Once you start researching the nomadic lifestyle you’ll see one topic come up repeatedly. Everyone wants to know the best states for full-time RVer domiciles. The problem with asking this question in full-timer discussion forums and Facebook groups is that there is no single answer. Choosing the best state to register your RV if it’s your full-time home as a domicile is a complicated matter, so let’s examine the situation a little more.
The Final Choice Depends on Your Situation
Many people confuse the terms “residence” and “domicile” so let’s begin by clarifying those terms. A residence is simply where you live for the time being. Some people have many residences, such as people who spend time on property they own in multiple states. The California RV park where I spend winter is one of my many residences as I travel around, but it’s definitely not my domicile.
A domicile is not just a temporary home base for full-time RVers. A domicile involves legal paperwork. This is why it’s a more complicated choice than where to park your home. The bureaucrats of this world force all of us to have an official domicile. Our domicile is the state in which we choose to file paperwork concerning our important legal affairs, like vehicle registration and tax filings.
We also need a verifiable domicile for public obligations, like jury duty. Once we choose a domicile, federal and state governments want us to prove that we always intend to live in that state for the majority of the year. We must do so in order to show that we’re not just calling that state our home in order to escape paying income or property taxes.
Proving our intention is even more complicated. This subject alone is fodder for a future blog post. We’ll get there eventually but right now we’ll examine the three most popular and best states for a full-time RVer domicile.
The Three Best States for Full-time RVer Domiciles
The best states for full-time RVer domiciles generally come down to Texas, Florida or South Dakota. All three states are income tax-free, the government entities will accept mail-forwarding addresses and they are headquarters for mail-forwarding services. A full-timer’s final choice of domicile usually comes down to a few important factors that affect a person’s wallet:
- Health insurance options and premiums
- Vehicle licensing fees and annual inspection requirements
- Ease to get mail on the road
- If you’re an entrepreneur, ease of running a business from that state is also a major factor.
What’s right for one full-timer isn’t always right for another. Like many things about this lifestyle, everyone’s situation is different. Some of us are working, many of us are cashing social security checks. Some full-timers own property and have complicated estates. Others don’t own anything more than what’s stored in their rig. This is just a snapshot of how a person’s financial picture affects their choice of a domicile.
Talking to other full-timers in discussion forums can get you thinking about which state you want to choose. Ultimately only you can decide which state works best for you. The good news is that if you choose a state and find out it doesn’t work well in your situation, the U.S. grants us all the freedom to choose another domicile whenever we wish.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.