When you buy a new vehicle or relinquish the current car, you have to know what to do with the tags and registration. The registration is your official proof that you’ve paid the required fees and are allowed to use the vehicle. Once you no longer need or own the car, you need to let the government know that the tags (which are linked to you) are no longer bound to the old car. You do this by surrendering your tags or by transferring them to your new vehicle.
Why Should I Cancel My Tag Registration?
There are a lot of reasons you may need to cancel your tag registration. The biggest ones are if you move away from DC or if you sell or donate your vehicle. When you move away, you will need to register the car with the new state that you move to, and you should cancel your current tag registration with DC. If you sell your car, you should transfer the tags to your new vehicle, or cancel the tag registration if you are not getting a new vehicle. Other reasons that you may need to cancel your tag registration include if your tags were stolen or worn out and you received replacements or if you are changing tags to a new style (like disabled or organizational tags). If you are replacing your vehicle, you can transfer the tags instead of canceling them by taking the new vehicle’s registration, title, and proof of inspection and insurance to a DVM service center. Your tags can never transfer to a new owner when you sell your vehicle.
How Do I Cancel My Tags?
There are three ways to cancel tags. You can physically take the tags into a DC DMV location and have them cancel the registration. You will surrender the tags to them at that point. You can also surrender them by mail. Simply mail the tags to the DMV at
PO Box 90120
Washington, DC 20090
Allow up to 15 days for the tags to be received, and the registration canceled. You will receive a tag surrender receipt when the process is completed. You can also cancel the tags online if the vehicle is registered to you individually (not to a business). Go to the DMV website to complete the cancellation process and obtain your receipt. Once that is done, you must wholly and permanently dispose of the tags. You can do this by ultimately marking through the tag number with a permanent marker and then sending it to the address above or taking it to be recycled at the DC Department of Public Works at Fort Totten Station on the first Saturday of the month.
What About Insurance?
Do not cancel your insurance until you have receipt of tag cancellation. If you cancel your insurance before you withdraw your registration, you may be fined for having a lapse of coverage on your vehicle.
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