Moving? You Might Need to Tell Your Current State… Or Else

This week my wife and I found ourselves in a shocking predicament. A letter delivered to us from Bank of America revealed that the state of California had levied our account and the bank would soon release 963 of our dollars to them unless the state told them not to. After some panicked phone calls, we figured out the culprit: my wife’s car registration.

As it turns out, California not only requires you to tell them when you move within the state but also demands you inform them when you leave the state and no longer wish to register your car. Since we failed to do this — and despite the fact my wife had since registered her car in Missouri — California had continued assessing her for registration she didn’t need. Of course, they also tacked on some fees since we hadn’t been paying, hence that unsavory $963 sum. Thankfully, we were able to inform them of the date we left the state and had the total erased and count closed, but Bank of America still charged us a $125 fee for the trouble.

Consider this a PSA: if you’re planning a move, you may want to look into your current state’s rules and regulations on such matters. Of course, this is just one more item to add on to what can often be a massive checklist that goes along with moving. Additionally, even if you’re not stranger to moving, our story shows that certain state quirks can still take you by surprise (and try to take your money!)

So, while you’re making truck arrangements, finding housing, and getting your address info updated, you may want to take a minute to familiarize yourself with your current states laws before you go. In our case, had we been proactive instead of relying on our past (apparently incomparable) experiences, we could have saved a lot of time, frustration… and $125. Learn from my pain and have a happy move!


Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site and the founder of

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