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Old 08-30-2010, 04:02 PM   #1
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Registering your motorhome

Can anyone tell me the pros and cons of registering a motorhome in another State.

Which States are best?

How to go about it?

Thanks
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:13 PM   #2
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We have ours registered in FL as part time residents in NC & FL. You should own property or a lot in a retirement community to legally claim part time status. Tax advantage is first on the list for us. I think you will find Montana has an even better tax and insurance break.

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Old 08-30-2010, 07:42 PM   #3
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Research is the watchword for this subject. Recently Colorado and several other states have cracked down on out-of-state LLC's held by their residents. There is one MT law firm that seems to be used by most full-timers, Bennett, I think. I've read that this law firm investigates your particular situation and acts accordingly. Some law firms there don't seem to care what happens to you outside of MT.
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Old 09-05-2010, 10:51 PM   #4
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We are using SD. We are FullTimers and sold the stick & brick so needed a mail forwarding service as well as a "residence" state. We researched a lot of states and services and feel Alternative Resources is the best. We just went there to get our SD Driver's License. We knew and had the proper docs so it only took a few minutes and we got our DL. After that, Alternative Resources did the 2 Title papers for us (MH & Scoot) and we got our SD tags for both the MH and Scoot within a few days!!!!
Awesome service, great people, mail comes to wherever we ask very quickly and SD has great tax benefits as well. Plus, Alt Res is literally right next door to the DMV Office!! They recognize the address and understand us RV folks!!!
South Dakota is our recommendation for sure - and our "legal" address now
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Old 09-05-2010, 11:05 PM   #5
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South Dakota is our recommendation for sure - and our "legal" address now
Thanks for the post Bernie,
I am in the process of "downsizing" right now. We figure 6-9 months we should be ready to go. I live is So Cali and everything is so expensive here. I think I pay more income tax to the state then to the feds. Vehicle registration is a nightmare. Smog checks and repairs to be smog compliant are unreal.
Wondering how much time do you need to spend in SD to be considered a resident?
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Old 09-06-2010, 07:32 AM   #6
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South Dakota doesn't care how long you live there and will happily accept your registration $ - it's California you have to worry about. If you bring the RV into CA and maintain a residence there, CA will consider it to be a CA RV and require that it be registered and taxed accordingly.
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSepulveda View Post
Can anyone tell me the pros and cons of registering a motorhome in another State.

Which States are best?

How to go about it?
What's the purpose of you wanting to register your motorhome in "another" state? Are you a fulltime RVer, or soon to be one?

If the answer to the last question is "yes," then you are free to register your motorhome...and become legal residents of...any state you select. If, however, you live in State "A" and want to register your motorhome in State "B" simply to evade paying State "A's" sales tax and registration fees, you will be doing something that will end up biting you in the behind at some point in time...states take a very dim view of their residents trying to evade taxes.

Now, if you live in State "A" and plan on keeping your motorhome in State "B" (never to cross the border into State "A"), then you could register your motorhome in State "B" (the state where it is "garaged"). That's probably not practical for most people, though.
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Old 09-06-2010, 01:03 PM   #8
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We are planning on being full timers by next year. We currently live in CA, but will be visiting CA appx 2-3 months a year. Other then that we plan on going where we want when we want, so I don't know where I should set up residency, but I do know it won't be in CA!
Any suggestions for this scenario would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:11 PM   #9
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Hey Wannabee... sorry for the delay. Assuming you are moving out of CA and selling your residence(s), you can register your vehicles anywhere. The problem is "where". You'll need a mail forwarding service of some kind. There are great ones in RV Associations and clubs, as well as private. They are pretty much in SD, Ohio, Texas & Florida... each has advantages? Assuming they are all equal, now which State is best for Tax, vehicle reg, inspections, residency, etc. We chose SD because they only need ONE night stay over in a Motel or Campground to establish residency for your SD Driver's Lic. Taxes are very cheap, no inspections, DL is good for 5 years. Registration must be renewed yearly, but can be done by mail. To be really "legal" you should have the same state and address for your DL & Reg. Assuming you do this somewhere, you can drive and stay in any state you want, including California, since you have full documentation for whatever state you use.
As I said on previous blog, Alternative Resources is literally next door to the SD DMV - WOW, is that ever convenient!!!
Do research and ask lots of questions before you decide on your mail forwarding service... that decision will then determine your address since all your mail will be going there and that will start the process of "where" you live. SD doesn't require being there for your registration & title stuff, only your first DL and then renewals every 5 years. Again, having your DL & Reg all showing one address sure makes any traffic stop not an issue (for that anyway!!!).. Having a CA DL and different state registration will be a flag to any cop.
Since you will becoming a Full Timer, you want to be free to travel anywhere, yet have a central place somewhere for your mail and legal stuff.... that's the real issue.
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:55 AM   #10
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It's not advisable to try and get around taxes by registering your RV in another state if you live in another state. Fulltimers are an exception if they have no "sticks and bricks". We chose SD as many others have and we have only our mail forwarding address from "My SD Address" in Madison, SD.
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:01 AM   #11
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We are currently renting in CA. So not tied down here. I have lived here all my life (53 years) so I don't know much about living or registering a vehicle in another state, but sure don't see why I would want to legally stay here since I only plan on being here a couple months out of the year. Thank you all for your posts, I can see I have more homework to do.
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:49 AM   #12
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When we sold our California home last year and became full timers, we were free to pick out state of "domicile" and we chose Texas mainly because we went with Escapees Mail Service and they made the entire process fairly easy to understand and execute. Many people are happy with other states but Texas is working out fine for us. The only thing one might see as a drawback is that Texas requires a non-commercial Class B license for anything over 26000 lbs. Not a problem to pass the written and driving tests but it is a process you have to go through.

As others have said, it will be a real red flag to anyone who might see different states listed on your registrations for the toad/coach/or license. With budget crunches more states will probably be looking to plug some of these obvious holes in their revenue stream. OTOH, with over crowded jails tax evasion might not be a high priority...
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:40 PM   #13
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Hi Wannabee,
Where ever you "domicile", you can come back and visit in CA anytime for any length of time. However, if you park in the same driveway with an out of state tag for a really long time... someone might become suspicious??? As long as your documents are all the same address, no one can questiuon that!! As far as we are concerned, we LIVE in SD and travel the country... and SD is fine with that. We also had to sign an affidavit indicating we would return to SD if we ever stopped RV'ing...no biggie....
I would be very cautious of the "Montana LLC" idea.... Basically, you set up a LLC in Montana and register your RV through the LLC (tough to finance!!!)... you pay no Sales Tax and save a bundle..... However, many states are wise to that and really watching for those RV's with Montana tags..... I've read in various states now they are literally knocking on your door to verify where you really live and states are going after Sales Tax revenue!!!
Again, you have plenty of time...do your research.... if you are truly going Full Time, get out of California (at least legally with no CA address!!!)
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Old 09-08-2010, 05:33 AM   #14
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How bad?

Every once in a while I read where someone gets busted for the Montana LLC or the out of state tags, but the stories are sparse. I've never read where someone got pulled over while driving down the road solely based on their tags. I'm curious as to how often it actually happens?

There are a couple of ways to evaluate risk. The first is what are the odds that it will happen? The second is what is the cost if it does? Once you determine that you can decide if the risk outweighs the benefit.

I think the Montana LLC makes more sense because residency is not necessary. Residency is a separate issue. Many companies incorporate in states where the tax climate is more favorable and they use the laws to their advantage. If it's okay for them why is it wrong for us?
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