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Clean Hands

The Clean Hands Law (DC Official Code §§47-2861 through 47-2866) provides that an applicant for a license or permit cannot owe more than $100 to the District government. If an applicant for a license or permit has failed to file District tax returns, they are also subject to the Clean Hands Law and will be denied the license or permit. A Clean Hands certification form is required to be submitted with any application for a license or permit in the District of Columbia, including a Basic Business License.

The Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) Collection Division receives Clean Hands certifications from various District agencies. The following steps are taken to research these certifications:

  • OTR researches each application through its computer system for any accounts receivables owed in aggregate of $100 or more and whether District tax returns have been filed.
  • Upon completion of this investigation, OTR may discover that the applicant is not in compliance with the filing requirements of the District of Columbia. A non-compliance list is then prepared and forwarded to the agency from which the applicant is seeking a license or permit.
  • The licensing/permitting agency makes the determination as to whether an applicant knowingly falsified this certification. If so, the District government shall:
    • Immediately revoke each license or permit requested by the applicant for which they submitted a falsified certification.
    • Fine the applicant $1,000 for each false certification.