Home No Excuses: Go Nomadic

Picking a Domicile State, Getting Mail & Voting as a Nomad

Last Updated: October 2018

Mail. Bills. Voting. If you’re a nomad wanting to remain all legal-like, you’ll need to take all these things into account. How does one handle all of these logistical things when you don’t have a physical fixed home address? Answering questions about how we get our mail is surprisingly one of our most frequent questions!

It’s amazing how many mundane details in life are dependent upon having an address.

When contemplating becoming intentionally homeless and embarking on a life of travel, trying to muddle through all of these simple little details can begin to seem insurmountable. But never fear – you don’t have to let a little red tape keep you tied down. There’s always a way around, and it really isn’t even all that complicated.

The first step is deciding where you want to be “from”. Smartly setting up this “home base” can give you a strong foundation to travel from.

Picking a Domicile State

Please note… domicile is a complex legal topic that you need to carefully consider. We are not lawyers and the only advice we’re giving here is that you might need to seek one out to advise you. This is just our general understanding of the issues and considerations.

Which state to choose?

Most of the obstacles center around one critical choice – where will your legal permanent address be if you’re no longer maintaining a fixed home? Most everything you do, will require having a permanent address.  For US citizens, you need a legal address to handle things like a driver’s license, vehicle registration, passport, banking accounts, credit cards, insurance, filing taxes and so on.

But before selecting that address, you need to first select which state you want it to be in . Since your legal address is no longer dependent upon your physical location – you get to choose which state to declare your intentions of being domiciled at. The state you originate your nomadic journey from may actually not be at all advantageous to you as a nomad – or it might be very advantageous, but difficult to establish as a new nomadic resident.

But first, let’s talk about the difference between being a Resident and being Domiciled.  This was summed up nicely by the New York appeals court:

Residence means living in a particular locality, but domicile means living in that locality with intent to make it a fixed and permanent home. Residence simply requires bodily presence as an inhabitant in a given place, while domicile requires bodily presence in that place and also an intention to make it one’s domicile.

Each states sets its own rules as to what constitutes ‘bodily presence’, leaving you with the task of proving your intent. And it’s important to keep in mind – you are proving your intent not only to your new state, but also the state you are moving from – as well as any other state that may want to claim you for taxation.

Depending upon your unique situation, different states will make better sense for different people. If you’re earning an income, a state without a state income tax may be most appealing.

Of those, Texas, South Dakota and Florida tend to be the three most popular choices for their combination of benefits that support nomadic travelers and their ease of establishing your intent.

But income taxes alone shouldn’t be your sole deciding factor.  Here are some other considerations to fully investigate for your situation which may trump paying some taxes:

    • Insurance rates & accessibility (be sure to check not just for the state, but for the specific zip code – as these can vary widely even within a state)
    • Vehicle registration fees & requirements (ie. will your RV need to registered as a commercial vehicle due to weight/length, or will driver’s need a special license?)
    • Marriage, family, divorce and common-law rules
    • Sales tax rates
    • Taxation on dividends, retirement proceeds, capital gains and non-earned income
    • Property taxes
    • Corporate taxation & fees
    • Homeschooling laws (Here’s a Book: Homeschool Legally While You Travel the USA)
    • Time in state requirements (some require you to actually be in the state a certain amount of the time a year.)
    • Inheritance laws & taxation
    • Trusts and estate issues
    • Vehicle inspection rules
    • Jury duty obligations
    • Driver’s license & tag renewal logistics (do you have to show up in person?)
    • Where you own property and have existing connections
    • My protest on the courtsteps in SD over lack of ‘spaces’ in names.

      Availability of logistical support (such as mail forwarding services)

    • What stage of your travels you’re in (already own your RV or boat? Sold your house? Planning an imminent major purchase?)
    • Where you plan to spend most your time
    • Will their computer systems spell your name right? (I was quite upset to learn that South Dakota – the place of ‘Great Places and Great Faces’ doesn’t allow SPACES in names on driver’s license. Umm.. hello??)

