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Old 03-11-2013, 05:50 PM   #1
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Before I contact a lawyer

The state of Indiana charges an excise tax on recreational vehicles. This tax replaces a personal property tax (2 or 3 years ago).

Here's my problem. The State of Indiana wanted to avoid the work involved in determining the value of a vehicle so they ask two questions: 1) what's the model year of your vehicle, and 2) what was the MSRP of your unit?

It's the second question that trips my trigger. The VALUE of anything is, and should be, what someon is willing to pay for it. My DP had a MSRP of $203,000 and I would not have purchased it for that amount. I settled on a selling price of $137,000 (that included a trade-in for around $16,000).

My question is: Can the state legally charge a tax on a vehicle using a sales figure that everyone knows is rarely, if ever, the VALUE of the vehicle?

My first year's tax was $2,300. My second year's tax was $2,300 because my vehicle was still considered new (I plated the vehicle in September). My third year (this year) is $2,100. Seems like a money grab to me.

The state of Indiana showed its brillance by attaching the excise tax to the licensing of vehicles instead of the property tax that local assessors kept very careful track of. DO YOU KNOW JUST HOW MANY UNLICENSED (a permanently parked in campgrounds) VEHICLES THERE ARE NOW IN INDIANA. Millions of dollars in taxes are not being collected as they once were (unless my very high rate makes up for this noncollection).

Should I consult a lawyer to sue the state?

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Old 03-11-2013, 05:55 PM   #2
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That depends on how much extra money you have to chase a lost cause...

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Old 03-11-2013, 05:58 PM   #3
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Ours taxes was bases on price paid. What did your dealer report to state as sale price. Would take documents that shows sales price and send to state and see if they will adjust. Don't bother tryng to sue the state, will cost you more for lawer then what ever you might save.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:05 PM   #4
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Michigan charges annual license plate fees based on MSRP at time of manf. - even if the coach is 15+ years old. What it's actually worth or what I paid for it not relevant. How's that for fair?

So I found I can put temporary plates on it. Don't have to buy annual. So that's what I do. Costs me about half as much, and cost them several times as much to administer. Let the cards fall where they may....
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:25 PM   #5
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Most lawyers already have already accomplished nothing for their clients and charged far to much.
Just give 1 or $2,000 to someone who needs it and pay the state what everyone in your situation has to pay, (IMO you will be money ahead).
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:47 PM   #6
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My question is: Can the state legally charge a tax on a vehicle using a sales figure that everyone knows is rarely, if ever, the VALUE of the vehicle?
I am not a lawyer, but, IMO, if the state law says the MSRP is to be used to determine the tax, then it is legal for them to do so. The question really becomes, are you willing and have the resources to become a test case to question the validity? Alternately, do you have enough influence with a state legislator to get them to sponsor and push a bill to change the law?
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:23 PM   #7
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Since you asked about the question about the "Sales Tax" and not the licensing fee, Michigan Law reads the tax will be what you actually paid for the vehicle, OR the NADA book value, WHICH ever is "GREATER".As for Indiana, I am confident that their Attorney General has checked the legality and you would be wasting your money and time.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:24 PM   #8
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Montana ! that's what I did . No sales tax
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:40 PM   #9
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so just exactly what is your gripe?

to be fair, here's my history - grew up in Indiana and went to college there, stayed until 1990 before I moved out west. I had to take a course in Indiana government which included the history of Indiana property tax policy. In the 1970s, there was no sales tax and tax assessors came around and assessed the value of all your "stuff", property and everything on it. The reform was to remove the "stuff' and and replace it with a simple property tax (real property) followed up with excise taxes for vehicles and sales taxes for "stuff".

I vaguely remember the days of the assessor coming around and people trying to hide all their "stuff", and later recognized the state's difficulties in trying to determine the fair value of used "stuff".

for all the bitching and moaning that goes on on IRV2 about taxes, it's still for the most part a lot of wealthy people complaining about paying their fair share, and the argument about what constitutes "fair".

Last year I sold my mom's house on the east side of Indy for $42,500. It was 750 sq ft. My property taxes were about $3K/yr, which is 3x the amount I pay on a 2100 sq ft house in Cali. Of course the income tax in Indiana is somewhat less than that in Cali. Bottom line is that it takes "X" amount of dollars to run a government, and while they differ in how they collect it, it's interesting how consistent they are in collecting a given amount of money per income level.

Noblesville is probably the highest per-capita income location in the state, and you live there and own a nearly new 38' DP which is worth several times the value of a house in the state. IF you dropped the value to sales price vs MSRP you stand to save what - 10K over the life of the state's depreciation? and for that you want to sue the state on what's likely a constitutional issue? Just exactly how does the cost/benefit equation work out on that?

Sorry, but I think a drive down Kentucky avenue on the Southwest side might provide some perspective.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:05 AM   #10
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Are you a gambler? You could find out what the fee for having expired plates are and assuming its less than $2300 you could just let them expire and hope you don't get caught. Every year you get by money ahead. Get caught and its the price of plates and the ticket.

When I bought my coach the plate Bracket wasnt included. I did buy my plates which in Ohio is only like $48 with an RV that also had an original msrp around 200k. But I couldn't put the plate on before our first trip. Then I forgot for a while then remembered to buy a brkt. Then another month went by even was stopped in Indiana by a state trooper because I had a strap come lose on my tow Dolley and the nice officer stopped me to let me know. No mention that I had no plates on the RV. Then I just wanted to see if I really needed them. So I went all summer never put them on front or back and was never even asked about them. At $2300 I would be tempted to take the risk. But have at least expired ones that match as not to get your vehicle towed. Imo
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:31 AM   #11
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MOVE it will cost less and do more.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Theberrys View Post
MOVE it will cost less and do more.

Example: in PA it is $81, whether it is a tiny C or a Prevost.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:56 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Papawto5 View Post
My question is: Can the state legally charge a tax on a vehicle using a sales figure that everyone knows is rarely, if ever, the VALUE of the vehicle?

I'm in Texas.
And apparently they can. I personally can't see how it's legal, but they're doing it here and it's unchallenged.
It's called "presumptive" sales tax.

That is, if I buy a non-running vehicle for $500, they charge me book value on it. The only way to get around is to:
1) Buy it from a licensed dealer (hmm, wonder who got that added to the law?)
2) Have it appraised by a licensed dealer
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Old 03-12-2013, 04:13 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Theberrys View Post
MOVE it will cost less and do more.
Exactly why my house is currently on the market.

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