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Old 05-06-2014, 03:41 PM   #1
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Out of home state mail boxes and vehicle registrations

I am new to irv2 and have been looking into a South Dakota or Texas mailing address to register my vehicles and trailer due to excessive CA reg fees and taxes. We are home owners in CA but are retired and traveling a lot more. What are the guide lines to having residencies in RV friendlier states?

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Old 05-06-2014, 03:51 PM   #2
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:59 PM   #3
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If you're currently a CA resident, you're pretty much going to have to cut ALL ties to CA, including selling your home there, to get away from CA taxes. The FTB is notoriously hard to convince that you're no longer a resident. You could try to change your domicile to SD, TX, or FL without selling your home, but you're going to be fighting them every year to prove you're no longer a CA resident.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:09 PM   #4
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The way you worded the question makes your intentions a bit confused. Since you are already a California resident and homeowner, the critical step in changing your domicile is actually moving out of California. You can not continue to live in your Ca home and use an out of state mailing address just to avoid taxes/fees. If it was your intention to move into your RV and stay on the road travelling the majority of the year; then yes you can move to SD or TX. This involves moving all of your personal accounts, your voter registration, your will, all your mail, your drivers license, and all your vehicle registrations to that same new home state.
While technically just owning a home in Ca that only gets used for short, temporary visits, should not be a problem. When that home has been your long term permanent Ca residence, it makes it much more difficult to convince the Ca FTB that you have really moved out of Ca.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:16 PM   #5
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:47 PM   #6
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Old 05-06-2014, 05:42 PM   #7
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:34 PM   #8
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:28 PM   #9
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Do you travel more than 6 months out of the year and can you prove it with a travel log and receipts? If the answer is yes, then you can "move" to SD or TX and CA can't and won't do anything about it even if you own property there.

We did it back in '03 and here is how we did it:
1. Get a mailing address in the state and change all your mail to that address
2. Get your drivers license in the state you move to
3. Register your vehicles there change insurance policies to reflect the new address and register to vote.
4. Move your monetary accounts there
5. Do your federal taxes with the new address
6. Redo your will or trust to the new state

CA will contact you via letter asking why you didn't file your state taxes for XX year. You can write back or better yet have your accountant send them a letter stating you moved out of the state on XX date. You will owe CA tax for any portion of a year you lived there before the move however. You will get a letter back from CA stating thank you blah,blah. The next year you will get another letter. Send them a copy of the first letter restating you have moved along with a copy of their return correspondence. You might get a third letter like I did at which time you send them a copy of the correspondence from the first two times they contacted you. This time you tell them you consider this harassment and don't bother you again. The end.

Now about your house. You can keep your house in CA,no problem. Just keep good paperwork about your out of state time. You can also claim the homeowners exemption on your house IF you occupy it on January first of the year you are going to claim it. No problem here either.

Just remember, if you are ever going to sell your CA house, you have to live in it for 3 out of the last 5 years of ownership to get the $500,000 exemption for income purposes.

Just don't let CA try and bluff you as they will
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:22 PM   #10
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Thank you for your info, you were very informative. We are not ready for all of that yet. I would love to just sell the house but mama ain't ready to give up her Castle yet!
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:02 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by prodhair View Post
Thank you for your info, you were very informative. We are not ready for all of that yet. I would love to just sell the house but mama ain't ready to give up her Castle yet!
We kept our CA house and sold it at the last minute so that we could take advantage of the $500K deduction. We then took the $$ and built a house in WA and had a lot of bux left over. WA tax board tried to get me for vehicle registration but I had all the ducks in line and they too backed off.

It is kinda funny when I pull my boat with a WA license on it with my SD registered Jeep. I did get ask once about it as to why was the boat and trailer registered in WA and the Jeep not. I kindly explained that I bought the boat in WA, therefore registering it there, however I am a resident of SD and I am not in the state of WA more than 6 months and 5 was more like it. I do get some looks at the launch ramp.

I also bought a new Jeep in WA and only paid the sales tax to the state of SD. That saved me 5.5% sales tax.
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:34 AM   #12
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Just to clarify the law on selling your principal residence. It must have been your principal residence any two of the preceding five years. Once you reach the three year mark of no longer claiming your California house as your principal residence any gain will be taxable.

The key to any claim of changing residences is documentation. Make sure you have solid records of your time in CA and outside of it. Many states like CA, NY, MA, and others are very aggressive in trying to locate those who say they've moved, but really haven't moved.
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:01 PM   #13
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Old 05-07-2014, 07:47 PM   #14
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I can't give any tax advice but I'm pretty sure you can't just go and get a P.O. Box anymore without a physical address.
The last time I tried to rent one for a business I had(which was several years ago), I remember it was a big hassle, much bigger than it should have been. One thing that sticks in my mind about it was, I had to have a physical address to tie it to.
I eventually gave up after never hearing back about the approval and used my home address.

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