Obviously, this can be a very complex decision with a lot of variables that you’ll have to weigh. We sum up a few of the top reasons South Dakota, Texas and Florida are frequent choices of full-timers below – but this sort of information can quickly become outdated. For sure, do your research and be careful where you get your research. A lot of the resources you’ll find on the web may be several years out of date.

The rules for establishing residency in a state will vary widely by state, so it’s important to fully research the states you are considering for your situation.  Some are more difficult than others, and the sequence of what you need to do first (get an address, driver’s license, register vehicles, etc.) can vary by quite a bit. New identification rules for getting a driver’s license can make it more and more difficult for a nomadic person to meet the requirements.

But by and large, it comes down to intent, especially when talking about establishing a domicile.  And the more you do to establish the intent, the more bullet proof your residency is should it ever be called into question.  It makes the most sense to use the same address for everything – identification, insurance, vehicle registrations, voting, tax filing, bills, bank & credit card statements, etc.  The more you can cut ties with any other state (especially the state you are moving from), the more you are expressing intent of establishing your domicile. It also makes sense to establish as many connections near your new address as possible to prove your intent should it ever come into question.

So many states!

What types of things might call your domicile into question?

  • Owning property and/or living in a tax aggressive state if it appears your legal move was to dodge those taxes by establishing yourself elsewhere.
  • Earning income in a state with aggressive income tax laws
  • Vehicles registered in states other than your domicile
  • Not fully proving to your former state of residence that you have fully cut ties
  • Getting pulled over and telling the officer you’re working locally (a common indication of being a resident, the state may want you to register your vehicles)
  • and more

You need to also be aware of what the local laws are for the places you actually find yourself staying at and have connections to.  You may intend to be considered domiciled in, say, South Dakota – but if you spend most your time in a more tax-aggressive state you may find yourself unintentionally considered as a resident – and thus owing state taxes, or being ticketed for not having your vehicles properly registered (Here’s a guide from  AAA that goes over vehicle registration rules for each state.)

If you’re going to be in a state  regularly and long enough to meet their residency conditions, it may be a good idea to just setup your domicile there anyway.

Domicile is a complex topic that can have unintended consequences for you, so don’t take this lightly.  Here’s the Escapees RV Club Guide to Domicile that we recommend following up with.

If you have circumstances that are anything but straightforward – it’s highly advised you consult a domicile savvy attorney or advisor for guidance. We recommend Loring & Associates (and so does the Escapees RV Club – actually Shawn Loring is now the Escapee’s CEO) as a starting place – they even offer a free initial consultation.

 

It’s also a good idea to browse many of the full-time RVing, traveling or cruising forums to see what the experiences have been of others.

Picking a Legal Address

Ok, so now you’ve picked the state that it makes the most sense to be on your driver’s license and intend to call your legal home.  Next step is to select what your actual address in that state should be.

First of all – no, you can’t use a US Postal Service PO Box as your primary address.  Most states will not accept this on a driver’s license, and many services you’ll need won’t accept it either.  They also don’t make a great mail forwarding option either.

Here are some possibilities to consider:

Using the address of a family member or friend

If you have connections to someone with a physical address in a state that makes sense for you, it may work out to ask a friend or family member if you can ‘live’ with them.  At least, legally speaking.

Just be sure this is someone you trust to handle some of your legal affairs; as any official mail will likely be coming here – jury summons, tax notifications, legal documents, registration renewals and more.  Discuss further if you’ll be using their address for all of your mail, and what they are to do with it when it arrives (hold it, trash it, forward it on)?   Also, make sure they’re in a stable housing situation – if they move, that also means you have to move.  And that can be a pain when you’re thousands of miles away.

Another consideration is that you’ll be legally considered part of their household – which means for any purposes of calculating total household income will now include yours and theirs. This could have negative unintended ramifications, such as if your added income disqualifies your friend or family member from receiving government benefits.

