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tedibear's avatar

How do people who live in their motorhomes determine their state of residence?

Asked by tedibear (16158 points ) February 4th, 2013

I’m having one of those “let’s sell the house, buy a motorhome, pack up the cats and live like vagabonds” kind of days.

This has led me to wonder how those people determine their residence for things like taxes and insurance and banking. Do they just choose the residence of a trusted family member or friend and hope that they keep track of any important mail?

Do any of you know someone who has done this? How did they handle these things?

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8 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Generally it’s where you spend more than 180 days of the year, get your insurance on the vehicles etc, vote, get your hunting or fishing license, etc. Don’t laugh on that last one. I saw a guy get nailed because he bought a residence license to save money.

Seek's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe See, that’s why you need a friend in the state you’re hunting in. You rent a room from him for $10, and sign a lease. Bam, you’re a resident.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Their motorhome has to have a license plate from some state or another. And the purchase of the motor home will (usually) require a loan. So the general rule is that if you have a loan, and the vehicle title is filed with that state, then that is your state of residence.

elbanditoroso's avatar

You will see a lot of people choosing a state of residence like Florida or Texas, since there is no state income tax.

Coloma's avatar

Most have a P.O Box in an area they return to on a regular basis, and perhaps friends/family members that forward or collect their important mail. Having a P.O. box and online banking/bill paying makes traveling easy these days.

JLeslie's avatar

The way I remember it, you have to spend 183 days (sometimes stated as 6 months and one day) of the calendar year to establish yourself as a FL resident. If you want to use FL as a tax haven, best to get down there, get your drivers license and switch your plates to FL, register to vote, establish a doctor, change all your billing to FL, and your bank accounts. If you hold any professional licenses change your address with the state. I assume other states have similar criteria and similar steps will help establish yourself as a resident.

If you aren’t switching your residence, then I would just use a relative as a C/O address or a post office box. Change billing to online, maintain your home bank branch in your current location.

I would guess states only pay close attention if someone is trying to evade taxes. If you are paying taxes for your state, I doubt any government agency is going to go looking into anything.

How many days do you plan to travel and be out of state?

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, I am a licensed real estate agent in FL, and these rules are important for FL homestead exemption for property owners so we are taught it in our education for the license. Many northerners switch their residency to FL if they live in both places.

gailcalled's avatar

Call or log onto the DMV of the state where you are considering establishing residency. Someone will be happy to provide you with accurate information.

tedibear's avatar

Many thanks for all of the great answers. I hadn’t really thought about the fact that the motorhome would have to have a license plate from somewhere. Duh! And a bank still needs a physical address, not just a P.O. Box. But with e-statements and bill pay it’s all much easier to handle online.

I doubt that we would ever do this, but if we could sell the house tomorrow and go, we would! It’s one of those wishful thinking kinds of days… weeks… months!

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