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Declaring Domicile

As Published In Airstream Live Riveted
Declaring Domicile

If your dream is to one day make the leap to a ‘Live Riveted’  lifestyle, then this series is for you! We’ve connected with full-time Airstreamer Ramona Creel to hear her perspective on steps to year-round RV travel, and all of the important details you will need to organize before you hit the road.

What do wanna-be full-timers need to consider?

Life is very different when you don’t have a set home base, and you have to plan accordingly. How will you get your mail? Which financial institutions will branches/ATMs in every part of the country? Or can you get away with strictly online banking? Will your health insurance give you a hard time about seeing doctors in other states — and how will you find a good dentist in Phoenix or Sioux Falls or Schenectady? What kind of insurance will you need to protect your belongings? What will you do if your RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere? And how in the heck will you have reliable internet access as you travel?

Where do you suggest they begin?

Embarking on a full-timing lifestyle begins with a whole lot of research. You can’t just sell your house, pack your stuff, and hit the road — not unless you’re planning to completely unplug from society in the process! The first item to consider is in which state to declare domicile. When you own a home and live in a set location, you are automatically a resident of that state. But when you’re mobile, you can choose any state for your residency. You simply have to transfer all of your personal and business accounts (vehicle and voter registration, driver’s license, professional licenses) and permanent legal address to that state. The hard part is choosing the right state for your situation.

How much time do you need to spend in that state?

The rules for declaring domicile as a full-timer are different for each state. Some require you to live there several months out of the year, others even expect you to own property, but a few simply asked that you set up a permanent mailing address and spend one night in a local campground to establish yourself as a resident. (Sweet!)

How do taxes vary from state to state?

Most states require you to pay state and even possibly local income tax — if the goal is to reduce your expenses, focus only on states with no income tax. Then there’s income tax. The idea of worrying about a state’s sales tax rate may seem silly, when you plan to spend very little time shopping there, but if you buy your rig before declaring domicile in a state that has a HIGHER sales tax than your original state, you will owe them the difference. Fortunately, if you choose one with a lower sales tax rate, you might actually get money back on your vehicle registration. States like Florida, which do not have an income tax and have a lot of retirees, charge an “intangible property tax” on investments and other “invisible” assets as another way to raise revenue. This isn’t a particularly important item to me because I don’t have millions in the bank, but for someone who has a substantial portfolio, choosing a state with no intangible property tax could mean a sizable savings.

Any other expenses to consider?

Insurance rates vary radically by state, so the wrong choice of domicile could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars a year. Instead of inquiring with online quote services, you’ll have much better luck when you speak to a local insurance agent who specializes in working with RVers.

Which state did you choose?

Armed with my trusty spreadsheet and this initial comparison, I became (god help me) a Texan! But you might find that another state better suits your needs — it’s different for each full-timer.

Wow, what valuable information to begin the process to full-timing as an Airstreamer! If you need Ramona’s help making he leap to year-round RVing, contact her!

Ramona has so much more to share, so be on the lookout for more to come about vehicle registration, mail forwarding, protecting yourself, roadside assistance, and more!

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Copyright 2001 RamonaCreel.com

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.

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