The process of registering a vehicle tends to be similar in all the states, however, each state has its own unique interpretation of the requirements necessary to register a vehicle.
While most vehicle registration deals with passenger vehicles such as a truck, car, or motorcycle, there are other types of vehicles that need to be registered. This group consists of boats, trailers, and of course, RVs.
Typically registering a motor vehicle in a state different from the owner’s residence is frowned upon, as the state department with the jurisdiction might not permit the vehicle to be legally driven on roads within the state.
Additionally, the owner of such a vehicle might have to get a specialty license, however, this depends on the requirements put forward by the state.
Why would you want to register your RV in another state?
A little research will show that registering an RV in a state different from your residence is actually a common occurrence.
Most people tend to do this simply because they are trying to avoid having to pay high registration fees. For example, RV owners in states like New York might be inclined to register their RV in a neighboring state where registration fees are much lower.
It turns out that registering an RV in the state of New York cost about $30 per year, while in Maine it cost $100 for 10 years.
While this might seem like a great deal it is illegal to do so. This is because New York traffic law only permits vehicles registered in New York to ply the roads.
If you are caught doing this you can be fined anything from $30 to $250, plus a surcharge of about $80. The fine basically wipes away any money you had hoped to save by registering your RV in a different state.
Now there are some exceptions to the rule, however, you will have to be a non-resident of the state, then you cannot be liable for having an out of state tag.
This exception, however, is more suited to moving companies that operate within the state, rather than RV owners.
So, to answer the question, while you can register your RV in another state, it is illegal to do so, and should you get caught, you will have to pay a fine that negates any initial savings you were hoping to have.
What are the most common RV license tags?
Any avid RV observer would have noticed that certain states seem to have a disproportionally large number of RV registrations.
The leading states are South Dakota and Montana. It might be easy to believe that these residents of those states simply love RVing.
However, the truth is much more complicated. The bulk of these individuals seldomly step foot in the state and they seem to pick these states for one reason alone, to save money.
Apart from aiming to save on the registration fees that each state in the union sets, taxes on RV also vary.
Montana, for instance, has no sales tax on its RV registration charge sheet. The registration fees associated with RVs are also significantly smaller than other states, thereby making the opportunity to register your RV in Montana a great savings option.
This is particularly true for those that have top of the line RVs. As with all states, vehicle owners need to show proof of residency in the state before they are able to register their RVs.
Numerous RV owners tend to work around this by creating an LLC or limited liability company in the state and then having their RV registered as a company vehicle. To do this, most people simply enlist the help of legal counsel given that there are so many tax codes involved.
Just like Montana, numerous RV owners choose to register their RVs in South Dakota for tax purposes.
Nevertheless, there is a couple of difference between the states. To begin with, South Dakota has an excise tax of 4%.
However, the tax associated with an RV is still significantly lower than most states.
Additionally, the fee incurred by RV registration is one of the lowest in the nation. While registering RVs in South Dakota is slightly expensive than in Montana, there are alternate reasons why RVers, particularly full-time RVers are drawn to the state.
For one, the state has no income tax, its sales tax is one of the lowest in the nation. It also has quite a lot of mail forwarding services, meaning it is much easier to establish South
Dakotan residency. It is for these numerous reasons that full-time RV owners choose South Dakota to register their RVs.
What do you need to register for an RV?
While the majority of states utilize similar registration processes and laws, there are some differences between registering cars, trucks, or motorcycles and registering vehicles such as modular, motorhomes, trailers, or RVs. The process for registering an RV goes as follows:
An application to register your RV has to be turned into your state of choice via its titling and registering agency.
This can be done through the DoT, Department of Transportation, MVD or Motor Vehicle Division, DoR, or Department of Revenue or the DMV or Department of Motor Vehicles.
The application has to include general information of the RV such as its vehicle identification number or VIN, model, and make.
It is important that this application is submitted almost immediately after purchasing the vehicle either brand new or pre-owned. It should also be done in conjunction with applying for a title.
If you do not have a title, you will be unable to be granted a license plate or stickers which enable you to drive on the public road legally. That being said, not every state that grants a vehicle title requires you to register it. There are certain trailer types that do not have to be registered.
Your driver’s license will serve as a valid means of identification. The number of your license is then associated with the RV’s registration.
If your RV is large enough to require a specialty license before you can operate it, you will have to get that license before you are allowed to register your RV.
If you want to register your RV as a company vehicle like you would in Montana, your tax account number will be used as your identification number.
Verification of ownership
As the owner of the RV, you will have to show legally binding paperwork that shows you are the owner of the RV. This could be a bill of sale, title, or a certificate.
Once the aforementioned documents are presented, you will have to pay the registration fees. As stated earlier, the amount you pay to register your RV can vary from one state to another.
There are certain factors taken into account when calculating how much you pay to register your vehicle. Some of these factors include weight, kind of vehicle, vehicle price, and registration method to name a few. If you switch residence to a different state, you will be required to re-register your RV, incurring additional costs.