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Old 05-20-2015, 05:24 AM   #1
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Montana plates

I have full time now for over a year(base out Arkansas).As i have been traveling i keep seeing a lot M/H with with Montana plates , i was thinking there sure are a lot of M/H from a state with not that many people.Then one day at a truck stop i asked a couple about being from there,they told me they were from Florida they only register the M/H there,said they never been to that state.
My question how does one do that the couple said there no personal property tax in Montana, did not have time to explain how they did it. The personal property tax on my M/H and my 2015 grand cherokee is $895.00 a year in Ar,i would like to change that.
Any one know how i go about registering in a state like Montana with out going there. I also have a house in Tx but to do that i would have to go to tx every year and get an inspection sticker.
Any info would be helpful. Thank You.

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Old 05-20-2015, 05:29 AM   #2
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There are a few threads discussing the topic as well.

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Old 05-20-2015, 05:32 AM   #3
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Do a search on Montana LLC. Lots of discussion on that topic. Also lots of discussion on legality if you are establishing LLC to avoid taxes. Wish my personal property tax was that low in VA. Good luck.
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:42 AM   #4
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If you maintain your Arkansas residency, you still owe Arkansas taxes. You could, however, become a Montana legal resident, or establish a LLC (company) there that owns the motorhomes in your behalf. Whether that is legit or tax fraud depends on a large and complex set of factors, especially Arkansas law and your other relationships with that state. Far too much to go into detail here.

I suggest reviewing the large number of previous discussions about Monatana LLC or Montana registration to gain some further insights.

In your case you could probably do as well by establishing Florida residency instead of AR. You already own the RV, so sales tax has been paid, and FL has no personal property tax either.
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:43 AM   #5
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To O.P,

To save you some time in reading through long threads about LLC's- just pay your AK taxes and be done with it. I live in Ca. so mine makes yours pale in comparison but I still pay it (including the obvious sales tax). But, I never have to look over my shoulder. Here, if you go for a month with out of state plates you will pay a penalty as well...it's just not worth it. Most every state now has implemented new investigative tools to catch those who try for a free ride- there was amnesty at first but now it's rough if you get caught.
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Old 05-20-2015, 04:17 PM   #6
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Don't forget that all those things you have provided where you live that are all, or in part, supported by the tax you pay. I'm sure you wouldn't like doing without them. Irks the h--- out of me that someone has enough to buy a motorhome and then wants a free ride on their taxes that supports the services they want. I might tend to help the investigative tools that are in place do their job.
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Old 05-20-2015, 05:51 PM   #7
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tagcat, I was intending on writing to you in a private message because there is a huge amount of misinformation about registering a motorhome in a Montana LLC every time somebody posts a thread asking about Montana LLCs. You'll hear some say "it's illegal, don't do it" or "you're cheating your home state of taxes that they deserve." ...etc. But what the heck, I may as well post it publicly and put on my flame suit.

I've registered my vehicles in a Montana LLC for about ten years now. One thing that I will say that should stressed on this subject when it comes up on this forum is that you must be fulltime (or at least be retired and able to leave your home state frequently) for this, using a Montana LLC, to make sense and legally work for you. For those who spend most of their of time INSIDE their home state, it probably will not work. Those who are still working and own a stick house, it almost will never work …or will turn out to be illegal.

There is nothing "illegal" about forming a Montana LLC to register your vehicles. It is NOT against the laws of Montana. What is meant when you hear it’s illegal is that you MUST comply with the laws of your home state. Most states require that you register your vehicles within a certain time frame. This the key. So, for example, if your home state requires you to register your vehicles within 60-days (I don't know what Arkansas's laws are so this is just an example), and you do not have your vehicles inside your home state for more than 60-days at a time, then you are not breaking the laws of your home state. However, let's say you keep your vehicles (or motorhome) inside your home state for more than 60-days, then you are breaking the laws of your home state and they can come after you for not paying sales taxes or registration fees, etc.

Therefore, to be perfectly legal in registering your motorhome in a Montana LLC, you must be able to abide by the REGISTRATION LAWS and what triggers registration in your home state (the state in which you call your home for tax purposes and where you posses your drivers' license). Registering your vehicles in Montana is not illegal but breaking the vehicle registration laws of your home state is what you have to be aware of.

I am a fulltimer and am rarely in the state of my legal residence and when I am, I'm not there long enough to trigger registration of my vehicles. Therefore, I'm not breaking any of the laws of my home state. By keeping good records, I can prove to them that I am not required to register my vehicles in the state if they ever did come after me.

If I had a stick house in my home state, lived in it the majority of the time, and only took my motorhome out every so often, then I could very well be breaking the registration laws of my home state and they could legally come after me.

That's why you will hear about states cracking down on Montana LLC registered motorhomes. Like Colorado, for example. Colorado got nasty a few years ago with residents who kept their Montana-registered motorhomes on their property and only used them occasionally. Other states are cracking down on it too. Some state's laws are written where you just can't get around it ...such as my home state of Washington. It shouldn't even be tried if one is a resident of Washington state.

One of the largest monetary benefits where thousands of dollars can be saved and not just in registration fees is when purchasing a new high-end motor home and not having to pay sales taxes on the purchase. It seems this ruffles the most feathers of fellow RVers who are against or are not able to legally use Montana LLCs as some, I believe, are jealous of those who can do it legally. Again, some will contend that you are “cheating” your home state out of their entitled sales tax revenue (let’s say, for just an example, you purchase a $250,000 motorhome and your state charges 6.5% sales tax on the purchase, that’s $16,250 that doesn’t go to your home state).

