Washington State Domicile?

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Elmo

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It's true that there is no Washington(State) state income tax and vehicle registrations are comparatively low.  Sounds tempting.  But, the department of motor vehicles requires a physical address and seems to say that a mailing service or PMB is not acceptable. We are current (35 years) residents and don't really want to change. 

Is anyone currently using Washington state as their domicile.  If so, how did you do it?

 

Alaskansnowbirds

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Elmo said:
It's true that there is no Washington(State) state income tax and vehicle registrations are comparatively low.  Sounds tempting.  But, the department of motor vehicles requires a physical address and seems to say that a mailing service or PMB is not acceptable. We are current (35 years) residents and don't really want to change. 

Is anyone currently using Washington state as their domicile.  If so, how did you do it?

Have you went to a DMV office and talked with a supervisor. Ask them, "as a 35 year resident of Washington how do I remain a resident and register my RV?" If they can't give you an answer call the offices of your state senator and representative. Ask them how to do it.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I gather your problem is that you want to fulltime and will retain no physical property in the state,  yet want to remain Washington residents.  One option would be to use a relative's or friends address as your legal domicile. Another might be to use an attorney or business agents address.  It should not be considered fraudulent if you actually maintain and use it as a legal address (which is not the same as living there). For example, have some bank statements sent to that same address, mabe your federal tax forms and other "legal" communications. 

As Don suggests, only the DMV can truly answer that for you. Each person's situation is subtlely different and staying within the law can sometimes be tricky.
 

Jeff

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Don and Gary:

When we sold our home last year I went to the Everett office of the WA DMV to try and come up with a way to legally maintain our residency. We enjoyed Washington a great deal and Sue would much prefer to be known from WA instead of SD.

There was more than one issue to overcome, if you use something other than a residential address (which can include a rented spot in a mobile home lot) they ask you to draw a sketch describing the exact location of your residence. I know that PO Boxes and PMBs did not meet this requirement, I did not ask about an agent. The applicant has to sign an affidavit (under penalty of perjury which is described on the form) regarding this address. Most of this has come about because of Seattle area residents registering their vehicles outside the metro area to avoid taxes but it does end up defining residency.

The second requirement is to show good faith that you intend to reside in Washington. No job, no house, and being gone in an RV did not seem to show that intent to the gentleman I talked to in Everett.

Keeping or leasing property or having a job of some kind part of the year would obviously go a long way towards meeting these requirements.

Those two issues resolved WA residency for us, we are now from SD!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Thanks for the actual expereince report, Jeff.  It should be helpful to Elmo.  The "good faith" thing is why I mentioned actually using an agent's address for multiple leagal purposes  rather than just a mail drop for a driving license.  "Intent" carries a lot of weight in establishing domicile.

On the other hand, case law establishes that your domicile remains unchanged until you actually establish another domicile elsewhere.  In your case you created some legal connections in SD and watered down your case for a continued Washington domicile. Maybe Elmo could avoid that. But case law is not binding on the Washington DMV either...
 

Elmo

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Here is an update of our situation.  I had several emails with the DOL in Washington State.  As I suspected, we can't stay Washington residents (no surprise here).  A physical address is required.  If we use someone else's address (like our kids) this is a felony.  Now, that's scary.  :eek:

However, we have a little breathing room.  As far as the state is concerned, our vehicle licenses are valid until they expire in Feb 2008. Same thing with driver's licenses (for several years).  The quote from the DOL guy was "The state has no opinion."  So, we will be retired at the end of March 2007, and be wheels rolling by the end of April.  We have a few months before we have to do anything, but we will probably be joining Jeff Cousins as SD residents.  SD will allow us to become residents without ever setting foot inside it.  (Now THAT's a friendly state!) However, we do have to show up to take the vision test for driver's licenses.  There is time for that.
 

Jeff

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Elmo said:
Here is an update of our situation.  I had several emails with the DOL in Washington State.  As I suspected, we can't stay Washington residents (no surprise here).  A physical address is required.  If we use someone else's address (like our kids) this is a felony.  Now, that's scary.  :eek:

However, we have a little breathing room.  As far as the state is concerned, our vehicle licenses are valid until they expire in Feb 2008. Same thing with driver's licenses (for several years).  The quote from the DOL guy was "The state has no opinion."  So, we will be retired at the end of March 2007, and be wheels rolling by the end of April.  We have a few months before we have to do anything, but we will probably be joining Jeff Cousins as SD residents.  SD will allow us to become residents without ever setting foot inside it.  (Now THAT's a friendly state!) However, we do have to show up to take the vision test for driver's licenses.  There is time for that.

Elmo:

Like you we were in no hurry to switch and it was actually done a few weeks before our first plate expired.

I will offer this advice also: Until you are ready to switch to SD be careful how you handle your banking relationship. We notified Bank of America that we only wanted to change our MAILING address to SD because every time I started to bring up SD they wanted me to cancel our account and go open a new one in Sioux Falls.

They still ask where we opened the account and I tell them Arlington, WA. ;D
 

Wa_mermayd

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I know this is an old thread but we are Washington State people and are going to be fulltiming it in about a month.  Have these requirements changes?  Is SD the only state that will let you do claim residency in that fashion (only setting foot to get your license)?

This didn't even occur to me as a problem.  Thanks -
Paula
 

mrschwarz

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Texas is a popular state for full timers and their residency requirement is 30 days.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Florida is another state that is quite easy to establish domicile, especially if you have no presence in another state.

