A Washington, DC bill of sale is a legal form used to transfer ownership of an item from one person to another, according to the specific laws of the District of Columbia. The transferred item can be any kind of personal property that’s either purchased or traded for another valuable item.
On a bill of sale form, the person receiving the item is referred to as the buyer, and the person handing over the item is referred to as the seller.
Similar to a receipt, a bill of sale proves that a private sale occurred, and it records the legal transfer of ownership. You should use a bill of sale in Washington, DC if you’re buying or selling a car, a boat, a motorcycle, or any other type of vehicle, as well as a gun/firearm.
Table of Contents
- Washington, DC Vehicle Bill of Sale
- Washington, DC Boat Bill of Sale
- Washington, DC Gun Bill of Sale
- Free Washington, DC Bill of Sale Templates
1. Washington, DC Vehicle Bill of Sale
In the District of Columbia, a bill of sale is not required in order to sell or purchase a vehicle, though it may aid in the sale of a vessel. A bill of sale is still handy to have, however, and can serve as a receipt for future purposes. While the district does not provide an official bill of sale to use on its official website, you can use a fillable bill of sale template.
While some DMV forms come in Spanish, French, Korean, Vietnamese, and Arabic, many come in English only. Since there is no official bill of sale form, however, you may draft it in any language you like as long as each party is provided with a copy that he or she can understand. However, the DMV provides interpretation services in over 170 languages, called Language Line Services, which are free to use on demand and over-the-phone.
Number of Copies
Since the district does not require a copy of the original bill of sale for registration, one copy for the seller and one copy for the buyer should suffice.
Information and Notarization Requirements
Motor vehicle bills of sale in the District of Columbia do not need to be notarized or witnessed, as they are not legally required. In addition to the pre-printed forms, you may draft your own. It is important that the following information is included:
- A description of the vehicle
- The buyer’s and seller’s names, contact information, and signatures
- The odometer reading
- The vehicle identification number or VIN
- The purchase price
- The sale date
After Purchasing a Vehicle
In addition to drafting an appropriate bill of sale, there are many different steps and documents involved in registering a vehicle in the District of Columbia. Here is a primer on the process:
- In the district, dealerships do not complete the registration and titling process for you. Instead, if you are purchasing a brand new vehicle, you will have to visit the DMV in person with the following documents:
- The manufacturer’s certificate of origin
- The bill of sale
- The dealer’s odometer statement
- The Certificate of Title/Temporary Registration and Tag Application, or Form DMV-CTA-001
- The lien or lessee contract (if applicable)
- Your Washington D.C. district ID or driver’s license
- You will get an inspection sticker automatically.
- You must also pay the applicable registration fees (listed below).
- You will not be able to register your vehicle until the DMV receives title information from the lienholder.
- You must to remove your license plates from your vehicle and return them to the DMV either in person or by mail.
- Transfer title by completing all the spaces marked as “seller” and handing it over to the buyer.
- If you have more than 6 months remaining on your vehicle registration at the time of the sale, you can request a refund for any unused portion from the DMV.
- All vehicles housed and operated in the district must be registered at the DMV in person. There is no option to register by mail, phone, or online.
- You must receive the signed title from the seller and fill out the applicable areas indicating that you are now the current owner.
- You must undergo an inspection before registration. If the vehicle has a sticker that has not yet expired, an inspection is not necessary. In order to complete an inspection, you may purchase a 45-day temporary registration. This applies to both out-of-state and newly-purchased vehicles.
- You will title and register the vehicle simultaneously. You must visit the local DMV branch with proof of residence, your Washington, D.C. driver’s license or ID, either a bill of sale or a signed title as proof of ownership, the current registration, proof of insurance, and the inspection papers.
- Registration fees in the district are completely dependent upon the vehicle’s weight, with some notable exceptions. For example, hybrid/electric/clean fuel vehicles, when registered the first time, cost $36, while historic vehicles cost $25, and motorcycles cost $52. All other vehicles 3,499 lbs. and under cost $72 to register, while those over 3,500 cost $155. Other fees include $7.45 for tag transfers, and $13 for registration and temporary plates. An excise tax of 6-8% is charged depending upon the weight of the vehicle.
- If you are new to the district, you will have 30 days to register and title your vehicle. You must first convert your license to a Washington, D.C. license or ID card, and purchase district car insurance, as well as hold the out-of-state title in your name. If you are eligible for driver privilege reciprocity as a student, diplomat, member of Congress, or presidential appointee, you will still have to obtain a district ID card or driver’s license in order to receive district plates. However, if you are active military stationed in Washington, D.C., and live in another state, you are not required to register your vehicle with the district as long as you maintain your registration and insurance in your home state.
2. Washington, DC Boat Bill of Sale
A boat bill of sale is not required in the District of Columbia, though having one can aid in the “proof of ownership” process if necessary. There is no official form, but you can use an online boat bill of sale template. You should list the following information:
- The seller’s and buyer’s names, contact information, and signatures
- The hull identification number or HIN
- The length and propulsion of the vessel
- The sales date
- The purchase price
Many of the District of Columbia DMV forms feature a penalty of perjury statement; however, since there is no official bill of sale form, it is not considered a legal requirement to list one on any draft you may use. That said, the laws in the district do clearly state, in accordance with D.C. Criminal Code § 22-2402, that the penalty for a conviction of perjury is “a fine of not more than $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.”
After Purchasing a Vessel
- You will sign ownership to the buyer by filling out the appropriate areas on the title or by providing the buyer with a valid bill of sale.
- Call the Washington, D.C. Harbor Patrol of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and inform them of the change of ownership and remove the current decals from the vessel.
- Nearly all vessels primarily using the District of Columbia’s waters must register and be titled with the MPD. This can be done in person or using the OVERS online system. Registration includes all watercraft except for vessels: documented with the U.S. Coast Guard, registered in other states or countries, used exclusively for racing, used as lifeboats, and using the district’s waterways for no more than 50 consecutive days.
- To register and title your vessel simultaneously, you must submit proof of ownership, such as a bill of sale, properly assigned title, or a vessel registration, along with a completed Boat Certificate of Title/Registration Number, or Form PD 330, to the MPD. You also need proof of payment of all liens, if applicable, and your district ID card or driver’s license.
- You will also have to pay all registration and titling fees. The cost is dependent on the length and propulsion of your vessel. Here is a breakdown of assigned fees:
- With a motor and under 16 feet – $15
- With a motor and 16 feet to 26 feet – $25
- With a motor and 26 feet to 40 feet – $35
- With a motor and over 40 feet – $60
- Without motors – $10
- Additional fees include $2 for the boat title, $5 for duplicate decals and registration cards, and a title tax that is calculated as 6% of the vessel’s purchase price.
3. Washington, DC Gun Bill of Sale
In the District of Columbia, you must carry a permit and register with The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in order to purchase a firearm. While you must have the registration certificate in order to lawfully transfer ownership of a firearm, a bill of sale is still optional. However, they are good to have as a record of the sales transaction if needed.
Your firearm bill of sale should contain the following information:
- The make, model, caliber, and serial number
- The purchase price
- The sales date
- A general description of the gun
- The buyers’ and sellers’ names, contact information, and signatures
Free Washington, DC Bill of Sale Templates