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Introduction to Best States For RV Domicile
If you’ve been considering a change in domicile for your RV but don’t know where to start, this is the article for you. Best States For RV Domicile: A Definitive Guide will help you identify the best states that allow RVs, as well as those that have favorable taxation and licensing laws to make it easier on your wallet. Best of all, we’ll give you some great resources to find out if any of these states are right for you!
What Does Domicile Mean?
Before we begin, it’s important to note that domicile means more than just where you live. Domicile is a legal term that defines your permanent address or location. This would be the state where you are currently applying for licenses/permits with an existing RV or residence.
What Is The Difference Between Domicile and Residence?
The easiest way to understand the difference is that domicile and residence are two sides of a coin. Domicile is where you currently claim your legal address. Residence, on the other hand, would be any place where you physically reside for at least six months out of the year (183 days or more).
How Is State Residency Determined?
Several factors determine state residency, including:
– Where do you have your main home?
– Where do you receive mail regularly?
– Which address is printed on your driver’s license or motor vehicle registration?
These factors alone will not give the definitive answer as to where you are considered a resident. Other factors, including your social security number and voter registration, will help determine if you are indeed living in the state as part of its populace or not.
Why Do You Need To Establish Domicile as a Full-Time RVer?
You will need to establish a domicile as a full-time RVer so that you can register to vote, keep your vehicles registered and insured, and avoid paying income tax in multiple states.
Laws differ from state to state and even county to county. It is important to understand the laws of your particular area and those that might affect where you live, such as taxation rates for RVs, licensing fees, and age restrictions/requirements. Most of all, it’s important to consider these factors before you decide on a full-time domicile.
Important Things To Consider When Choosing A Domicile State
There are many questions that you will need to ask yourself when deciding on a domicile state. Below, you will find a breakdown of many factors to make it easier for you to determine which state will be the best for your situation.
Personal Property Tax:
Property taxes will be a significant factor in deciding which state you want to become your permanent home. Most states have property tax rates based on the value of the property, so it is important for this cost not to exceed more than 20% or less than 15%.
State Income Tax:
Income tax should be among the lowest in the country, if not nonexistent. Depending on your specific situation and the state you choose to call home, this can be an important or non-factor for you.
Vehicle Registration Fees:
It is important to keep vehicle registration fees low or nonexistent. If you plan on registering new vehicles in your domicile state, then this is not a factor for consideration.
Drivers License Fees:
If you are going to be opening bank accounts and/or applying for a driver’s license in the next year, it is important that these fees do not exceed more than $25.
If you purchase health insurance as a part-time RVers, this cost should not exceed more than 15% of your total income. If you are not purchasing any at all, then consider which state offers the most competitive prices for private or public healthcare.
Sales Tax Rates:
Sales tax rates can be some of the most significant factors when determining which state is best for your situation. Before settling on a new domicile, make sure to do thorough research on sales tax rates in each potential location so that you are not shocked by any unexpected costs once you arrive at your destination.
Vehicle and RV Insurance Rates:
Your insurance rates will also be dependent on the state in which you choose to reside. Drivers must be able to find affordable liability coverage before making a decision.
States that allow homeschooling will be more desirable than those that do not. This is only important if you plan on full-timing with school-aged children.
Registration Renewal Logistics:
Make sure to consider logistics. If you are planning on registering vehicles in your new state, make sure that this process is not too difficult or time-consuming for you and/or members of your family. You don’t want to add extra travel miles to your vehicle and plans for the sake of a ten-minute vehicle registration appointment. There are better options.
Annual Vehicle Inspections and Logistics:
The same goes for vehicle inspections. Some states have annual inspection requirements while others do not, so be sure to know your state’s laws before settling on a new domicile.
Time in State Requirements:
Some states require that you live in the state (physically present) for a certain amount of time before allowing you to claim it as your domicile. Check with each potential location to learn its specific laws regarding this matter before settling on an option.
Jury Duty Requirements:
If you plan on having a home base, make sure that this location does not require more than two weeks of jury duty per year. If they do, then there is the potential for your plans to be disrupted or delayed if called away unexpectedly.
