Is Registering Your Vehicle in Montana the Right Choice?
Oftentimes prospective members ask a question as to whether registering their vehicles in Montana is a good idea or not. The answer could be yes or no, depending on each person's own individual situation. We would certainly not condone illegal behavior by evading tax laws, but there is no restriction on avoiding taxes, which is certainly fully legal.
Many states don't like the idea that you are registering your vehicle in any state other than their own...it's a money thing. However, Montana still allows people to do it despite some states putting pressure on Montana to stop the practice.
To begin the procedure to register a vehicle in Montana, the parties need to open an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation). Since many people who choose to do this do not have the knowledge of Montana corporate laws or the legal expertise, it is usually a good idea to hire a legal professional/attorney to do this work for them.
In Montana, an LLC is good for one year and needs to be renewed every year. To be able to decide if the Montana option is good for you, ask yourself several questions...
If you've already bought and paid sales tax on your vehicle, then for that, you've lost that money but you can still decide if you want to for future purchases.
In most cases, if the vehicle is a Travel Trailer (TT), most 5th wheels or a used entry level motor coach, it probably isn't worth it. For example, depending on variables (loan on the vehicle, is the vehicle in a Trust, do you own the vehicle outright, etc.), the cost of opening up an LLC can be around $1,500 and cost around $150 per year to maintain. In addition, Montana now has an $800/year tax on motorhomes less than 10 years old.
We recommend checking with Bennett Law Office in Missoula, Montana. They can answer any questions you may have:
(866) 543-5803 [Toll-Free]
124 W Pine Street
Missoula, MT 59802
P.O. Box 7967
Missoula, MT 59807
(888) 543-5804 [Toll-Free]
Whether or not you decide an LLC in Montana is a good thing for you, you can still use Americas-Mailbox to handle all your mailing needs as well as (if you want to) your Home Base Services such as driver's license, income taxes (federal only as SD has no state income taxes), health insurance, your billing address and so on.
South Dakota Vehicle Registration
Once you are filling out the agreement to become a member of Americas Mailbox, in order to save you time and avoid unnecessary delays, please email or fax us your completed checklist, to have us calculate how much it will cost to register your vehicles in South Dakota at the same time as you send in your application. Fill in ALL the information on "Vehicle Checklist" form, included in your application kit, before you ask us to calculate the costs. Of course, there are never any inspections or proof of insurance required. Your vehicles never need to be in South Dakota.
Remember, when you have us handle your vehicle registrations long distance, you can have our in-house insurance agent give you a quote on the low, low South Dakota vehicle insurance rates!
The fee for our full registration service is currently only $30-$50 for most first-time registration of vehicles in SD, and for the work and services that this requires, it is a bargain. You can utilize the expertise of our entire TEAM of vehicle registration experts, who will fill out all the needed paperwork on your behalf.
PLEASE NOTE: We do NOT utilize the DMV when handling your vehicle registrations. In South Dakota, the DMV only handles driver's licenses. If you or your dealer refer to, or mail to, the DMV, your registrations may be delayed for weeks or months while that paperwork is in the wrong hands.
License and registration fees are calculated based on the age and weight of your specific vehicles and then prorated for the first year based upon the first letter of your last name. Please supply us with this information on our checklist as described above and we will tell you the cost. If you only want your costs figured before you handle your own registration, the fee is $15.00 plus tax.
If you own outright OR have just purchased the vehicle, you must supply the original title or the original manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (keep copies for your records).
If you do NOT have the title in your possession, you must obtain the original paper title from your lienholder. Fill out the required title request form that we supply you. You will also sign our Power of Attorney in front of a notary in the same way your name(s) appear on the vehicle title so that we may complete the process for you.
In South Dakota, for trailers, fifth wheels and motorhomes, we will need either:
Set up your account with us BEFORE you register your vehicle - and this is important - especially before you buy your new vehicle as well. If you do not, you will probably pay big money unnecessarily. A few of the states have requirements as to how long you must be a resident of another state before you can avoid paying sales tax on a purchase; check with your current state and dealer to make sure you meet their requirements.
The excise tax (which you pay on vehicles in South Dakota) is only 4%. If you have NEVER paid sales tax, they will apply that 4% to the purchase price, if new, or to the NADA value, if more than 6 months old. If you have a bill of sale showing your purchase price and/or any sales tax paid, you can use that to fill in the information on the Tax Verification Affidavit (link below).
When you a buy a vehicle, whether new or used, on which you will be paying the 4% to South Dakota, you MUST have us complete your paperwork and licensing within 45 days of the sale date, or you will be paying a late fee in addition to the one-time 4% tax. It does not matter how long your temporary tags from another state may be good for; South Dakota starts assessing penalties on the 46th day.
South Dakota assesses the one-time 4% tax (if you have not paid at least that much to another state) on all vehicles, EXCEPT a purchase of a vehicle over 11 years old for an amount less than $2200.
For you folks who are from the East Coast, what South Dakota calls an Excise Tax is NOT what you are used to. Think of this as you would a sales tax. This is NOT a tax that you have to pay every year, over and over...this is a one-time charge. In fact, if you've already paid 4% or more state sales tax on your vehicles, you would not have to pay it again.
If you've paid less than 4%, you'll have to pay the difference. If you have held the clear title for at least one year, issued from a state collecting at least 4% sales tax, you simply sign an affidavit verifying that the tax has already been paid.
We register your vehicles for you long-distance through our Power of Attorney that you have notarized wherever you're at. It is important to have the notary WITNESS your signature, and please make sure that there is NOTHING crossed out or erased, by either you OR the notary, or the document will be void. We can finish filling in the details for you, or call if you have any questions about what to check.
You do NOT have to have a South Dakota driver's license to register your vehicles in Pennington County. However, you cannot obtain any specialty or vanity license plates until you have a South Dakota driver's license. When you get the driver's license, you can then obtain personalized, disabled, commercial radio, veteran, and other types of special plates.
Please note: When you are planning to sell your vehicle that is already registered in South Dakota, please read through New SD Cars Info before proceeding.
If you have not downloaded the Full Application Kit, the basic vehicle checklist portion is shown below, as well as some other forms you may need to fill out in order to have us complete the paperwork and obtain the plates for your vehicles. Please download the correct specialized forms for boat and boat trailer registration, leased vehicles, or vehicles in a trust.
Other forms you may need to fill out to allow us to complete your vehicle registration:
When we RENEW your vehicle registration for you, this form may be needed if the state did not issue a "courtesy" card for your renewals:
Vehicle Renewal General Authorization - Please fill in, sign, and mail us the original as required by the Treasurer's office.