How to choose a domicile


One of the questions we frequently get relates to domicile. Here are two recent questions plus a reply and two resources.

Question: Hi, My wife and I will be going full time sometime in the spring of 2014 after our house sells. Could you please give me some good information on the best states to buy an RV for sales taxes and Reg. Also what is the best state to make as a home state and a 30 year Navy retiree. Thanks Tony

Question: “I purchased your books and have read about domicile. Do you have any information on where most of the full-time RVers have their domicile? I am very new to all this and have been reading but haven’t found anything that indicates where most or the largest percentage of full-time RVers consider their domicile to be. I have joined several —Good Sam, Escapees and Workampers. I would like to work as I travel to see this beautiful country of ours and need to get picked up by one of the companies that hire full-time RVers . I appreciate your books and will continue to read them and others but was wondering if you might be able to help me find out where most of the full timers are domiciled. Thanks.” Kenn H

Answer: It can be tempting to choose a no-sales-tax state to purchase your RV. However, long term, that state may not make a good choice for your domicile. States need revenue and if they do not have sales tax, then they have other taxes like state income tax. States with no statewide sales tax are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon.

You need to look at your total financial picture including registration, insurance and income tax. Check the Federation of Tax Administrators site for getting a comparison of taxes in all 50 states. I would get insurance quotes from and check registration costs for your vehicles in all three states. Use these to determine what the best overall picture is for you.

In the forums I participate in and RVers I talk to, I’d say Texas and South Dakota are a little more popular than Florida. But, it might have something to do with the area of the country you are from. Easterners tend to like FL for retirement so are more inclined to choose that as a homebase. It is a little more difficult, it seems, to find good health insurance in SD since they will not insure someone using a mail- forwarding service as their address. Fees, though, seem to be a little cheaper in S.D.

Kenn, you’d probably be safe going with any of these three states, but you do have to initially go there and set it up and periodically go back to renew your drivers’ license. RETIRE_TO_AN_RV_prt_250 x157Sometimes there is a good reason to use another state: property or relatives there so you have an address or the overall tax picture is good for you. So, Tony, while these three states are good for most RVers, be sure to look at the overall picture before you decide.

Other resources: See Choosing Your RV Home Base, 2nd ed and Retire to an RV: The Roadmap to Affordable Retirement, which has a chapter on choosing your domicile.

Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

May 6, 2013
Categories : Domicile, RV retirement
Technorati Tags: domicile rv rv retirement


  1. Liz Bard says:

    If Tony has a disability from the military that is 50% or higher, he can register one vehicle in Texas with DV (disabled vet) tags or Purple Heart for $3.00 per year. If they want to buy property in Texas – don’t know if it works in a RV Resort – at this time a 100% disabled vet in Texas is exempt from property and school taxes. I know there is one in Livingston, TX that is about one or two hours from Houston where there is a VA. Texas also does not have income taxes.

    If something happens to Tony and he has the special $3.00 tags or property, we voted several years ago that the widow/er also qualify for the exemptions. My registration fees for a 2002 Winnebago, 35′ in Nacogdoches is $120, then we pay $3.00 for the car. We still have a sticks and brix house but do not go RVing full time. This is our vacation vehicle or if my husband has doctor’s appointments in Shreveport, then we can stay on base or at other parks for under $30 a night.

  2. Jaimie Bruzenak says:

    Thanks, Liz. That is information I did not know and certainly a help to our disabled vets. Appreciate your comment.


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