When you buy or sell a vehicle in Washington D.C., you should complete a Bill of Sale for your safety. This serves as a legal receipt from the buyer to the seller documenting both the change in ownership and the purchase price.
The following information should appear on the Washington D.C. Bill of Sale Form:
– Name and address of the seller.
– Name and address of the buyer.
– Complete vehicle description, including Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), make, model, year.
– Vehicle odometer reading at the time of sale.
– Date of sale.
– Signature of the seller.
When you sell a vehicle in the District:
– Remove your license tags from the vehicle and return them to DC DMV either in person or by mail. If you do not, you may be liable for any traffic violations committed while your tags remain on the car.
– Surrender Tags.
– Provide the new owner with the properly signed title. If the vehicle is being sold to another District resident or a DC dealership, the existing vehicle inspection sticker is still valid until it expires.
– The buyer will need to visit a DC DMV service center to obtain a temporary DC registration to take the vehicle through inspection once you remove your license tags.
– If you have more than 6 months remaining on a vehicle registration, and you do not plan to transfer the registration to another vehicle, you may request a refund of the unused portion (in 6 month increments) of the registration from DC DMV. Parking permit and inspection fees cannot be refunded.
When you buy a vehicle in the District:
– For private sales, you should also obtain a Bill of Sale.
– Make sure you know whether the vehicle’s sales price includes the District’s excise tax. Most new car dealerships will collect the excise tax (in addition to the registration fees) and take all the necessary steps to have the vehicle titled and registered on your behalf. However, some used car dealerships and all private sellers will require you to title and register the vehicle yourself. In this case, you will be required to pay the District’s excise tax; therefore, it should not be included in the sales price.
– You should keep all records associated with the purchase of the vehicle for future reference by using a Bill of Sale.
If the dealer or private seller does not have the title in his/her possession and name, do NOT purchase the vehicle. Also, check to ensure the vehicle is properly assigned on the back of the title (or the title reassignment sheet). The odometer reading should also be included on the back of the title (or the title reassignment sheet). A vehicle that is not properly titled cannot be registered at DC DMV.
In the District, salvage titles from other jurisdictions must retain the salvage brand, even if the vehicle passes DC DMV inspection and can be registered. More information on salvage titles is available here for Salvage Titles.
Please note that Federal and State law require that you state the mileage upon transfer of ownership. Failure to complete or providing a false statement may result in fines and/or imprisonment! When you sell a vehicle be sure to complete the certification of odometer mileage on the back of the title, when it is signed over.
In addition, for your records, you can use this federal form to state the mileage upon transfer of ownership: Washington D.C. Odometer Disclosure Statement Form
DC DMV has an emissions inspection for used vehicles (i.e., those previously titled in either DC or another jurisdiction), so it is critical you purchase a vehicle that can pass the inspection. It is a good idea to take the vehicle to a reputable mechanic. If the dealer or private seller refuses to let your mechanic check out the vehicle, you should not purchase the vehicle.
After buying a vehicle you must now have the vehicle inspected, titled, and registered in the District. You must immediately purchase vehicle insurance, in your name and your DC address. District law requires continuous insurance for all vehicles registered in the District. More information on DC insurance requirements is available here for Vehicle Insurance.
If the vehicle was purchased from a dealership, you may have been issued temporary tags to take the vehicle through District inspection (unless the vehicle already has a valid DC inspection sticker or the vehicle is new, i.e., never previously titled in any jurisdiction). Even if the dealership is taking care of your titling and registration paperwork, you may still need to visit a DC DMV service center to obtain a parking permit. Information on vehicle inspections and on DC Residential Parking Permits is available here for Vehicle Inspections and
Parking Permits and Reciprocity Stickers.
Once the vehicle passes DC DMV inspection, it must be registered in the District. If the vehicle was purchased from a private seller or dealership that does not issue temporary tags, you need to visit a DC DMV service center to obtain a temporary DC registration to provide you time to get the vehicle inspected and registered. Information on DC DMV vehicle registrations is available here for Vehicle Registrations.
For more information go to The District of Columbia – Department of Motor Vehicles.
The mission of the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles (DC DMV) is to promote public safety by ensuring the safe operation of motor vehicles.
Every day, DC DMV directly serves an average of 3,200 District residents and non-residents — more than almost any other District government agency. DC DMV provides service to more than 541,000 licensed drivers or identification card holders and 288,000 registered vehicles at four service centers. DC DMV services more than 2.5 million tickets annually, by collecting payments or providing citizens the means to contest the tickets. DC DMV conducts over 189,000 vehicle inspections each year.
DC DMV provides certification and inspection services to residents, businesses, and government entities so they may legally park, drive, and sell their vehicles in the District of Columbia.