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Les&Elaine

RV taxes and annual fees

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We are from Scotland and looking to buy an RV in the States to use as a holiday home. Can anyone tell us how the road tax/vehicle license fees work in the States? Is there an annual fee to pay to keep your RV on the road and does it vary from state to state. We will be buying a 30ft C class, probably 4-5 years old. Thanks very much!

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It varies by each state. I would think that SD might be the best place as there is no yearly inspections.

Edited by rynosback

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The United States is comprised of 50 sovereign States each with its own laws, just like the European Union, but also subject to Federal Laws under the US Constitution. Each State has its own rules and fees regarding the registration of vehicles. You may not be required to have a drivers license, varies by State, but you will need an address somewhere to register your vehicle. Thru the Escapees RV Club you can purchase a mail forwarding address in Texas, Florida or South Dakota. Each of the 3 has its own rules. One advantage of SD is that you can register by mail and no inspection is required. Also no special license, such as a commercial license, is required. 

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18 hours ago, Les&Elaine said:

Is there an annual fee to pay to keep your RV on the road and does it vary from state to state.

In order to license and insure any vehicle in the US, you must first have an address to use for that purpose. Many people from UK and other countries find that the best way to do that is by first joining the Escapees RV Club and then getting an address through them. In addition to the provision of an address to use, Escapees have an extensive support system for RV travelers. While you can use your present driving license to travel by RV here, most find that the cost of insurance is enough less to justify taking the trouble to get a US license in the state that you choose to register the RV in. You will also need to have a place to store the RV when not in the US and many find it much more practical to use either Texas or Florida as an address because of the access to an international airport. I have known folks who used TX and flew into either Dallas or Houston. You could probably do the same thing from Miami. Until you have an address there is no way to register any vehicle here. There is also a very large dealer of used RVs in Houston who sells to folks from overseas and is familiar with the use of an Escapees address. I would suggest at least considering PPL Motorhomes, as they have locations in both Houston and Dallas. 

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Each year you will need to renew license plate, fees vary by state. Some states require inspections.  Those inspections can be full safety inspection or just exhaust emissions tests.  Your big tax hit will be sales tax at time of purchase. Where you buy or register it can have a big impact on this tax. Best case a low state tax, worst case is state tax, county tax and city tax added on. Registering my new tow vehicle and 5th wheel in a small town in Florida vs Chicago saved me over 4000 dollars.  Advertised and negotiated pricing never include taxes unless you push for out-the-door pricing.

 

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Thanks for all the helpful replies. Sounds like SD might be best. If we register it there do we have to store it there or can we store it in any state? Sales tax is not a problem as the dealer we're buying from has already said if we buy from him (in NV) and register it in another state then he won't charge us tax.

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1) You can store it in any State no matter what State it is registured in. 

2) Even tho the dealer in NV will not collect sales tax, you will still have to pay sales tax to the State you register in. South Dakota, an address you can get thru Escapees, is only 4% of the sales price. One of the lowest in the USA. States like California are some of the highest, I think around 10%. I think  Texas and Florida are about 7%. Not sure. 
 

3) in addition to sales tax you will have to pay the registration fee, collected every year. So Dakota also has low registration fees. 
 

4) No matter where you register it you will have to insure it. SO Dakota has some of the lowest insurance rates in the USA. Insurance, however, is priced according to the area of the State you registure in, not just the State. For example, Houston TX insurance rates are a lot higher than a small town in TX, due to less population and chances of having a claim. 

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6 hours ago, Les&Elaine said:

Thanks for all the helpful replies. Sounds like SD might be best. If we register it there do we have to store it there or can we store it in any state? Sales tax is not a problem as the dealer we're buying from has already said if we buy from him (in NV) and register it in another state then he won't charge us tax.

He is charging you tax, as it can not be avoided. He is just raising the sales price of the rig to cover it. Typical salesman, LOL. Or maybe he is giving you a temp tag and having you do all of the tax and tag and title work.

You can store it where ever you like with valid tags.

Edited by rynosback

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Vehicle tax is usually left uncharged or forwarded to the state where the vehicle will be registered.  We have purchased vehicles outside of our state and the dealers have either forwarded the tax to our state or didn't collect taxes.  Unpaid taxes would then be collected when the vehicle is registered.  We have run into salesmen that insisted on collecting local taxes but it has been waived upon further investigation.  If not I wouldn't  have purchased the vehicle.  If the state where the vehicle is registered doesn't tax vehicles then no tax should be paid.

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8 hours ago, Les&Elaine said:

Thanks for all the helpful replies. Sounds like SD might be best. If we register it there do we have to store it there or can we store it in any state? Sales tax is not a problem as the dealer we're buying from has already said if we buy from him (in NV) and register it in another state then he won't charge us tax.

Right!

BUT the state you bring it to WILL charge sales tax on top of registration when you bring it there! Usually only state sales tax. Certain cities and counties can exorbitant; can vary from less than 6% to over 10%. So research this as this also varies. 

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8 hours ago, Les&Elaine said:

Thanks for all the helpful replies. Sounds like SD might be best. If we register it there do we have to store it there or can we store it in any state? Sales tax is not a problem as the dealer we're buying from has already said if we buy from him (in NV) and register it in another state then he won't charge us tax.

