Emergency grace period on vehicle registration and driver licenses ends August 31
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has rescinded an emergency executive order that effectively allowed some drivers and vehicle owners to continue operating their vehicles with expired licenses or unpaid registrations during the state of emergency declared for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Executive Order 20-05 provided a grace period for permits, licenses, and registrations that expired on or after March 1, 2020. Because DMV and county treasurer offices were not open to the public, many related services were only available online or through a drop-box.
When the executive order was made, it called for licensing renewals and registrations to be due 30 days after the governor rescinded the order. However, the governor’s office stated in a news release that the deadline has been extended to August 31, giving Nebraskans about 60 days to get their documents renewed and pay any vehicle taxes they might owe.
Though offices are now open, residents are still encouraged to use online services whenever possible.
Registering your vehicle entails paying state and local taxes, including sales taxes if the vehicle was purchased during the pandemic, along with motor vehicle taxes, registration fees, and wheel taxes, depending on the age of your vehicle and where you live.
A shortfall in transportation tax receipts on the state level was one of the reasons cited for the recent automatic increase in the state gas tax, which took effect July 1. The Omaha World-Herald reported that the current gas tax rate is now the highest in the state’s history.
In case you’re wondering, waiting until the end of the grace period will not allow you to skirt the taxes you owed during the early days of the pandemic or push back the date of your next license renewal.
Registration and licenses will be based on the dates they originally expired or when a vehicle was sold, meaning a car sold in March 2020 will still need to have its registration renewed again in March 2021.