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SD Wheel Tax


JRP

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Depending on when your vehicle renewals are due and which county your domicile is in, you may see a surprise addition to this years fees.

As part of the state law passed earlier to increase SD state vehicle related fees, there was a hidden item that requires all SD counties to enact a "wheel tax" if they want to continue receiving the 80% matching funds from the state for any local highway/bridge project funding.

Previously the wheel tax was left up to each individual county and only a few of them had enacted a wheel tax. Now it looks like most are eventually going to give in to the state pressure and pass either a $4 or $5 per wheel tax in addition to existing vehicle renewal fees.

Many of the smaller counties have already given in and recently passed new wheel tax laws. Some of the larger counties, including Pennington, are still holding out.

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Hanson County has no wheel tax yet. Our mail is out of Emery, SD with My Home Address.

 

Read page 2 of the attached minutes from your last County Board meeting, as of 7/1/2015 you have a wheel tax. Although Hanson County kept it very low at $2 a wheel, most others are $4 or $5. As I noted above, many of the counties that never had a wheel tax, are now being pressured by the state to enact one if they want to receive state money to help fund the County road/bridge projects. These changes are just now taking place in many of the counties.

http://www.districtiii.org/hanson_minutes/May_05_2015.pdf

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I have been flip flopping between TX and SD as to which to choose for my domicile state. I was leaning slightly toward SD, but now that they have 3 recent strikes against them, the wheel tax (along with the recent registration and tax increases) being the third, the unavailability of health insurance and the requirement to return every 5 years and spend a night rather than every 10 yrs for DL renewal being the second and third, so I am now leaning in the direction of TX to call home. Politicians need to realize that their state is essentially in the customer service business, competing with other states for a full-timer's business in the free market. Their potential domicile customers can and will leave (we all have wheels) if thy feel they can get a better value for their money elsewhere. Whenever any business chooses to raise the price of its product or service some customers will leave and shop at their competition. Finding a balance that maximizes revenue is difficult. They may have pushed many over the edge with this last straw breaking the camels back, at least for this dromedary.

 

I guess time will tell, as it will be 3 more years before I go FT and who knows what will transpire in the meantime. But for now, It's howdy pardner! I will endure TX's annual vehicle inspections, which was my hang-up with TX, having experienced the graft and corruption associated with similar "safety inspections" (actually shakedown scams) in both Louisiana and California. Hopefully TX will be different. One can always hope, because (to quote the immortal words of Led Zeppelin) "Cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do you no good. When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move."

 

Chip

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In the grand scheme of things I don't see this as a deal breaker. We have paid wheel tax in Lake County since we started. When I factor everything together this is still cheaper than paying property tax and all the other assorted expenses if living in a stick and brick house.

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I will endure TX's annual vehicle inspections, which was my hang-up with TX, having experienced the graft and corruption associated with similar "safety inspections" (actually shakedown scams) in both Louisiana and California. Hopefully TX will be different. One can always hope, because (to quote the immortal words of Led Zeppelin) "Cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do you no good. When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move."

 

Chip

If you don't come into the state, you don't need to have your vehicle inspected until you do. Assuming you register your vehicle in Livingston (Escapees) there is no emission inspection required. Just be sure you don't go to the large city areas for an inspection, as they are required to do the emissions inspection no matter where you are registered.

 

I always do my own vehicle inspection before taking it to someplace to have it inspected. Just make sure all the lights work, windshield wipers are in good shape and the brakes are good. In 50 years of living in Texas I have not had anyone try to "scam" me on inspections.

