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 > British couple buying an RV in the US

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KatTab

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Posted: 05/11/21 06:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello. We are a British couple with long stay US visas. We want to buy a RV to travel round the US and Canada (and possibly down to S America) for a couple of years. We are experienced campervanners and will buy an RV that will allow us to get off the beaten track (Not too large and maybe 4x4). We will sell the RV in the US when we finish our trip. We are planning ahead for next year, but need to start our research now. We do not need finance.
We have friends in South Carolina, Georgia and California who have said that we can use their address. Sales tax is South Carolina 5% (max 500$), Georgia 6.6% and California 7.25%.
So the first question is - which of these states would be best to buy and then sell a RV.
We understand that in California that pollution laws may effect the type of vehicle we are allowed to buy.
We are assuming that it might be easier to register the vehicle in the same state as the address, but this may not be the case.
We are unclear as to whether we need to pay property tax as well as sales tax (we do not own property in the US).
We will have many more questions, but these are the things we need to know to start the process.
Thank you for helping us with our first steps.

valhalla360

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Posted: 05/11/21 06:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One of the friends with an address would be handy as it avoids a lot of hassles with registration and insurance.

When you say property tax, are you referring to real estate or personal property tax?
- If you are just using their address, no real estate property tax is triggered.
- Some states have personal property tax. Unless it's an expensive rig, not a huge issue.

If you are serious about S. America, consider a pickup camper. 4x4 motorhomes/camper vans are rare and expensive. You might consider an older Ford with the 7.3 diesel. If you can find one down south that is rust free and in good condition, pre-electronics, it will run forever and get decent fuel economy. That will get you a 4x4 that can be easily worked on south of the border. It will also be pretty cheap and since the camper is not part of the truck, there is no registration associated.

But if the S. America is just a wild idea, going a more traditional route of either a moderate sized Class C pulling a small car or a truck and travel trailer will be much more comfortable and 99% of the time, you don't need off road capability.


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QCMan

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Posted: 05/11/21 08:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Don't know about the other states, but here in South Carolina you will pay sales tax and a yearly property tax on an Rv of any type that goes on a book valuation and decreases every year. You will probably not be able to register in a state other than the address you use. As a note, there are no emission requirements or inspections in SC. There are also a very large number of new and used rv sales locations. The closer you get to the coast the more selection you will have. Good luck and enjoy our beautiful country!


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fyrflie

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Posted: 05/11/21 09:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Do not buy in California.
The base tax rate may be 7.25% but will vary by county or city.
The city I live in has a sales tax rate of 9.25%.
Smog laws are strict but don’t limit you as to what you buy as long as the vehicle can pass the smog inspection.
Sounds like a great adventure. Good luck.

gemsworld

Arizona West Coast

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Posted: 05/11/21 09:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you purchase and register the RV in California, your sales tax rate will depend on where you will register the RV. Generally speaking, sales taxes in CA will vary from around 7.50% to about 10.50%. The registration cost in CA is based on the value of the vehicle. Figure about 1% of the purchase price. The cost will be less in subsequent years. CA requires all vehicles to be tested for emissions pollution. If buying new, I believe the vehicle does not need to be tested in the first 4 years. If you buy used, make sure the seller (dealer or private party) gets the vehicle "smogged" before you buy it. DO NOT buy used if seller does not provide a very recent smog certificate. You may have to spend a fortune getting the vehicle fixed to pass the smog test. Good luck!





FWC

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Posted: 05/11/21 09:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you want a smaller, rugged, possibly 4x4 camper then your best choices are a 4x4 pop up truck camper, a 4x4 Sprinter van or an older 4x4 converted Ford van from Sportsmobile. These are expensive, but have good resale, so you can get most of your money back.

While the taxes in CA are slightly higher, 4x4 campers are far more plentiful on the West Coast than on the East Coast, so it may be worth basing out of CA. It is also much closer to the areas you probably want to explore.

Depending on how adventurous your plans are, you may find a more appropriate audience on forums such as Expedition Portal or Wander the West.

Lwiddis

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Posted: 05/11/21 09:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

No suggestions but welcome and enjoy once you get here! See you down the road.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AMP Lithium battery. TALL flag pole. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


ferndaleflyer

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Posted: 05/11/21 11:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Stay out of CA. I have mine registered in MD as they have no emissions test, no inspection, and no personal property tax. Tags are good for 2 years then just renew on computer. Thats for a diesel as gas needs emissions every 2 years but you can get a waiver on that. Just a thought. We have an Aussie friend that keeps a vehicle here for when he is in country every year. Uses our address and has international drivers license.

valhalla360

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Posted: 05/11/21 11:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Don't even consider california. It makes no sense.

You can find 4x4 trucks everywhere. The biggest issue is they may never have used the 4x4, so check that it engages and disengages properly.

ndrorder

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Posted: 05/11/21 11:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

US taxes are not as simple as VAT tax in the UK.

For the purchase of a vehicle, there may be sales tax, excise tax, and personal property taxes. Those are all administered by the state the vehicle is sold in but are usually differed to the registering state though reciprocal agreements. But not all states have reciprocal agreements will all other states. So research both selling and registering state requirements.

In New Mexico, there is no sales tax on vehicle sales. There is an excise tax of 4% charged on the amount of the sale. New Mexico will base the excise tax on the market value of the vehicle if no bill of sale is used as in the case of gifting. Personal property tax was described above. New Mexico doesn't have personal property taxes yet.

If reciprocal agreements are in place, you'll get a temporary registration for a fee from the state of sale to legally drive the state of registration. The states that I've dealt with required the vehicle to be present in the state of registration at the time of registration. Only dealers can get away with registering a vehicle by mail.

As the used RV market is hot right now and vehicles are few and far between, consider using national classifieds like RVtrader.com or craiglist search apps to locate a vehicle and then research the state requirements once one is located.


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2011 Four Winds Chateau 23U

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