Montana charges a flat rate per year based on age to register motorhomes. I believe it’s less than $100 for a motorhome that is over 10-years old such as your 2004 Monaco.

So, do research on what Arkansas requires and if it makes sense for your to do a Montana LLC. A good place to use for advice if you're not that familiar with Montana LLCs and RV registration is to contact Bennett Law in Missoula. You'll hear that firm come up a lot on the forum as they are the premier law firm that many RVers use. You do not have to use a law firm to set up your Montana LLC, however. You can use any of the dozens of registered agent services in Montana who can set up and maintain your LLC ...you must use a registered agent and the easiest way is to use a registered agent service or one of the law firms that specialize in LLCs for Rvers such as Bennett.

Here is a link to Bennett‘s FAQ:

FAQs - Bennett Law Office P.C.

Here are a few other popular registered agent services you can use if you don't need the hand-holding of a law firm to set up and administer your LLC but as I say, there are dozens of others (for entire list, click HERE).

Montana RV Registration | MT Registered Agents | Tax-Free Montana LLC : Deer Creek Corporate Services

How to Register a RV with the Montana DMV Tax Free


Montana LLC No Sales-Tax Motorhomes Registered Agent service

Welcome to AAA Registered Agent in Helena Montana

If you have any questions at all, send me a PM and I‘ll be glad to clarify to the best of my ability. Like I say, some of the threads on Montana LLCs on the forum get pretty heated but not only that, there is a LOT of misinformation by people that don't know what they are talking about when it comes to Montana LLCs. Believe me, most of the time a thread is posted asking about Montana LLCs, many of the responses are just plain wrong. Should wnytaxman participate in this thread, listen to him. He's one of the few that knows what he is talking about.
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:08 PM   #8
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Great post Theroc! Saved for future reference!
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:51 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by theroc View Post
But what the heck, I may as well post it publicly and put on my flame suit.
I don't think you need a flame suit, it's a very well written post, and hard to argue against.
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:32 AM   #10
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Whether a fulltimer chooses to domicile in SD, TX or Fl, many of them are never in their "home" state except to get the initial and renewal drivers lic. You do not need to return to TX each year for inspection, you only need the inspection IF you return to TX with that vehicle.
I have 8 vehicles registered & insured in SD and only 1 of them has ever set foot inside SD. Many states allow you to register by mail, or as in SD we give our mail forwarding company rep a power of attorney to stand in line and register our vehicles.
The only advantage to MT is saving the sales tax on an expensive rig, otherwise SD,TX,FL are more fulltimer friendly.

" I also have a house in Tx but to do that i would have to go to tx every year and get an inspection sticker.
Any info would be helpful. Thank You. "
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:58 AM   #11
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If you register you RV in Montana, what it the cost of the registration every year?
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Old 05-21-2015, 11:02 AM   #12
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Seem really well explained. As for as state entitlement to taxes. If you aren't in the state except for a limited amount of time, why should the state get a full ride on the taxes the same as someone who lives there 7/365? Presumably, those taxes go to fund the services provided by the state, most of which the short term resident never benefits from.
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Old 05-21-2015, 11:18 AM   #13
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Long story short. If you are full time you can claim residency ( actually domicile) in any of three states that make that easy. Florida, South Dakota, and Texas are the big three. Texas though has a vehicle inspection and license requirements that you should look into.
I can only speak for Florida as that is my official domicile. There is no property tax on vehicles, plates and registration are reasonable, and there is no state income tax.
All three states have very good mail services that qualify as a residential address for banking and federal tax purposes.
As far as using a Montana LLC that is something you really need to research to see if that is something you want to do. Lots of pros and cons about that subject.
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Old 05-21-2015, 12:41 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by johnsonk555 View Post
If you register you RV in Montana, what it the cost of the registration every year?
Montana bases their RV registration strictly on age and not on value. Therefore, the tag renewal is the same whether one owns a $500,000 motorhome or one that's worth $50,000. This is what I have in my notes. I'm not sure if it remains the same today as the Montana DMV site is temporarily down as I write this.

Under 2 years old: $282.50.
2 to under 5 years old: $224.25.
5 to 9 years old: $132.50.
8 to 11 years old or older: $97.50.
11 years old or older, permanent registration is available for: $237.50.

Therefore, the OP may be eligible to pay $237.50 for a 2004 Monaco and not have to pay any registration fees again on the particular rig.

Originally Posted by sirpurrcival View Post
Seem really well explained. As for as state entitlement to taxes. If you aren't in the state except for a limited amount of time, why should the state get a full ride on the taxes the same as someone who lives there 7/365? Presumably, those taxes go to fund the services provided by the state, most of which the short term resident never benefits from.

Yes, that's my argument also. I spend such little time in my home state so I really do not feel guilty. If we did spend more time there, I would definitely want to pay my fair share. When the time comes that we are tied to one state, we will change things to where we feel that we are paying our fair share.

And I agree, when fulltiming, there are better options than forming a Montana LLC to register vehicles and remaining a resident and declaring domicile in the state you've been living while living in a stick home. The majority of fulltimers do declare South Dakota, Texas, Florida, or Nevada (all states with no personal income tax) as their home. However, as others have said, there are many factors that play into the decision each couple has to make. We had specific reasons why we did what we did and so far, it has worked well. There's always the chance that we could change that in the future.

Forming a Montana LLC is definitely not the best choice for the majority or even the majority of fulltimers. However, it can work well for many. Lots of thought and research has to go into the process of being a fulltime RVer and this is just one option that can be considered pertaining to the domicile issue. To reiterate, the Montana LLC to register an RV is definitely not for those who spend most of their time in a stick house and use their RV for occasional trips or even extended vacations.

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