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The big scam item used to be headlight alignments in La. You couldn't get an inspection without having yours aligned, (even if you just had them aligned - a headlight can be brought out of alignment simply by turning a screw -not to say they would, but...) cause I guess they couldn't make enough money on inspections. Now it is windshields. Two small chips (or one good sized one) and they will refuse to give you your "bake tag" till they repair it. Of course you could take to someone else, but then they will issue you a rejection sticker and you must come back to that same station, and pay again if it takes too long to get it fixed and get your tag - or they can inject the chip for you and you can finish up while you're there, (I think the going rate is $50/chip) your choice. Don't even get me started on California emission compliance - very expensive if you have an older car. Don't ask me how I know, plus they will ticket you if you are in the process of getting your car repaired for the tag if you drive it in the mean time, even to the inspection station without a current tag. I don't mind paying for needed repairs to keep my vehicle safe - I will do this anyway, as should everyone. But some of this stuff is just BS to line the pockets of the privately owned and operated inspection stations. I've since learned the local "customs" in Louisiana. Just tip the inspector $20 and if you have well maintained vehicle (no obvious defects like a missing catalytic converter or a big crack across the windshield) and you will pass with flying colors, no questions asked, without them measuring the wheel and headlight alignment, checking for uneven tread wear (to sell an alignment), oil misting around the shocks (so they can sell new shocks), lit check engine light, etc. in an effort to drum up business. Twenty bucks is cheap insurance, I just hate paying the graft even if it were only $1 - it rubs me the wrong way. But it sounds like the good folk in TX don't play those games - maybe they pay them more to do the inspections in TX than they do here.

 

Chip

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The Texas inspection stations, in non-emission counties, charge under $15. Hardly worth their while.

 

Lately I have been getting my inspections at a national chain oil change shop. In general they do a very quick inspection. Lights, windshield wipers and a 10 foot drive to check the brakes. Some times they don't even drive the vehicle, just have me pull it up. Yes they could make money from windshield wipers and light bulbs, but I make sure I check and repair them before going. One thing they are doing, they pop the air filter out and suggest they put a new one in. Even if it looks clean they suggest it could be replaced.

 

While I had my 26' class C MH I took it to the oil change shop. It didn't fit in the bay, but they inspected it. When I had my diesel pusher, I took it to truck repair place. Typically they really don't want to work on RV's in the first place, so they did a quickie inspection an got rid of me.

 

One year I went to an "Official Texas" inspection station. I'm sure they are privately owned, and not state associated. They did a longer more thorough inspection, including attaching something to the gas cap to be sure it vented or didn't vent properly, whatever it is supposed to do. That is the first time in 50 years of living in Texas that I had anyone check the gas cap. I'm sure they had the replacement cap to sell me. I won't go back. I felt they were looking hard to find something to fix.

 

No matter where I go for the inspection, I stand around and watch the inspection. I won't go into the waiting area and sit while they inspect my vehicle.

 

As far as I know there is no Texas inspection requirement for chips in the windshield. I don't know about a big crack across the window.

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When we began full timing ten years ago, two things about being a South Dakota resident stood out; the low excise tax (then 3%, now 4) and the lower vehicle insurance. In the years since, we've bought two motorhomes and five tow vehicles, saving over $10,000 in sales tax over what we'd have paid in Texas. This is why I don't consider the wheel tax a burden.

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It's not really a burden, Keith K, it's nickel and dime. 12 wheels times $4 = $48/yr - penny ante in the overall scheme of things. I just don't like the idea of blackmail, and it seems that is just what greedy state politicians are doing to counties who want to hold their citizen's taxes down. They are forcing them to do something they don't want to do, by threatening to withhold what is rightfully theirs, yet they readily accept the county's share of funds from registrations, licenses, traffic fines and other fees collected. It just rubs me the wrong way, that's all. If I can do anything to voice my opinion to the contrary, by withholding my financial support from the state in protest - even if it costs me more in the long run, I'll gladly do so. If the counties had voted and voluntarily decided to adopt wheel taxes for road improvements and traffic safety then that would be another matter entirely. I guess I have too much libertarian in me for my own good.

 

Chip

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Hanson County has no wheel tax yet. Our mail is out of Emery, SD with My Home Address.

Just did my renewals. The postcard did not show it but when I went online, it was added to what was on the post card along with a few other taxes.

