An RV can cost you tens of thousands of dollars, not including a considerable amount on top you will need to spend to upgrade it and on accessories to make it a comfortable mobile home. Thus shopping around and researching the best time or the cheapest state to buy an RV for such a big purchase can potentially save you a few thousands.
Different states have different levels of sales tax and other taxes on the purchase of vehicles, which can make a significant difference, especially when you consider the big price tag of an RV. Find out the best states to buy an RV and other useful tips to plan your purchase accordingly.
RV Sales Tax & Other Taxes
A buyer pays sales tax on a newly purchased vehicles depending on the state where the vehicle is registered, not where it is bought. You are required to register your vehicle at the location of your primary residence.
Before, when the laws on vehicles sales tax were not as strict, many people registered their vehicles in states with low sales tax regardless of their place of residence. For example, Montana does not have a general sales tax and people from other states are allowed to register their vehicle there, making it the ideal state to purchase cars and RVs.
However, avoiding sales tax via loopholes in the law is not as easy anymore. Some states without a general sales tax, namely Alaska, Delaware, Oregon and New Hampshire, have fixed this issue by requiring that if you want to register and title a vehicle, you have to be a legal resident of these states.
Other states including California, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and Massachusetts require buyers to register a vehicle brought into these states within a certain period after they have bought the vehicle from another state.
In addition, the well-documented paperwork associated with the vehicle purchase makes it easier for tax collectors to track the transactions and collect what’s due. Furthermore, in most states, you will have a hard time getting insurance for your car if it’s not registered in your state of residence.
The Cheapest State to Buy an RV
The huge difference among states in sales price of RVs, sales tax and other taxes prompt buyers to seek the cheapest state to buy an RV.
There are a few states to consider, however Montana is undoubtedly the cheapest state to buy an RV, as it has 0% general sales tax, and in addition 0% county sales tax plus 0% city sales tax. Unlike many other states with strict tax collection enforcement, Montana allows people from out of state to buy and register a vehicle there.
If you live outside of Montana, you can search around among many service providers that will take care of the whole process for you for a small price, saving a lot of time, money and effort registering the vehicle and bringing it to your place of residence.
Other States to Buy an RV
Montana is the only state with such unreal tax situation and the only state that allows people residing in other states to register vehicles there. Good news: if you can be flexible in terms of your primary residence, that is if you are free to choose to move to a certain state of your choice, you have a few other options to choose from.
First, your top choices are the states with the absolutely 0% income tax, as you’ll need to make one of these states your primary residence. Among these states, choose those with 0% tax on interest income and dividend income to minimize your tax expenses. The states that satisfy the above requirements are: South Dakota, Wyoming, Florida, Washington, Texas and Nevada.
To filter further, the other important factors in looking for the next best states to buy an RV are low sales tax and 0% or low personal property tax. Excluding Florida and Washington, the states that do have personal property tax, we have the cheapest states to buy an RV as follows:
|State||Sales Tax||Personal Property tax|
In short, the absolute best state to buy an RV is Montana. You can buy and register your RV there without actually living in the state, and you can find service providers who will take care of the whole process for a small fee.
The next best choices with total taxes from low to high are South Dakota, Wyoming, Texas and Nevada. Texas is the state with the highest number of full-time RVers, while South Dakota comes second.
Next on the list of best place to buy an RV are Florida and Washington, the 2 states with friendly sales tax rate but have personal property tax.
Buying an RV is a big investment and it’s also a choice of life style, thus in addition to seeking the best deal and the best place to buy a camper, make sure you research thoroughly the living conditions, the laws and the RV market in these states to make an informed long-term decision.
Best Time to Buy an RV
Besides knowing which state to get the best price on an RV, choosing the right time to buy your motorhome is also important which can save you a handsome amount of money.
In most places, the best time to buy a new RV from a dealer is during mid winter when the sales of recreational vehicles is dropping. Many salepeople are willing to offer big discount to make new sales during this season. You should visit RV trade show to get the best deals on your dream motorhome.
If you want an used RV, wait until the fall and the time right before the new models are released.
You might want to look for the best RV to live in full time for safer, more enjoyable traveling on the road.