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Hi! We’re Rachel & Allen and we live full time in our 2015 Grand Design Momentum 385 fifth wheel toy hauler.  We travel the country for Allen’s work, often only having a couple days notice of where we need to be next. And we love it!

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Allen, Rachel and Charlie

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Considering a Domicile Change!

I’ve been doing a lot of research on changing our domicile for a few months now. When we were in Slidell, Louisiana we received a bill in the mail from the City tax department. They were charging us a fine for not paying taxes quarterly, even though we pay in full every year. In Ohio, we pay state income tax as well as local income tax. The local city tax also went from 1.5% last year to 2% this year. Plus, that annoying fine they just started adding 4 times a year.

The bill for the fine was the last push I needed to really start looking into our options. The taxes are one thing, even though we don’t actually, physically “live” there, but the fine is another thing all together and the fine alone is over $300/yr. No thanks!

Everything I found online from other blogs and websites (Technomadia, RV-Dreams, Escapees, My Dakota Address, Wheeling It, etc.) was pointing me toward Florida, Texas, or South Dakota.  These states have no state or local income tax.

I spoke with someone at Loring & Associates, PLLC, recommended by Escapees, about all things domicile so I had a good jumping off point. I knew I had to find a mail forwarding service to use as a “home base”. And I had to check vehicle insurance rates. And consider how much it would cost to register our vehicles. A 2015 Grand Design Momentum Toy Hauler, a 2011 Chevy Silverado 3500HD, and a 2006 Suzuki Katana 600. I also needed to consider how often you need to physically be in that state for drivers license renewals and vehicle registrations or inspections. We don’t have ties to Ohio other than family. No property, no house, no doctors or church affiliations, so there’s no real reason we should keep our domicile there if it isn’t beneficial to us. In the far off future we either want to settle down on a ranch and adopt a bunch of animals or get a little shack on the beach or own an RV Park… None of which would include Ohio. And definitely would not include our little town that is ripping us off tax-wise.

FLORIDA was my first choice.

  • I love the beach.
  • Warm weather.
  • Sunshine.
  • The beach.

But when I called Progressive – sike, they wouldn’t talk to me because Allen and I aren’t married, even though I’m on the policy also and he’s given them permission to tell me anything and everything numerous times… When I got a quote online instead, the insurance rates in Florida were absurdly high! I’m talking over double what we are paying now for the camper, truck and motorcycle. So, my dreams of becoming a Floridian, at least for now, are nonexistent.
When looking and comparing Texas and South Dakota, it was kind of a toss up.

TEXAS

  • Allen’s company is based out of Texas and we go to the shop usually at least once a year.
  • The truck is already registered in Texas because that’s where we bought it.
  • I like Texas. And BBQ.
  • But in Texas you have to physically take your vehicle in for a safety inspection once a year. The exception is if you are not in the state of Texas. But as soon as you get back you need to take them. I really would rather not drag this huge camper to a tiny state inspection place every year when we get back into Texas.

SOUTH DAKOTA

  • They have a really low sales tax, not that we will be making another big purchase super soon, but good to think about for when we do get the Smart Car.
  • They make it really easy to register vehicles, you don’t have to physically bring them into the state even.
  • You do have to stay one night to prove YOU are physically present in the state in order to obtain residency status and get your drivers license.
  • We’ve never been to South Dakota. So it might be interesting.

So with all things considered, it really came down to insurance rates. I got quotes from 6 different agencies over the last week. Yes, I spent many hours on the phone. Not super fun. But, I did get a feel for just how much rates vary from one company and agency to the next.

*** I should note that even though some of these companies say they specialize in full time RV insurance, some of the agents I spoke with seemed floored that we actually LIVE in our camper… What???

Also I learned that South Dakota and Texas used to be really cheap states for insurance rates but then full time RVers started using these states for a home base so all the claims were coming back to those two. Overall, across the board, South Dakota is the least expensive of the two. It’s still more than what we are currently paying. But, and I realized this when I started researching, we don’t have the right coverage now.

We are with Progressive for everything. When we traded in the old camper for this one, we just called and switched the coverage over. They asked all the same questions and we answered honestly. They asked where the camper would be at least 6 months out of the year and we said nowhere. We told them we live in it and travel all the time. They made us give an address anyway. So, we do not have the full timers package. I’m sure once that is added, it would bring our current rate up.

So with all said and done, we would definitely save money switching to South Dakota and it’s fairly easy to do.

  1. We need to secure our mailing address with My Dakota Address.
  2. Stay the night in South Dakota.
  3. Get our drivers licenses.
  4. Register our vehicles.
  5. Switch our vehicle insurance.
  6. Change our address with Allen’s work and health insurance.

We just need to time it right. You need to do everything within 90days. Our lives are hard to time. We are in San Francisco now, so we could just take the northern route when we leave here, depending on when and where we are going next. If we stay until winter and there’s snow in South Dakota then that’s not happening. If that’s the case, we could possibly just fly out there for a couple of days over Christmas break to take care of everything. But if we leave in a month and the weather is still nice, we could stop by and take care of everything.  We never make plans, we make tentative plans, loosely. So the loose, tentative plan now is to become South Dakotans!