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Old 07-18-2018, 01:07 AM   #1
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Choosing state to register

I have a unique situation, and I am looking for advice.

I own multiple homes and properties personally (not via an llc). The homes are in Texas and Florida. I also own land in Flathead county, MT, where I plan on building another home.

My primary residence is Texas, as that is where I claim homestead and register to vote.

I have cars registered in Texas, that are garaged there and rarely leave.

I have cars registered in Florida that are garaged there and rarely leave.

Now we get to the heart of the question, and that is the motorhome.

It will travel with me (or I with it?) Between homes. It could be out of Texas less than 180 days, could be more. Depends on the year.

I would like to register it in Montana, and pay my taxes there, but for insurance and loan purposes, use my primary residence as the garage address.

This seems to be exactly what Montana LLC do. The difference is I actually own property in Montana, and spend 4 months a year there.

Any advice?
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Old 07-18-2018, 06:58 AM   #2
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The first thing you need to do is to research the residency requirements for Texas. Next you will need to check out the sales and use tax laws for Texas. If you can comply with the requirements of both of those sets of laws then you are probably good to go with the Montana LLC. Make sure that you can document your compliance with the laws of Texas. Even if you comply you could be up the proverbial creek if you can't document your compliance.


Now there will be those that will respond and say just contact XYZ law firm in Two Mules, Montana and they will give you the correct information. I contacted one of the premier law firms in Montana about setting up a Montana LLC for our rig. They said no problem. When I checked out the regs for NY there is no way I could comply. In other words be careful of those with a vested interest in you using their services.


One last caution. Even if you comply with all aspects of the law and you can document your compliance, you may be faced with an expensive task of defending your choice. Remember that in taxation the burden of proof is on the taxpayer, not the state.
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Old 07-18-2018, 07:27 AM   #3
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I don't want or intend to do a Montana LLC. My question is in regard to owning property in Montana and on that basis registering the RV in the county that I have the property, and spend 4 months a year.
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Old 07-18-2018, 08:41 AM   #4
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I don't want or intend to do a Montana LLC. My question is in regard to owning property in Montana and on that basis registering the RV in the county that I have the property, and spend 4 months a year.

It would probably come down to where that vehicle is garaged in the eyes of the DMV and your insurance company. Your situation is almost like a full timer but one with several residences. It is not unusual for us to have clients with vehicles registered here in NY and in Florida or Texas so I would think, and think is the operative word, that the location in which you spend the most time would be the RV's location.
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Old 07-18-2018, 10:24 AM   #5
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I don't want or intend to do a Montana LLC. My question is in regard to owning property in Montana and on that basis registering the RV in the county that I have the property, and spend 4 months a year.
After a brief look at Montana DMV page, it seems like you could register the MH in Montana as a temporary resident, based on your time and ownership of property. That would entail paying certain fees based on your MH's age. https://www.dmv.org/mt-montana/other...f-vehicles.php


However, it's not clear to me as to your reasoning. You will be paying Montana fees for registration, but your title, loan, and insurance are still based in Texas, and Texas will still collect any taxes on the vehicle. If you are trying to save a bit on taxes, then that would require titling and registering in Montana--at least that's how I'm understanding this situation.
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Old 07-18-2018, 10:30 AM   #6
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Not a lawyer, but I think your garaging address for insurance and loan purposes has to be the same as the registration address, otherwise you're committing fraud one way or the other.

The sales tax issue you can probably get away with, if you initially buy and register the RV in Montana, and don't bring it to Texas for at least six months (need to check on that). Then change the registration to Texas. That's more than your usual four months away, but it would only be the one time.
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Old 07-18-2018, 10:37 AM   #7
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FWIW I wonder if the cost in Texas would be that much higher than Montana. I do see a lot of folks opting for Texas via the Escapees so I have to wonder how much you would save. Especially how much you would save after doing a lot of explaining.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:04 AM   #8
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What is your intent?

Registering MH in MT vs TX.....what does that accomplish ?

Register/pay taxes...MT
Insurance/loan.......TX

That's a 'Catch 22' situation
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Old 07-18-2018, 03:02 PM   #9
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If I title in Montana, I save taxes.
Insurance is cheaper in texas.
Time spent is equal, so there is not a legal issue, but an issue of titling one place and insuring for another.

Keep in mind, this is not cheating laws, as I own real property and use it personally. No one place has my coach for more than 120 days consecutive, so this is an odd situation.

Obviously I am asking to have my cake and eat it too.

It may be that this is such a unique situation that I need an attorney's advice.
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Old 07-18-2018, 03:05 PM   #10
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Well, that's the point. Titling (registering) in one location but insuring for another isn't allowed. I think that's considered insurance fraud. If it's only the sales taxes you're concerned with, I pointed out a solution already. If it's ongoing registration fees or property taxes, then you still have a problem.

Your ownership of real property in each state is irrelevant to the situation. You could be a renter in both locations and it would be the same.
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Old 07-18-2018, 03:17 PM   #11
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The use of word fraud seems strong. It certainly is not Fraud if this is disclosed to the insurance agent/company and underwritten that way.

Your point is valid that this may be not be accepted. I will have to ask my agent this question.

Again to be clear, I am trying to legally reduce my tax liability. I do not have a garage in Montana or Florida for the rv. When it is not in use, it is parked in Texas in a garage.

I am not a fulltimer.

The amount of not used is less no more than 90 days at a time, and often less.

For non fulltime insurance they dont care how often you use it, just where is it garaged. My only answer legally can be Texas.

I will check with my insurance agent and see what I am told.
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Old 07-18-2018, 03:22 PM   #12
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The use of word fraud seems strong. It certainly is not Fraud if this is disclosed to the insurance agent/company and underwritten that way.

Your point is valid that this may be not be accepted. I will have to ask my agent this question.
That's the right thing to do. In my experience, they won't write a policy for an out-of-state registration. Getting one by not telling them where it's actually garaged would be fraud.

Also, sounds like you have a loan on the RV (or will have). I expect the same situation will apply. The bank will expect the title to match the loan.
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Old 07-18-2018, 03:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by redbaron73 View Post
If I title in Montana, I save taxes.
Insurance is cheaper in texas.
Time spent is equal, so there is not a legal issue, but an issue of titling one place and insuring for another.

Keep in mind, this is not cheating laws, as I own real property and use it personally. No one place has my coach for more than 120 days consecutive, so this is an odd situation.

Obviously I am asking to have my cake and eat it too.

It may be that this is such a unique situation that I need an attorney's advice.
I'd also a just throw the possibility of the llc on the table as it might just make it simpler, when you talk to the Lawyer, as the MH in an LLC can be in any state.

JMHO,
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Old 07-18-2018, 04:00 PM   #14
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I agree that the Montana LLC would solve all issues. It just seems logical that I meet all of the tests to do it naturally.
Since I have a trade, the sales tax savings is not huge, but enough to warrant thought and research.

The LLC has a few drawbacks that I want to avoid. I think I will have a tougher argument if and when the Texas tax assessor visits my garage if I am using an LLC vs natural title.

I have already dealt with this when I drove my Florida car to Texas and left it for a few months. My business was being audited for sales and use tax at the time, and it was parked in the driveway.

Once I proved that it was legally registered in Florida, problem resolved. The fact that I owned a home there was all that mattered at the time.

My business is an LLC and is registered in Florida and Texas, so I can also do the same with vehicles that way, but it does not save me tax.

I dont want to pay a state income tax, so I am careful NOT to own business property in Montana and not to conduct business in Montana.
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