(If you opt for this route, don’t forget to thank your friend with an appropriate gift for the service!)

 Mail Forwarding & Domicile Services for Travelers

Chris ‘moving’ to South Dakota by sending in his notarized mail forms in 2007.

In many states that are popular domiciles, there are services specifically setup to support us full time travelers. They act as both a legal address for use on driver’s license, federal & local taxes, vehicle registration, voting, insurance and more – and a mailing address that can forward your mail to you. Most of them can accept packages from all of the delivery services, making them quite practical. Some of them will scan and send you your mail electronically, provide you an online mailbox, notify you when you get an document you were expecting and even assist you in establishing your domicile (such as registering your vehicles remotely.)

The fees for these services are quite reasonable, generally starting at under $10/month for a basic package. To establish them, you just have to sign & notorize some forms giving the service authorization to accept mail on your behalf, and perhaps a limited power of attorney to handle your vehicle registrations.

Patriot Act Warning: Using a commercial mail forward service does have a downside. All financial institutions are required by the Patriot Act to have a residential address on file for their account holders, and the rules specifically disallow mail forwarding services & PO Boxes. So if you change your address (or open a new account) using your mail forwarding address – you will likely at some point be asked to provide it. Not doing so can lead to accounts being restricted or suspended from transactions (we’ve had this happen, even on accounts we’ve held for over 10 years using mail forwarding addresses). You are legally allowed to use a ‘next of kins’ address, even if you don’t live there. Have a residential address, preferably within your state of domicile, ready to go. Don’t try to explain to the institution your situation – they’re just filling in blanks, or it could raise red flags (we tried this once, thinking we’d carve a path for RVers, and it resulted in them not accepting our family member’s address without proof we lived there.)

For more information on this, check our article on: Handling Money & Finances on the Road

In the three most popular states, here are some of the most frequently recommended services:

South Dakota:

Advantages: No income tax, low vehicle excise taxes (3-4%), easy exemption from jury duty, no vehicle state inspections, lower insurance costs, can renew driver’s license (every 5 years) one time remotely.

Disadvantages: RVer friendly medical insurance policies are of very limited availability – pretty much only those who qualify for Medicare can get affordable coverage with an ACA compatible plan that covers them outside of the state for anything but emergency care (check RVerInsurance.com for the latest), annual vehicle registrations are charged by weight (adds up for motorhomes), must present campground or motel receipt when obtaining driver’s license and you must return in 5 years to renew your license (after that, it can be renewed online every other 5 years).  Cold in the winter if you need to establish residency then or return for driver’s license renewals!

  •  My Dakota Address  – In Madison, SD.  This was our service when we were domiciled in SD – we were very happy with them, and many others seem to be well served by them too.  July 2018 Update – My Dakota Address went ‘out of business’ with only 4 days notice to their customers. 
  • America’s Mailbox – In Rapid City, SD. An advantage to this service, they also operate a campground and guest house, which might make it easier for showing a receipt of address when you go to get or renew your driver’s license (a newer requirement in SD – us transients have to show a lodging receipt).
  • Alternative Resources – In Sioux Falls, SD. This service is also frequently referenced on various RVing forums as being a reliable service that folks are happy with.
  • Escapees RV Club – Through their ‘Home’ service they now offer domicile support in South Dakota. Your mail is still forwarded from their TX location, but they provide a SD address that can be used for things like driver’s license, vehicle registrtion and such.

