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Is it an emissions inspection? Typically, if you go to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and get the registration, at that time they will assess you for any taxes that are owed on the transfer of the vehicle (if you bought it from someone, you pay tax on the amount you paid, so good to get a note from them) If the seller is behind on the taxes due to not registering it in previous years, you may or may not get assessed for registering it "late", depending on the date on your bill of sale. They will also tell you if the vehicle needs new plates at this time, and either give them to you on the spot with the tabs, or order them for later delivery or pickup. If you need an emissions inspection, you will need this done before they can give you the tabs- but you can at least register it into your name at this time.