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Old 08-28-2016, 07:16 PM   #1
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Registering your RV out of state

My neighbor has a 5th wheel that he's decided to register in Florida. His registration for the trailer was over 2500 dollars here in Colorado. His registration for the same 5th wheel was less than 300 bucks in Florida.

Because the camper can be (and is) classified by the IRS as a 2nd home, I believe you can register it pretty much wherever you want, despite your local States wishes.

I've discussed at length with him the complications that may come up if / when he gets pulled over in Colorado, with a Colorado license, and out of state tags. It has happened once to him and he told the officer that he lives primarily in Flordia with the camper, and in Colorado the rest of the time. This was only a partial lie, and there was no issue from the police perspective / no ticket.

Do any of you guys register your camper out of state to save thousands a year potentially? My temp tags expire in October and I'm contemplating it. He didn't even have to visit the DMV in Florida to transfer the plates to that state, it was all via mail.
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Old 08-28-2016, 08:19 PM   #2
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I don't understand where the huge savings is coming from? If the trailer was originally bought and registered in CO, the one time sales tax has been paid in CO.
In MA, the registration is like $50 a year, other than that there's insurance and local municipal excise tax?
I know people were registering high end six figure RV's in Montana to avoid MA sales tax. They just had to create a LLC in Montana. The state is going after them pointing out that "all vehicles driven more than 30 days in Massachusetts must be registered in Massachusetts."

Massachusetts Goes After RV Tax Evaders | RV Business
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Old 08-28-2016, 08:19 PM   #3
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I have my boat, Car and utility trailers registered in the state of Maine. (I live in NY)

It all started with my boat trailer which I fabricated myself and New York made it very difficult for me to register a "Homemade" trailer. I found a service in the state of Maine that with a notarized affidavit will register all out of state trailers. Registration cost me $100 for 5 years. I then moved all my other trailers to Maine registrations as well.

They will register any trailer OTHER than a camper or RV. They stated that their state law prohibits them from doing RV registrations from out of state. Several other "Trailer Registration Services" all told me the same thing regarding RV registrations.

Did your friend register in Florida himself, using his Colorado address? Or did he use a registration service that allows the use of a Florida address?
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Old 08-28-2016, 09:05 PM   #4
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FL requires a FL drivers !icense or FEID which is for a business in order to get a title, not just a FL address.
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Old 08-28-2016, 09:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Marcm157 View Post
I have my boat, Car and utility trailers registered in the state of Maine. (I live in NY)

It all started with my boat trailer which I fabricated myself and New York made it very difficult for me to register a "Homemade" trailer. I found a service in the state of Maine that with a notarized affidavit will register all out of state trailers. Registration cost me $100 for 5 years. I then moved all my other trailers to Maine registrations as well.

They will register any trailer OTHER than a camper or RV. They stated that their state law prohibits them from doing RV registrations from out of state. Several other "Trailer Registration Services" all told me the same thing regarding RV registrations.

Did your friend register in Florida himself, using his Colorado address? Or did he use a registration service that allows the use of a Florida address?
Marcm157, thanks
He registered himself, via postal mail using his Colorado address after visiting a DMV out in Florida where he talked to a DMV staff person in person. They know he lives here. He's a very stand up guy that wouldn't have gone out of his way to do anything too sneaky. His annual registration here in CO was over 2000 a year on a 75K ish new 5th wheel.. closer to 2500 (EVERY YEAR).

Regarding the other replies, annual registration here in Colorado is *expensive* I'm paying over 1000 / year to register my car and truck (which is now over 4 years old). We're one of the most expensive states in the country for vehicle registration, and we pay it every year. Not talking about initial sales tax on the camper, etc... that's already paid and is a one time deal. The travel trailer will be over 600 a year for a while to renew the registration. As far as the 'Title' goes... I won't have that till the trailer is paid off and titling fees are trivial, wasn't talking about the title. I'll try to get more information from my neighbor, but it sounded like a very straight forward transaction to register the trailer in FL annually without needing to prove Florida residency and honestly, with respect to an RV, residency is where you want to be, not necessarily where you are at the time, so it makes sense to plate your vehicle where the fees are more modest. He has a couple friends out there and does spend a month or 2 a year in total camping in the FL area, among other parts of the country, but other than possibly irritating the 'great state of Colorado' for not giving them another 20K in registration fees over the life of the camper, I don't see much in the way of legal or ethical hurdles. He also stores his camper for the winter here in Colorado right up the street from mine. Definitely something I need to look into more. Any additional insight from others that have done this is greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-28-2016, 10:18 PM   #6
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Arizona does check registration and if caught, the fines, fees etc are huge....not worth it.
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Old 08-28-2016, 10:44 PM   #7
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Arizona does check registration and if caught, the fines, fees etc are huge....not worth it.
Can you define 'huge' fine and your source? Just curious as that sounds very anecdotal. Saving 20 grand vs. paying maybe a 200 dollar fine and re-registering (if) this actually can be proven to be illegal is a very good deal.

Every state checks your registration, but there is no violation if your travel trailer is registered in the state where it spends most of its time. If the cop wants to take you to court so you can prove that is the case, you're having a very bad day. I've read the out of state registration requirements for Arizona (just now). You don't even need to be a resident to register your camper there. Sounds like Florida. If one wanted to, it's very easy to have a laundry list of reasons why your second home isn't registered in <insert state here>.

It's different if we're talking about your daily driver, motor vehicle instead of something the IRS classifies as a second home. I'd be more cautious if it was a motor home. At the end of the day I guess you could form an LLC for 30 bucks out of state and transfer the RV to the LLC. Just stuff to consider.. I don't condone breaking the law and I think this is a grey area, wouldn't suggest you do it unless you know what you're doing. By all means if you have an extra 2 grand to send the state every year, they will happily take it.
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Old 08-28-2016, 10:53 PM   #8
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Can you define 'huge' fine and your source? Just curious as that sounds very anecdotal.

Every state checks your registration, but there is no violation if your travel trailer is registered in the state where it spends most of its time. If the cop wants to take you to court so you can prove that is the case, you're having a very bad day. I've read the out of state registration requirements for Arizona (just now). You don't even need to be a resident to register your camper there. Sounds like Florida.

It's different if we're talking about your daily driver, motor vehicle.
My accountant. He got caught housing his class A in Az with out of state plates (South Dakota). Had to pay the sales tax he would of plus fines and back fees totally thousands. If you keep your RV in another state you most likely will never get caught, but, if your state of residence is Az and you have vehicles, RV etc licensed out of state, your rolling the dice. Not worth it to me, I'd rather just support the state I live in and not worry...
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Old 08-28-2016, 11:11 PM   #9
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My accountant. He got caught housing his class A in Az with out of state plates (South Dakota). Had to pay the sales tax he would of plus fines and back fees totally thousands. If you keep your RV in another state you most likely will never get caught, but, if your state of residence is Az and you have vehicles, RV etc licensed out of state, your rolling the dice. Not worth it to me, I'd rather just support the state I live in and not worry...
I already paid my sales tax to Colorado during the initial purchase, but I can see how they could smack you pretty good if you completely bypassed your state. Don't get me wrong, I love to support my state, it's pretty excessive here though. I'll probably just suck it up and pay the Colorado fees every year just so my license plates match.
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Old 08-29-2016, 06:34 AM   #10
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It sounds like it's time to make a change in the Colorado state government.

Here in Texas, the registration on my 39' fifth wheel is a little over a hundred bucks per year. Most cars and pickups are around $75 per year here.
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