Saturday, May 14, 2011

What To Do?
By Michael

So this past week I've been working to change our mailing address with magazines, banks, credit card companies, AAA, the girls' 529 plan administrator...the list goes on and on. So far, things have gone smoothly. But when I tried to change our address with the DC DMV, they balked.
Here's the situation: The day we close on the house sale, we won’t have a DC mailing address nor any material connection to the District. The DMV says they won't put an out-of-state address on my DC driver's license (the mail forwarding company we signed up with is in Florida). We're gonna need driver’s licenses in our new life (what if we rent or borrow a car?) and I don’t know how we’re gonna get them.
My argument to the DC government is that we are going to continue to file a DC income tax return and we are not intending to set up residency nor domicile in any other state. As I understand the law, for legal purposes, our residency or domicile remains in DC until we become domiciled in another state--and using a Florida-based mail-forwarding service is not nearly enough to do so.
Regular government bureaucracy can be trying, but when you have to explain the whole idea of sailboat cruising and our particular plans to every person up the chain of command, it takes it to a whole new level. I think they're gonna have to come through and allow us to retain our DC licenses with our Florida address printed on the front, I don't see any way around it. I’m waiting now for a return call from the director’s office at the DC DMV. Stay tuned…(and any advice or input is welcome).


  1. Perhaps your councilmember (ward or at-large) can help.

  2. This is on my to-do list too. We're leaving California on October 1st and really don't have ties to anywhere. Our driver's licenses will be renewed this summer in California but we have to figure out the whole mailing address, residency, licence, homeschool paperwork business out fast! I'm waiting for the feedback you get too. p.s. maybe we'll meet up in Mexico. Our kids will be 7 and 4 in the fall.

  3. Full-time RVers generally change residency to Florida or South Dakota (as we did for 2 years). Your mail-forwarding office can help you with the details. I could see paying DC taxes while you own a house there, but once it's sold you don't have any more ties to DC then you will to Florida.

  4. RESPONSE: There are tax advantages to Florida residency, and we could probably do this, even without visiting Florida, but even filing DC taxes, we don't expect to pay much, given our anticipated meager income. But there is a greater advantage to maintaining our DC residence, namely the Federal government subsidy that allows DC residents (our girls) to attend just about any university in the country and pay only in-state tuition.

  5. In looking at the DC DMV web page, they will accept a Proof of DC Residency Application. Do you have any close friends in DC who will sign this for you? You're fudging a they are certifying that you are living with them - but it's going to be a hell of lot faster than trying to get the DMV to come around to your point of view.

  6. If you really want a DC license, rather than go head-to-head with a government bureaucracy (I'm sorry to say I think your chance of success is poor), I'd use the DC address of a relative or friend.

  7. RESPONSE: I got the final word from the DC DMV Office of the Director. Their advice is to find a friend who lives in the District and who will let you use their address. They think like Ron and Brynn.

  8. I'm trying to decide if being told that I think like slow moving, red tape filled organization crawling with civil servants is an insult or not..........


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