The issue of where you store the RV is one with more than one possible answer. States do have laws about how long a vehicle can stay in the state without being registered there, but in many cases the laws are not strictly enforced, particularly toward storage facilities, so it probably won't be an issue. Sales tax will have to be paid in the state where you register it, if it has not been previously paid. The amount of that tax varies by state and in the case of SD, the tax is  currently 4% of the purchase price and it will have to be paid when you register it in SD. 

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9 hours ago, Les&Elaine said:

Thanks again for all the helpful replies. Sounds like SD is the way to go!

Be aware that the Escapees South Dakota facility is ONLY for mail. If you want help with registrations. etc. you need a full service provider like the one that has its own campground. Someone will be along soon to provide the name I can't remember. :)

Linda

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Some states also charge a property tax on RV's. South Carolina is one of them and can be very expensive each year. On the sales tax, South Carolina is actually pretty good as it Max's out at $500.00. Lots of different rules depending on what state you register in. 

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Surprisingly, NY State is one of the cheaper states for motorhome registrations. Passenger vehicles (includes motorhomes) that weigh over 6,950 lbs are flat rated at $70/yr payable every two years. NY does not have a personal property tax, but a few counties add a ~$25/yr mass transit fee and/or ~$5/yr vehicle use tax that's collected with the registration fee. On the negative side, NY's sales tax is 8% in most counties, with a max of 8.875% in the others.

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8 hours ago, Dutch_12078 said:

Surprisingly, NY State is one of the cheaper states for motorhome registrations. Passenger vehicles (includes motorhomes) that weigh over 6,950 lbs are flat rated at $70/yr payable every two years. 

Minnesota beats that. RV registrations are $25 year. At least they were when I licensed my last one in 2011. The clerk couldn't believe that's all I owed on my brand new Mercedes Sprinter since most vehicles are taxed based on value. 

Linda Sand

 

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Colorado is expensive. The fees are based on value as the state sees it.  Our 99 Teton is over $300 a year.  Colorado passed some laws restricting tax increases without voter approval.  So they increase fees as they call them and vehicle registrations have skyrocketed. 

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On 6/4/2020 at 4:35 PM, sandsys said:

Be aware that the Escapees South Dakota facility is ONLY for mail. If you want help with registrations. etc. you need a full service provider like the one that has its own campground. Someone will be along soon to provide the name I can't remember. :)

Linda

Linda. I think you are talking about America’s Mailbox. They are in Box Elder a suburb of Rapid City and have their own camp ground. But you can do everything in person yourself and stay at any camp ground or hotel in the State for one night. Just need to join Escapees first and sign up for their mail forwarding in So Dakota to get a So Dakota address. You only need to stay one night for the drivers license. The registration can be done in person or by mail. 

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2 hours ago, sandsys said:

Minnesota beats that. RV registrations are $25 year. At least they were when I licensed my last one in 2011. The clerk couldn't believe that's all I owed on my brand new Mercedes Sprinter since most vehicles are taxed based on value. 

Linda Sand

 

Does the MN personal property tax apply to RV's? NY doesn't have one...

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7 hours ago, Twotoes said:

Linda. I think you are talking about America’s Mailbox. They are in Box Elder a suburb of Rapid City and have their own camp ground. But you can do everything in person yourself and stay at any camp ground or hotel in the State for one night. Just need to join Escapees first and sign up for their mail forwarding in So Dakota to get a So Dakota address. You only need to stay one night for the drivers license. The registration can be done in person or by mail. 

Yes, you can do it yourself if you go there. Some people prefer to register a vehicle before making the trip to get a driver's license. Or buy a different vehicle later as we did. Just be sure where you stay is in the same county where you domicile if you want to vote and that, if there are two of you, both names are on the receipt.

Linda

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6 hours ago, Dutch_12078 said:

Does the MN personal property tax apply to RV's? NY doesn't have one...

We don't have personal property tax. We do have sales tax with some exemptions like groceries, clothes, and text books. People come to the Mall of America to buy clothes because their money goes further with no tax on them.

Linda

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6 hours ago, sandsys said:

We don't have personal property tax.

Are you suggesting that MN should be the choice for fulltimer domicile? Having spent a great deal of time there before I retired from 32 years with 3M, you are the first person I've heard suggest that. 

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7 hours ago, sandsys said:

We don't have personal property tax. We do have sales tax with some exemptions like groceries, clothes, and text books. People come to the Mall of America to buy clothes because their money goes further with no tax on them.

Linda

Ahh, my mistake then... I thought I recalled someone mentioning MN's personal property tax recently.

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6 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Are you suggesting that MN should be the choice for fulltimer domicile? Having spent a great deal of time there before I retired from 32 years with 3M, you are the first person I've heard suggest that. 

No. It's a good base for retired part-timers, though. The state is very focused on outdoor activities so we have lots of places for camping, fishing, hiking, etc., even having a national park, a national monument, and many historical sites. You could spend many summers here without seeing it all. But, we are not income tax free so you need to see what that means for you.

Linda

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My husband and I will become RV owners next year going full time. In choosing a domicile, I see SD mentioned so often with no income ax, low sales tax 4%, RV friendly, etc. But I wonder what makes SD such an optimal choice among full timers when it appears Wyoming looks as if it mirrors SD in almost every aspect. Can anyone say what about SD is better than WY?

 

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