When you live the RV lifestyle, you know that your ‘home base’ is simply your state of residency for tax purposes and census. As a full-timer, however, you are all over the country with no one state seeing you more than any other. So, how do you choose?
Definition of Home Base
Your home base is considered the place you have the most contacts (a job, a driver’s license, a home, family, etc). Things to take into consideration include taxes, vehicle registration, voting and insurance costs. Since this is the state where you will pay taxes, it’s best to make your decision wisely.
Mail, Driver Licenses, Etc
When you fill out forms, you want to make sure that you have only one permanent address. Some full-time RVers winter in one area, summer in another, or travel all year round. Your permanent address will be where your mail is delivered and the address on your driver license. You want all these to match, for many reasons, not least of which is establishing that home base.
Additionally, if you plan to vote, you will need to vote in your county of residency (or at least vote by absentee ballot). Establishing your home base means never missing out on an election!
If you do have a home that you return to, or a rental property that you lease out while you are on the road, that state will be considered your home base by law.
For those who have options, perhaps your RV is your permanent home, or you have more than one rental property, you may want to consider state taxes when deciding upon a home base.
There are several states that have no state tax at all which may immediately look like attractive home bases. They are:
- South Dakota
Additionally, insurance costs vary by state, and they can vary greatly (think: hurricanes, earthquakes and the like). You may want to get estimates before you decide on a state, or a county, as insurance premiums vary from zip code to zip code.
Finally, consider specific vehicle registration costs before you pick a home base. These also vary from state to state, and vary greatly. Most states also have different requirements when it comes to registering your RV, so do your homework.
You may need a safety inspection and/or an emission inspection so be sure to check before you decide to make that your home base. No one wants an extra hassle if it can be avoided!
As a full-time RVer, you may have a choice which U.S. state to declare as your home base. Be sure to do your homework so that you can continue to travel the roads with peace of mind.