Aug 292013

Yesterday afternoon we got the last of the new issue of the Gypsy Journal mailed out, and breathed a big sigh of relief to have that chore behind us. Since it was a gray, ugly day and not suitable for kite flying, I celebrated by taking a nap when we got back from the post office.

At 5 p.m. we went to a local restaurant called The Lost Roo with Dan and Patty Chance and Nancy Kissack. Though we’ve known them a long time and they have attended our rallies, this was the first opportunity we’ve had to just relax and socialize and we had a great time. So much so that after we finished eating we sat talking and lost track of time until we realized it was closing time! Hey, when you’re having a good time with good people, the time really does fly!

Of the things many RVers fear, fire is very near the top of the list. Aside from the physical danger, while it would be a terrifying experience for snowbirds or weekend campers, for fulltimers seeing your home in wheels going up in flames can be devastating. Losing your recreational vehicle is bad enough, but when everything you own in the world is in it, you’re in real trouble.

When we were brand new fulltimers, we attended Life on Wheels, where we took Mac McCoy’s excellent fire safety class. Mac is the recognized expert in RV fire safety and if you haven’t been to one of his seminars at an RV rally, make it a point to do so. It can save your RV and your life. We had two small fires in our bus conversion, and both times Terry quickly put them out before they could do serious damage, because Mac had taught her how to react.

Something Mac advocates is keeping a bailout bag next to the front door at all times, which contains at least one change of clothing, copies of your insurance policies, a credit card, medications or prescriptions, an extra pair of eyeglasses, and contact information for your insurance agent, bank, and doctors. A lot of RVers also include an external hard drive with their important computer information backed up on it. I hope you never need it, but if you ever do, it will come in handy.

One topic I get asked about a lot are Montana LLCs. For years I have been preaching against setting up a Montana LLC to avoid paying sales taxes on an RV. It’s popular with people who live in a state with high registration costs and sales tax, who want to save money. However, it can really bite you in the butt if your home state catches you. Fines can be well over $10,000 and several states are actively looking for residents who do this, including Colorado, Arizona and California. The latest is Iowa, as this story in the Des Moines Register reports.

There are also problems for fulltimers who use LLCs. In one case I know of, there was a major accident and the RVer’s insurance company would not pay because he bought the insurance as a private individual and the RV was registered to an LLC, which is a company. They said he needed commercial insurance. There have been other problems, including California demanding road taxes because an RV licensed to an LLC is considered a commercial vehicle. We also had a subscriber whose bank called the loans on his RV and car because by setting up an LLC he had limited his liability and they loaned the money to buy the RV based upon his credit worthiness.

There are a couple of paralegals or attorneys in Montana who advertise in RV magazines to set up LLCs for RVers and, of course, they will assure you this will never happen. A few years ago one of these outfits challenged me for writing about my stand on this. I replied that if he would buy a $100,000 insurance bond to guarantee to protect me if I got in trouble with his LLC, I would not only set one up, but would admit I was wrong and promote it in every issue of the Gypsy Journal. He declined. I wonder why.

Bad Nick has been silent for a while, but he has some things to say today about guns, something else that I get asked about by new RVers. Check it out his new Bad Nick Blog titled You’re Not Wyatt Earp.

Thought For The Day – A woman’s mind is cleaner than a man’s because she changes it more often.

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Nick Russell

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  3 Responses to “Friends, Fires, & LLCs”

  1. I am sure you have noticed that the people who cheat and set up a “legal” LLC are those who can most afford to pay the taxes due in the first place. I hope state’s close up all of these loopholes and the cheaters get caught and pay fees and fines.

  2. I read the article and there was one concern I had. It seems the laws includes: The new Iowa law provides that if a vehicle owned by a nonresident is located in Iowa for more than 90 consecutive or nonconsecutive days and is operated by an Iowa resident during that time, the vehicle is not considered to be in the state temporarily.

    This could be construed to mean several things, including that if you are in Iowa for 90 days you become an Iowa resident and owe the taxes on the vehicle. This would be of great concern to full timers who work camp or are visiting family for the summer.

    These states really fail to understand the full timing or long term RVer who travel a lot and spend time sometimes months in one state then another. You are legally only required one domicile and it seems these states are beginning to be desperate for money and are attempting to make residents of everyone who stays any length of time in their state.

    Just some thoughts.

  3. I would think the RV lobbyists would not let this go through as well as FMCA. Iowa could actually be shooting themselves in the foot.

    Full-timers can always register in Montana as an LLC and just not go and spend any money in Iowa or the other states. Simple as that.

    We own a 1979 MCI 5C Coach Conversion so it is not an issue with us. Registration in California is low. I can see where the big expensive coaches would have to pay a lot more. just my thoughts.

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