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Old 05-07-2014, 02:00 PM   #1
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Registration Question

Pardon me if this is a repeat. Here's the situation. We're full timers and loving it. We also still own property in CA. My accountant warned me about living in the house 3 out of 5 years for tax reasons. Our solution to that was to offer one of our kids a deal to "house sit" for us. We pay the bills - everything is still in our name - and they pay us that cost. we're just on an extended vacation. This is a great deal for them at $600/mo under market rates, and I know the place is being well cared for.

Now I'm wondering if I need to keep my vehicles registered there. Does it matter exactly which state I'm registered in? We're thinking SD because of the lower rates - registration for sure, and hopefully insurance.

Anyone out there up to speed on this one?

Thanks in advance,
Rob Cook
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Old 05-07-2014, 02:24 PM   #2
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Old 05-07-2014, 04:43 PM   #3
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I'm not sure what the question is. You can title and register the vehicles in any state that will accept your application. There is no intrinsic need to register where you own property, whether you live in it or not. However, and it's a big one, if you keep a vehicle in the same state where you also keep a private residence, that state may demand that you also register the vehicle there. That's a fairly common requirement for "residents" - they don't want you to pay your vehicle fees somewhere else.

So, your decision to maintain a CA residence may also mean that you need to maintain CA vehicle registrations. And pay CA taxes and other state requirements. You may need to consider the tax consequences of keeping the residence as opposed to letting it become rental or investment property. Your accountant can help with that. He is probably only considering the income tax ramifications of residence vs commercial property. You have to deal with the other effects as well.
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:07 PM   #4
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The 3 out of 5 comes into play when and if you want to sell and take the $500,000 deduction for gains purposes. You can let your house sit there forever and there is no tax consequences until you get ready to sell.

The way it sounds, you are still a resident of CA. In that case you have to have your vehicles registered there. You cannot register in a cheap state and be a resident of another
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dons2346 View Post
You cannot register in a cheap state and be a resident of another
You can, but don't get caught!
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Old 05-09-2014, 06:55 AM   #6
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Just to clarify the home sale exclusion. It must be your principal residence for any TWO of the preceding five years, not three. As long as you are still registered to vote in CA, have CA driver's licenses, and continue to file CA income taxes you will probably considered to be CA residents. Most people seem to be wanting to avoid being CA residents but I can understand in regard to the home sale exclusion. You should probably weigh how much it is costing you to be CA residents against how much you would lose on the home sale exclusion.

There may be another better alternative. You can sell your CA residence to your kids and take advantage of the full exclusion. You can hold the mortgage on the CA house. There are no restrictions on the sale of a residence to relatives. I would make sure you got a certified appraisal before you do the sale if you decide to go this route.

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