 

And if your Drivers license has a gold star on it, you can renew remotely 1 time so you only have to show up in state once every 10 years.

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We didn't want to be signing documents with stiff legal penalties for fraud so we did our overnight, if a campground is too much hassle just use a hotel. There is no way I'd fool with election rules in today's election environment, too many people are out there with an axe to grind and willing to bury it in your back once it is nice and sharp.

 

P.S. The Internet is forever and any statement you have made on it can and will come back to haunt you if someone is looking to cause you grief. Asking if you could commit voting fraud is not a good idea, particularly if you then commit the fraud and get caught.

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I'm not sure what the problem with going back every 5 years is. We did it. We just planned our travels around it. Remember in SD you can renew early or get an extension. I THINK its 180 days either way. So unless you and your partners birthdays are more than 6 months apart you can work that out. Even when Ron needed his license changed to show he no longer needed to wear glasses all we did was down load a form, have the eye Dr sign it. We mailed it in they sent him a brand new corrected one.

Politicians and taxes are the same everywhere. If we owned a stick and brick the same type of thing happens

But everyone makes their own choices

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I like the wheel tax as I view it as progressive. People with 10 cars pay more than the fellow with one motercycle Also it is the only revenue source for many rural townships in the state.

Yes, but if you have 2 small motorbikes worth maybe $700 each as I do, you pay the same wheel tax as a $35,000 SRW F-350 truck. It is not proportionate to either the value of the vehicle or the amount of wear and tear they have on the roadway which is a function of weight. It might only be $4/wheel now, but I can envision it going up as soon as the state realizes the goldmine they have. The property taxes for my small, rural S&B home in Louisiana before Hurricane Katrina was about $450/yr - very affordable, and appropriate right? After Katrina the Parish needed revenue so reassessed everyone's home. My property taxes went up to over $4,500/yr - a 1,000% increase. How would feel if you woke up one morning and found SD had a similar increase on their wheel taxes to $40/wheel? It could easily happen. Based on my personal experience, eventually, I expect it will.

 

Nuke-e, yes you can renew online or by mail every other time, but they require FT RVers to submit a CG or motel receipt to prove you have visited the state. Here is the exact wording from the SD DMV website:

"Personal mailbox users must provide a receipt to prove 1 night stay in South Dakota from the past year and a notarized affidavit of residency. " http://dps.sd.gov/licensing/driver_licensing/Renewing_Your_Driver_License_Online_or_by_Mail.aspx

 

Chip

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The things on the rural south dakota road that I used to live on that caused the most wear and tear were the massive 4 wheel drive tractors that arent even liecensed. That and unusual rain events washing out culverts.

 

By and large South Dakotans hate taxes with a passion. I wouldnt worry about a massive tax increase.

 

If SD is going to fund its rural townships whose main job is upkeep of a massive network of unpaved roads going a per wheel tax makes more sense than taxing income or other real property IMO. Just because it is a paper domicile for some doesnt mean its a very immobile home to about 700,000 others. Many of which would like their township to have money to plow their road so they can get to school or work.

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I can live with the word 'proportional' but not the word progressive. ;-))

I like the wheel tax as I view it as progressive. People with 10 cars pay more than the fellow with one motercycle Also it is the only revenue source for many rural townships in the state.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I pay a small wheel tax...it does not add up to the emissions fees and trailer inspection fees required by Texas. Plus I am money ahead on the purchase on our new fifth wheel at 3% sales tax over the Texas sales tax. Now I do understand the dilemma with the health insurance issue and SD, but it appears Texas may have the same issue soon.

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We just registered our car and RV in SD and even with the wheel tax the total for BOTH vehicles including taxes, title, registration, plates, etc?

LESS THAN $200. Yes TWO HUNDRED dollars

That's for BOTH COMBINED.

We changed the title of the same RV in California to our names 18 months ago (it was already registered in CA) and that vehicle alone was close to $2000.00

Wheel tax? I love it....

BnB

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