Florida

Advantages: No income tax, no vehicle state inspections, can renew driver’s license remotely once (every 8 years), multiple RVer-friendly health insurance options on and off the exchange, annual vehicle registration is a flat per vehicle rate, all vehicles registered as an RV are covered with your basic driver’s license class, great Florida residency discounts at theme attractions and for seniors, state parks campgrounds.
Disadvantages: Typically higher vehicle insurance rates, jury duty exemption not as proven (but has a high snowbird population), requires VIN inspection of your vehicles for initial registration (can be verified by an law enforcement officer in country however).
June 2018 Alert: An opinion from the Florida Department of State has been issued that could have impacts on the right to vote when using a mail forward service as your legal address. Here’s our article on this: 
  • St. Brendan’s Isle – In Green Cove Springs, FL, this is a service that is highly regarded in the cruising community and also assists travelers of all kinds.  When we legally moved to Florida in early 2013, this is the service we used – and are extremely happy with them. They scan the front of the envelop as our mail arrives, and give us options to manage our mail online. We can even instruct them to open the envelop and scan the contents to read online – which is very time saving.
    • December 2018 Voting Update: SBI has worked with Reynolds Park Yacht & RV Center in Green Cove Springs to establish Club Isle. All SBI customers are members of the club, granting them access to the amenities of the park – including slips and RV spots. This establishes a residential address for use for voter registration. The Supervisor of Elections has acknowledged this solution, and has set a deadline for existing registered voters to update their voter address by March 1, 2019. We feel good about this solution, and how it is transparent with the county. 
  • American Home Base – In Pensacola, FL, this service is also long established and frequently referenced as reliable. It’s also frequently referred to as the ‘Good Sam’ mail service.
  • My RV Mail – In Crestview, FL, this service is affiliated with the Passport America camping club, and is also used by quite a few nomads based out of Florida.
    • Voting Status – Both of the above could be impacted by the Florida Department of State opinion – we do not yet know what their solutions will be should their local authorities choose to enforce it. 
  • Escapees Home offers use of an address at their park in Bushnell, Florida as your legal address if you’d like to use their mail service in TX and be domiciled in Florida too. Only your domicile related mail will use this address and then will be forwarded to Texas to your box. All of your regular mail should go to your Texas address to avoid forwarding fees. This does allow you to switch domicile between TX, SD and FL a bit easier if needed.
    • Voting Status: The address is their campground. Since you can actually reside at the address you use for voter registration, it is considered to meet the guidance of the opinion issued by the state. The Supervisor of Elections has confirmed this with the Escapees. 

Texas

Advantages: No income tax, can renew driver’s license remotely once, multiple health insurance options, flat annual vehicle inspection rate, reasonable vehicle insurance rates, Escapee members in particular tend to have easier jury duty exemption.
Disadvantages: Requires annual vehicle inspection (exempt until you enter the state of Texas), for RVs over a certain weight you need a special driver’s license class that requires an exam.
  • Escapees – In Livingston, TX.  One reason Texas is so popular especially amongst full-time RVers is the Escapees RVing club. They’ve been around for decades and offer all sorts of services for RVers – from a network of campgrounds, discounts, a magazine, active user forums, rallies, partnered services for insurance and more. They also do a lot of work to protect RVer’s rights in domicile, voting and more. They also offer a mail forwarding service that is highly regarded to their members and you can pick Texas or Florida as your state of domicile with them.  (They are more than just a mail service and home address however – and worth joining regardless!)
  • Texas Home Base – In Wichita Falls, TX. An alternative to Escapees that caters to travelers of all sorts.

General Mail Box Services

Some folks opt to use a general personal mail box service that isn’t specifically geared to travelers. Places such as the UPSStore or individually owned ‘pack and mail’ locations can provide you a mailbox to receive mail and packages at, and some might even be able to package them all up and forward them on to you.  Do be sure to talk and/or meet the people in charge and make sure they really get your lifestyle.  As these places aren’t specifically setup for us travelers – it could be hit-or-miss if this is a workable situation for you by location.   But an advantage, especially amongst a place like the UPSStore, is that you can receive packages at any UPSStore location as you roam.

There’s also general virtual mail forwarding services out there  – such as EarthClassMail and TravelingMailBox.