Best States For RV Domicile (Pros and Cons)
There are many (50 to be exact) states to consider when shopping for your domicile. When considering the above factors, a few states come out on top for full-time RVers. Those states are Texas, Florida, and South Dakota. Here are some of the pros and cons related to establishing a domicile in those states.
Texas as domicile for RVers:
Financial: The biggest pro for Texas is that there are no income taxes, vehicle registration fees, or licensing requirements to speak of.
Jury Duty Laws In Texas: If you plan on having a home base, this location mustn’t require more than two weeks of jury duty per year.
Driver’s License Laws In Texas: If drivers plan to purchase new vehicles in the state or register their current ones there, they will need to provide proof of insurance before doing so. You cannot obtain a driver’s license without providing proof of insurance.
Vehicle Insurance Rates In Texas: Drivers will need to purchase liability coverage before registering their vehicles in the state. This is not always affordable for full-time RVers, so it may be best to choose another option if this is your plan.
Registration of vehicles in Texas: This can be done online!
Cons For Texas Domicile: If your RV is over 26,000 lbs, you will need to obtain a special license to operate it.
Florida as Domicile for RVers:
Financial: The biggest pro for Florida is that there are no income taxes, vehicle registration fees, or licensing requirements to speak of.
Driver’s License Laws In Florida: If drivers plan to purchase new vehicles in the state or register their current ones there, they will need to provide proof of insurance before doing so.
Registration of vehicles in Florida: This can be done online! Best States For Full-Time RVing
Jury Duty Laws in Florida: If you plan on having a home base, it is important that this location does not require more than two weeks of jury duty per year. Best States For Full-Time RVing
Cons For Florida Domicile: Higher vehicle insurance costs than Texas or South Dakota.
South Dakota as a domicile for RVers:
Financial: South Dakota has no income taxes, inheritance tax, vehicle registration fees, or licensing requirements to speak of.
Jury Duty Laws in South Dakota: If you are planning on having a home base, then it is important that this location does not require more than two weeks of jury duty per year. Best States For Full-Time RVing
Driver’s License Laws in South Dakota: If drivers plan to purchase new vehicles in the state or register their current ones there, they will need to provide proof of insurance before doing so.
Registration of vehicles in South Dakota: This can be done online!
Vehicle Insurance Rates In South Dakota: Drivers will need to purchase liability coverage before registering their vehicles in the state.
Cons for South Dakota domicile: Limited Health Care Insurance options and higher restriction on Homeschooling.
*** All above states allow absentee voting.
Steps to Establishing Domicile For RVers
- Acquire an address in the desired State (use mail forwarding services **see resource list)
- Register vehicles in your new state
- Get Driver’s License in new state domicile (turn in old one)
- Register To Vote
- File Affidavit of Domicile (forms vary per state, and many mail forwarding companies provide this service)
Resources For Establishing Domicile
The most important resource that you will need when establishing a domicile is an address. The best way for full-time RVers to do this is to take advantage of a mail forwarding company.
Mail Forwarding Services
- Americas Mailbox – Best for full-time RVers who plan to travel a lot. There is no minimum residency requirement, and you can have up to 20 different locations with them.
- Escapees RV Club (Escapees mail service) – Escapees RV Club is Best for full-time RVers who plan to stay in one location. There is no minimum residency requirement; however, they do require you to be an Escapees member (approximately $40/year).
- iPostal1 – A great mail forwarding service for full-time RVers. There is no minimum residency requirement; however, they charge $25/year for the service (which can be used as your business address).
- Good Sam Mail Service – Best for full-time RVers looking to park in Good Sam Parks (approximately $20/year).
- St. Brendan’s Isle – Best for full-time RVers looking to park in Good Sam Parks (approximately $20/year).
Conclusion To Best States For RV Domicile
The best states for RV domicile are all over the map. You have to consider a lot of factors before you decide where you want to call home for your RVer adventures. There is no perfect answer, but if we had to pick one, it would be South Dakota because they don’t require vehicle registration fees as many other states do. Let us know what you would choose and why!! Thanks for reading.
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