Most states have recently made their driver license identification requirements much more stringent, in response to the federal Real ID law that requires the states to provide some form a verifiable ID. Most states are doing that via their driver license. Part of the requirement is to have a verifiable physical address and that presents some difficulties for some fulltimers. Changing to another state may not resolve your physical address problem because many other states are doing the same thing.

There are proposed changes to the Real ID law that would modify or remove some of the more burdensome requirements, but timing and the exact nature of any change is still up in the air.
 

Ken & Sheila

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SD allows you to use a campground address to satisfy the physical address issue for "Real ID". They were already doing this for CDL  licenses. Since Americas Mailbox now has a campground this is easy. We did have to fill in a form about our intent to return to SD.

ken
 

Wa_mermayd

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Thanks for the updates.  My family (husband and baby) will be living fulltime in our RV.  We just can't afford first-last-and-deposit anymore.  So we sold everything, sold our vehicle and purchased a used '93 mini winnie to live in.  He is looking for work in WA as well as CA.  We have recent temp job history demonstrating work in WA State so I'm hoping that will help.  We'd rather not change our residency if we can avoid it.  If he gets a job in CA and we end up driving the rig there, well, we'll have to change residency but CA is SO expensive to register a vehicle in.  It's crazy.

Thanks for all your comments.  I guess we'll find out on Monday when we go to register our rig!  I'll update you all with what I find.

Paula  :)
 

NWLanding

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I'd like to resurrect this thread because we're investigating our options in Washington State . Some additional research has uncovered the following from the Washington State Department of Revenue web site:

Washington State residency definition
Persons are considered residents of this state for sales and use tax purposes if they take actions which indicate that they intend to live in this state on more than a temporary or transient basis. A person may be considered a resident of this state even though the person is a resident of another state.

The Department of Revenue presumes that a person is a resident of this state if he or she does any of the following:
  • Maintains a residence in Washington for personal use;
  • Lives in a motor home or vessel which is not permanently attached to any property if the person previously lived in this state and does not have a permanent residence in any other state;
  • Is registered to vote in this state;
  • Receives benefits under one of Washington's public assistance programs;
  • Has a state professional or business license in this state;
  • Is attending school in this state and paying tuition as a Washington resident or is a custodial parent with a child attending a public school in this state;
    Uses a Washington address for federal or state taxes;
  • Has a Washington State driver's license; or
  • Claims Washington as a residence for obtaining a hunting or fishing license, eligibility to hold public office or for judicial actions.
Persons may rebut the presumption of residency if they provide other facts which show that they do not intend to reside in this state on either a temporary or permanent basis. A Washington resident who intends to move at a future date, however, will be considered a Washington resident.

Has anyone tested these options, or have anything to add to this?

Thanks
 
B

bucks2

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If you decide to be a WA resident, try real hard to not have your address in Pierce, King or Snohomish (Tacoma, Seattle, Everett) county where the RTA (Regional Transit Authority) taxes are collected. It adds $587.00 to my MH registration this year, and a similar amount every year until the end of time. Someone up the list mentioned low cost vehicle registration, be aware of this caveat.

Also be aware of the state sales/use tax. If for example you decide to buy another motorhome, even if you buy it in another state, if you are a "resident" of WA and you are going to register it in WA state you have to pay the sales/use tax. Again depending on the county of your residence, up to 9.95% of the sales amount. $200,000 motorhome? $20,000 additional tax.

Ken
 

NWLanding

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bucks2 said:
If you decide to be a WA resident...
Ken

Thanks Ken. I should have been more clear about the fact that we're already Washington residents. Good point about the effect of the RTA tax.
 

Jeff

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We were WA residents until I retired in 2005 and wanted to remain so. The above definition of living in a motorhome worked for us until it was time to renew our driver's licenses and motorhome plates.

The WA Dept of Licensing told us they would not issue a license to our new PMB address, that we needed to have an address other than a PO Box or PMB. Since we didn't we moved our domicile to SD. The requirement for an address was because of all those living within the Seattle RTA tax limits trying to "move" their vehicles to PO Boxes outside the tax zone.

I tried to point out the discrepancy between the DOR definition of resident and the refusal to issue a drivers licenses to a non-physical address to no avail. They kept asking for a lease, real estate tax bill, or utility bill to support an address.
 

Bozworth

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Nobody should have to pay taxes twice as state B must credit taxes paid in state A. But unfortunately a lot of locations are getting creative and calling the sales tax by some other name. It is a tax trap to watch out for and there are some states you will want to avoid even driving through.
 

herekittykitty

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NWLanding said:
Lives in a motor home or vessel which is not permanently attached to any property if the person previously lived in this state and does not have a permanent residence in any other state;

Hey, thanks for digging that up. Maybe by the time we go fulltime this will be easier. We're planning on staying in the west. I don't see us traveling to SD just to establish residence/renew a driver's license.

FWIW, I noticed that on the Thousand Trails website, they won't sell a membership to a SD residents. Some of those campgrounds are really nice and I wouldn't want to jeopardize that as a possibility if we ever decided to use it part of the year.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I see that the TT Zone Pass cannot be sold to residents of SD, MN or MS. Probably some condo or timeshare brokering or licensing issue. Wonder if it applies to all TT membership sales, or just the Zone Pass?
 
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