Personal Assistant / Attorney

If you have a lot of mail or logistics to keep on top of as you travel, such as running a business, it may make sense to hire a personal assistant to take care of it for you. This person can receive and sort your mail, handle your incoming e-mail, deposit any checks that come in, answer phone calls and other such things – forwarding on only the important stuff that needs your attention.  If you’ve already vetted the individual out as someone you want to work with long term, you may even be able to use their address as your own.

Additionally, if you have a personal or business attorney, their office may be able to provide domicile services with an address and agent to receive any important documents on your behalf.  They can also serve as your registered agent for any business legal stuff.

Buy Property

Some folks just don’t trust that having a personal mailbox somewhere is enough to establish their residency. And some Patriot Act and tax aggressive state (your current state may be quite resistant to letting you go without you fully ‘settling’ down somewhere else) consequences reinforce this.  One example is financial institutions are supposed to now have a physical residential address on file for all of their customers, and more and more of their computer systems are rejecting personal mailboxes (as they’re technically at a business location).  Having an address handy to use if you ever get caught in this loop can come in quite handy to avoid getting your accounts locked out. Just buying an empty piece of land with a physical mailing address should suffice (but so wouldn’t a relative or friend’s address – just be cautious of muddling in a tax aggressive state that may want to claim you as their own.)

When choosing your residency address or service, consider which features and costs make the most sense for you.  You can also combine the options above – such as using the address of a relative for all your legal stuff, and then getting a mail forwarding service to be your general mailing address (again, it’s not advised to have multiple states involved).

When selecting a paid service, ask questions such as what the succession plan is? Some smaller organizations run by one person could put you in a lot of frustration if they get sick or need to leave the business, without trained staff to take over.  There have been enough examples of mail forwarding services just spontaneously going out of business, leaving their customers in quite a lurch to get their collected mail and then scrambling to ‘move’ to a new service.

Receiving your Mail while Roaming

Ok, so now you have an address to call home, and an address where your mail will be collected.

Kiki receiving her mail! (She always knows which ones are for her.)

A logical next step is to minimize the amount of mail you receive before you start traveling. Convert bills and statements over to electronic, and make sure you’re setup to pay online – either by online bill pay or payments going to a credit card. Get off mailing lists and cut out subscriptions. Encourage friends and family to engage in online communication, as opposed to snail mail.

Regardless of the circumstances, mail is going to to take extra time catch up to you if it’s being forwarded from another address. Make sure you’re on top of what bills come due when – such as renewals for insurance policies.  Sometimes you’re just going to have to be pro-active to keep everything up to date.

For actually receiving your mail as you’re traveling, options include:

  • Local Friends & Family – If you’re going to be visiting a town where you know someone, ask if you can use their address to have your mail sent.  If they’re agreeable, notify your mail forwarding service with their address, and make sure you give them plenty of lead time for the mail to reach you before you move on to your next location. This is our default – even if we’re not staying with them.  Some of our friends even first learn we’re heading into town because our mail starts showing up before we do!
  • Current Location – Most of the places you are paying to stay at are happy to let you use their address to receive your mail. Whether this be a campground, hotel, hostel or guesthouse.  It definitely helps the proprietors of the property get your mail to you if you clearly indicate your name and unit number in the shipping address. Some delivery services even deliver right to our RV’s doorstep, and some campgrounds provide an actual mailbox for this use. We’ve even received packages shipped UPS or FedEx at campgrounds by noting our site # and RV description in the address.

Tip: When having a package sent to you, always specify your name and unit number, along with a c/o of the location you’re receiving the mail at.  This will help make sure the package actually gets to you.   For instance:

Cherie Ve Ard, Site 16
c/o My Current RV Park
111 Anywhere St.
Anytown, NJ 00012

  • The c/o part is especially important for anything shipped USPS – as unless you are officially registered to receive mail at the address you are shipping to, the post office can return the item as undeliverable due to postal regulations.

