One of the biggest questions for anyone considering a full-time RV life is “What’s the best state for RV domicile?”.
RV domicile might seem confusing at first, but it’s one of the most important steps you’ll take as a full-time RVer. So, learning about it is in your best interest. And it’s really not as complicated as it seems!
Today we’re diving into the best state for RV domicile debate. Let’s get into it.
What is RV Domicile?
RV domicile is your legal connection with a state. In other words, domicile is the state that you choose for your “physical address”, and to deal with things like taxes, voting, vehicle registration, business registration, etc.
As a full-time RVer, you are traveling all the time and aren’t staying in one place long enough to live there, but you have to have a domicile state. When you select a domicile state, you are, for all intents and purposes, declaring that this is the state you will return to when you are done full-time RVing.
You can establish domicile in a variety of ways, which we will cover later in the article.
The Most Popular States for Full-Time RVer Domicile
There are three main states that many full-time RVers choose for their domicile state, but you can domicile in any state that you choose. If you return to a certain state a lot or own property there, it would be smart to use that state as domicile.
Otherwise, the three most popular states for domicile include Texas, South Dakota, and Florida. Each of these states has no income tax and allows you to use a mail forwarding service as your physical address. Let’s take a closer look at each of these states:
Texas Domicile for RVers
Texas is a very popular state for domicile for RVers. The Lone Star State also houses the headquarters of Escapees RV Club, a club that provides mail-forwarding options and domicile guidance for RVers, although they also offer mail forwarding for FL and SD.
Texas has benefits like no inheritance tax and no estate taxes. If you choose Texas as a domicile state, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Texas requires an annual vehicle inspection
- If your rig is over 26k lbs, you will need a special driver’s license
South Dakota Domicile for RVers
South Dakota is a popular choice for many reasons. Some of those being that SD doesn’t require you to renew your vehicle registration in person for up to 5 years. They also have a low sales tax rate. The process to register and claim a domicile in SD is extremely easy. You just have to prove you’ve stayed in the state one night (like a hotel receipt) and most are able to register and leave within one day.
Florida Domicile for RVers
The great state of Florida is a popular state for RV snowbirds and a very popular state for domicile, too. The Sunshine State offers advantages like health care plans, no annual vehicle inspections, and of course, no income tax. Disadvantages can include a higher sales tax rate and higher vehicle insurance costs.
So, What’s the Best State for RV Domicile?
We are not lawyers so we cannot give legal advice pertaining to your specific situation. But, the best state for RV domicile will be personal to you and your life, finances, property, future plans, and current situation. There are many things to consider when choosing a state for domicile, and depending on your needs you will want to research a few options.
Things To Consider When Choosing an RV Domicile State
Finally, depending on your situation, here are some things you’ll want to research in each state to make the best choice for you:
- Vehicle insurance rates
- Health insurance costs and availability
- Sales tax rates
- Property tax fees
- Homeschooling laws
- Vehicle registration fees
- Vehicle registration and driver’s license renewal logistics – does the state require you to return every year? If so, is that feasible for you?
- Time-in-state requirements to be a legal resident
- Inheritance laws and taxes
- Trust and estate laws
- Jury duty obligations
This is not a comprehensive list. But, these are some of the main things to begin to consider when choosing a domicile state.
How to Establish Domicile as a Full-Time RVer
Establishing your domicile will look different depending on which state you choose and if you already have ties to that state. Here are a few things you can do to begin to establish your new domicile.
- Get your new address. This can be done with a mail forwarding service, using a property you already own, or a family/friend’s address.
- Have your vehicles registered at your new address.
- Switch your driver’s license to your new state.
- Register to vote.
- Establish connections in your new state like doctors, lawyers, etc.
- Be present in your new state. Any state that you choose will require you to be there for some time. Typically this is accomplished when you go to the state to handle matters like vehicle registration, etc.
For a more comprehensive guide to establishing a domicile, refer to this domicile guide by the domicile lawyers and experts at Escapees RV Club.
Choosing the Best State for RV Domicile
As you now know, there is no one-size-fits-all state for RV domicile. What is best for one family may not come close to being the best for another.
Choosing your domicile state requires research and planning on your part to find something that will really work for you. Luckily, there are many helpful resources online to help you out, including the RV Masterclass online courses. If you’re gearing up to start your full-time journey but find yourself overwhelmed with the process, RV Masterclass can help.
With the Preparing to Full-Time RV Course, we’ll teach you how to downsize efficiently, help you decide where to claim domicile, how to get mail on the road, review your health and auto insurance options, RV life budgeting, traveling planning, and so much more!
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