Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Automobile: Transferring States (Part 1.5)

[I did not plan to have a "Part 1.5" but, after some craziness at the DMV, decided it would be worthwhile to write a new post about the experience.]

This morning I left before 8am to drive to the Virginia DMV Center in Arlington. My boss had graciously okay-ed my late arrival and the DMV opens at 8am. So I thought I would be the first person in line and be able to get my affairs taken care of quickly... Wrong! By the time I arrived at 8:10am, there was a line of 7-10 people gathered outside. (Surprisingly, there was also people waiting inside.)

After waiting for about 30 minutes, my turn came up and I presented all the documents I listed before to the DMV agent. She was neither talkative nor particularly kind. But she was efficient and took titled and registered vehicle in about 15 minutes. However, she hit me with two unexpected/nasty surprises.

The first (and the nastiest) was the 3% vehicle sales tax. I thought I had been waived from it with the notarized "Purchaser's Statement of Tax Exemption" form, but was levied a $35 fee anyway. The reason? My parents had written "$1" as the selling cost in the vehicle title. Against logic and common sense, this made the transaction a sale and not a gift. Therefore I was forced to pay the tax.

The second surprise was that I have to change my driver's license to a Virginia one. The cost of this is $32 and the explanation given is that "You can chose not to, but the cops will penalize you since you have Virginia plates now". Not wanting to return to the DMV again nor trouble with the police, I acquiesced and opted to get one before leaving. This turned out to be a bad decision.

Why was changing my driver's license a bad decision? Because the Arlington DMV Center had a systems shutdown for more than 30 minutes! This meant that agents were not able to process my application until about 10am. When the system came back up, it took less than 5 minutes to run everything. So in hindsight, I should have left after getting what I went there for: titling and registration. But I stayed and had to endure a prolonged wait time. I suck.

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