  • Renting PO Boxes. If you’re planning to stay stationary for extended periods of time (perhaps more than a couple months), you may find it easiest to rent a PO Box at the local post office or a personal mail box place. It’s fairly cheap, and then you just need to use that address for anything you plan to receive.  This can get tricky tho when you move on, as you’ll need to remember to change your address, and decide how you’ll handle forwarding anything on that arrives after you leave.
  • Commercial Receivers – Some businesses, such as Fedex Office or UPS Stores, will also receive packages for you. Particularly if you are their customer.  Call and inquire at the office you want to receive at as to the procedures and policies.
  • General Delivery.  You can actually receive mail at the primary post office in a given city or town without having a PO Box, by having the mail addressed to:

Your Name
General Delivery
City, State, Zip+9999

The post office will hold your mail for up to 30 days (although you’re probably best to pick it up within a few days of delivery, not all post offices will hold it that long), and you can claim it by presenting your ID.  This system of mail predates even the telegraph, and savvy travelers have been taking advantage of this forever. Just be sure to research beforehand which post offices in the location actually accept general delivery, as not all do, especially in big cities. The USPS website location finder usually specifies if General Delivery is accepted, and it’s also a good idea to call ahead and verify.

Hint: If you need to ‘trick’ Amazon into shipping USPS for General Delivery, some have had success using ‘PO Box General Delivery’ as the street address.

There’s also the question of do you have everything sent to your permanent mailing address you establish?  This really depends on how fast you’re planning to change locations, and what the mail is.

Most online retailers are more than happy to let you ship anywhere while still using your permanent address as your billing address.  So if we know that we’re going to be somewhere, we almost always have stuff we order online ship directly to our current location.  This saves on package forwarding fees from our mail forwarding service, and saves a heck of a lot of time.

Amazon.com’s Prime service is a remarkable companion for US-based travelers, as they’ll ship anything they themselves carry for free via 2-night service. This really helps predict reliable delivery times – and you can order a wide array of goods from them – from books, movies, groceries, RV parts, gadgets, clothing and more.  If 2-days isn’t quick enough, affordable & discounted overnight options are offered as well. One difficulty of Amazon.com is that you don’t have specific control over how your items are shipped (UPS, FedEx or USPS). If you don’t have a shipping address (such as a campground or friend’s house) to receive any delivery at, and want to use the USPS General Delivery – one trick is to use the address of “PO BOX General Delivery” (instead of just ‘General Delivery) as the street address, which will force Amazon to use USPS for the delivery method. You can also have them ship packages to their lockers or retailers located in many locations for easy pick-up.

We’ve also found Netflix’s disc shipment service to be very nomad friendly. As long as you change your address by the time they receive your last return disc, they’ll ship to your new address.  As they have distribution centers all over the US, new discs usually arrive with as little as 3-day turn around time.  This has been a great way for us to watch TV series and new release movies (in addition to using RedBox centers as we roam.) This even worked while we were in the Virgin Islands!

There are annoyances and challenges from time to time. Deliveries are not guaranteed to always arrive someplace when you are still around, or shipping mistakes get made such that items may show up a day or two later than expected. This can be a problem if you’re planning to move on, and you may have had to adjust your departures to wait for a package.

We usually try to plan all our packages to arrive a couple days before our anticipated departure, and if a package seems delayed – we get tracking info to investigate what is going on. Some shipping services, such as UPS, will allow the sender to re-direct delivery, which we’ve certainly to had to pull the trigger on before.

Handling Things Remotely

Selling my house.. from thousands of miles away!

When you’re on the roam, you may encounter times when you need to handle some logistical paperwork matters and it’s simply impractical to show up in person. This is when having some tech in place can help tremendously.

