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025-12 Surrender of License Plates and Recycling

Registration and Title Bulletin - #025-12

Date: July 26, 2012


All County Tax Assessor-Collectors


Surrender of License Plates and Recycling


To remind you of the statutory requirement for the return of license plates at time of replacement, exchange, or when a Title Only application is submitted; and encourage plate recycling.


Texas Transportation Code, Sec. 504.007, requires a customer receiving replacement license plates to surrender each plate in their possession unless they certify it was lost or stolen.

Texas Administrative Code, 217.28(c)(1), also requires license plate surrender when specialty plates are to be issued to a Texas registered vehicle. The rule states that if the vehicle for which specialty plates are issued is currently registered, the owner must surrender the plates currently displayed on the vehicle before specialty plates may be issued.

In addition, Transportation Code, Sec. 501.0275, requires a "Title Only" applicant to surrender any license plates issued to the vehicle.

Note: License plates over seven years old due for mandatory "needs" replacement at the time of registration renewal are not required to be surrendered by law or administrative code rule.


Continue to require return of license plates in the situations listed above and at a minimum, surrendered license plates must be made unusable, destroyed, or processed by a recycling facility. If necessary, coordinate with your local TxDMV Regional Service Center to pick up plates that have been surrendered and cannot be recycled, destroyed or made unusable.

Since license plates are aluminum, we encourage recycling; however, deface the front of the plates with a permanent marker before delivering to a recycling center. To locate a recycling center in your area, visit the "Earth 911" Web site at


If you have any questions, please contact your local TxDMV Regional Service Center.

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