registration and title fees when they complete the transaction.
- Trailers under 2,000 pounds also don't require verification of their vehicle identification numbers, unlike most vehicles in Florida.
- Don't know how much your trailer weighs? You can usually get it weighed at the nearest waste transfer station.
- Check with your tax collector's office or branch office to find out what form of payment they require. You don't want to be caught short without the necessary cash, check, debit or credit card.
Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. She holds a B.A. in Communications and English from Niagara University.