When we were at the Newmar Kountry Klub International Rally in Sedalia, Missouri, we presented 3 different topics as part of the Fulltimers Chapter Life on the Road Seminars. This is the second of 3 posts outlining the information we shared.
Life on the Road – 2017 International Rally Presentation – Choosing a Domicile
Your Domicile will influence many aspects of your fulltime life. Taxes, insurance rates, and registration fees all vary from state to state, and in some cases, from county to county and zip code to zip code.
But first…What is a domicile? A domicile is your fixed permanent, principal home for legal purposes. It differs from your residence – which is your place of bodily presence.
How do you establish a domicile? Primarily through mail, registrations, driver’s license, and the address you use for financial activities. One of the major considerations in choosing a domicile is taxes. Property tax and sales tax rates will vary. State income tax is historically a big consideration for RV’ers in making this decision. AK, FL, NV, SD, TX, WA, WY have no state income tax NH, TN are also tax friendly and only tax interest and dividends. In the past FL, SD and TX have been considered most RV friendly, but their laws are changing, so RV’ers must keep up on the current laws. Vehicle registration fees vary widely depending on the state. Some state’s fees are based on the value of the vehicle.
Insurance Rates for Vehicles and Liability insurance should also be considered. We strongly advise specific RV Insurance for fulltimers. Consider also your Toad Insurance. Here again, rates will vary widely. Liability insurance with umbrella coverage would be a wise choice.
For fulltime RV’ers under 65 (pre Medicare) and not covered by Government, Military, or Retiree coverage, insurance rates for health insurance may be the deciding factor in setting up a domicile. We found that the states of FL, SD and TX although tax friendly, had few desirable options in health care coverage. In our case, we wanted a plan offering nationwide PPO coverage. This may not even be available depending on the area. ACA (Obamacare) options are limited and change every year. Where you ‘live’ could make a big difference in premiums. Even those covered through Medicare should research supplemental coverage for nationwide plans and consider their spouse’s coverage. New options such as Christian medical cost sharing programs and Escapees health care should also be explored.
Other major considerations include whether mail forwarding services are available. How easy does that state make it to register vehicles? Are inspections necessary and how often? Do you need a special license (CDL) to drive a RV? How often do you physically have to go there to maintain your domicile? Depending on your individual circumstances, you may need to assess Inheritance tax, wills, trust and estates issues, divorce agreements, homeschooling laws, jury duty commitments, and Voting considerations. If voting in local elections is important to you where do you want to vote?
Some complicating factors that may affect setting up your domicile of choice is if you own property somewhere other than where you want your domicile to be as well as the amount of time you spend at a non-domicile location. Different states may have different criteria, some are more aggressive going after taxes and may complicate matters.
Every situation is unique, and no single solution fits every need. Take the time to research. Compare and contrast all the various options. Start early to establish mail, drivers’ licenses, banking and registrations