Week 654 - What is a Domicile State? - 02-24-2019

What is a Domicile State?

Everyone must declare one of the US states as their "domicile state". When you file annual taxes, you must file a state return for your domicile state. Perhaps you own two houses each in a different state. Which state is your domicile? Most states will require you to claim their state if you spend 184 or more days in that state. Other factors that a state will look at are:
Mailing address
Vehicle registration
Vehicle insurance
Health insurance
Voter registration
State tax returns
Memberships, such as church and clubs

Now, what about a full time RV traveler? To claim a domicile state, all of the above should be in that state. Okay, let's say you have established South Dakota as your domicile. But you spend 9 months of the year in Arizona. Are you legit? No! Will you be caught? Probably not as most states have no mechanism to track you. But, if you did get audited, you would need to prove that you were not in Arizona over 184 days. So, do it right, register in your real domicile.

Choosing your Domicile

As a full time traveler you can choose any state. First search the Internet for a book on Choosing your Domicile State. We found a book that detailed the relevant factors for each state:
Requirements to be a resident
State income tax
State sales tax
State estate tax
State property taxes (if you want property!)
The book we used was out of date by five years, but still pretty accurate.

Then find a mailing service you might use and get the address you will have. Get quotes for your:
Vehicle registration
Vehicle insurance
Health insurance

Now you are equipped to know the financial impact of your new state. You may also want to review the state's climate data. For us, that does not matter. We don't spend 184 days in any particular state. We live full time to enjoy the best weather possible and move to that area as the weather changes.

It is well known in the RV community that South Dakota, Texas and Florida are the most RV-friendly.

We have registered in South Dakota and Texas. It took less that 24 hours to be a South Dakota resident. Texas took 12 days! We left South Dakota due to ObamaCare. We are both on Medicare now so we have coverage in all the states. Most probably we will soon leave California for South Dakota once again. Leaving means changing our domicile state, but we'll still spend lots of time in California visiting family and friends.

Additional Resources: Our information is only accurate as of the date of our experience. For example, Texas no longer requires you to have an in-state annual vehicle inspection. But, when you return to Texas your vehicle must be inspected within 72 hours.

We welcome any questions.

With love, Pete, Ellen and Mandy

Photos from February 2019

The Full Time Motorhome Living Guide

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