Here are some suggestions of things to make sure you have a solution for before you hit the road:

  • Signing documents electronically. More and more official documents are sent via e-mail in either a Word or PDF format, and can be sent back the same way.  I’ve handled paperwork for selling my house remotely, signing business contracts & modifications, buying & selling cars/RVs, handling insurance matters and more this way.  We use Preview in Mac OSX, which has an awesome signature capture feature to add into PDF files. We’ll also occasionally use a iPad app for this, but haven’t found one we really like enough to recommend.
  • Printing. While something may come to you digitally, sometimes you just have to fill it out by hand. We carry a compact printer from Canon for just such instances. If you don’t have room to carry a printer, many places offer printing services – such as office supply stores, FedEx Office or even a hotel office.
  • Scanning documents.  Some companies just don’t get this electronic thing, and insist on sending you a paper contract to sign.  But they will take an e-mailed digital copy in return to initiate a contract (pending the hard copy following).  For this, you’ll need a way to convert a physical document into electronic.  There are some great small scanners and multi-function printers that might be workable if you have the space for them.  For us, we just use our iPhones or a camera to image capture them, and then assemble multiple pages into a PDF file in Mac’s Preview.  Saves a lot on equipment needs!
  • Electronic Faxing.  Surprisingly, faxes still exist.  It baffles my mind, but it does. And for some reason, some organizations consider a fax to be ‘real’ but an e-mailed signed document not to be.  For these times, you may need a way to send a fax from your computer.  Solutions like eFax.com and others provide services to help with this.  If those fail, you can still take a piece of paper down to a FedEx Office location and pay to fax it.

And sometimes, you’ll just need to find a public notary who can vouch for your identity and signature, and send the documents back.

Voting

Giving up your physical home in no way takes away your government representation – you still get to vote!  Your legal domicile address may be able to serve as your address to register to vote if you choose to. However some states, in particular Florida, require your voting address be a residential address. Some mail forwarding services don’t qualify for this, and others have made arrangements to utilize a RV Park / Marina’s address for these purposes.

Of course, you likely won’t be showing up in person to vote, so you’ll need to make arrangements in advance to get registered and get an absentee ballot in plenty of time for any elections you want to participate in.

One thing to get used to is that now you’re voting on a lot of  ballot items that are related to a location you likely have barely even visited, nevermind live in. It’s ok to bypass over the ones that don’t have a direct impact on you.

Our Logistics

Chris arriving to SD to get his driver’s license.

Chris lived in California before he hit the road, and I lived in Florida.

From 2007 – 2012, Chris and I claimed South Dakota for our domicile. We had all our personal stuff based out of there – our driver’s licenses, vehicle registration, banking, insurance, etc.  South Dakota is a popular choice for those planning a major vehicle purchase as they only charge a 3% excise tax.  This was our deciding factor at the time, and as we purchased 3 vehicles and 2 RVs while domiciled there.

We had all of our regular mail sent to our MyDakotaAddress.com address, and once or twice a month we contact the service with an address to forward our mail to.

 

However, our business, Two Steps Beyond LLC, was registered in the state of Florida – as we have most of our business relations based there. Also both of our parents live in Florida, which creates a very real tie for us to the state.

Starting in 2013, we also legally moved our personal domicile back to Florida for a variety of reasons – namely that we tend to spend a lot of time there anyway because of family and it is the most likely place we would settle down at. In 2013, our SD driver’s licenses were up for renewal, requiring a trip back – which is what tipped the edge for us. This also turned in our favor when most nationwide PPO health insurance options became non-nomadic friendly in South Dakota (as of 2019, there still remain options in Florida.)

We’re now using St. Brendan’s Isle as our mail forwarding service, who are just simply fantastic – we love handling our mail online.

Here’s a post that goes over all the reasons, costs and steps of setting up our domicile in Florida. 

 


What happened to the eBook version of this series?

 

Great for those gearing up to RV – RV Love’s new book that goes over EVERYTHING!

We used to offer an eBook version of this content on a ‘Pay as you Wish’ basis. That book got so out of date and we have no time to keep it updated – so we took it down.

We do our best to upkeep the segments in this blog series, but realistically can’t see republishing the book edition.

In November 2018, RV Love released their brand new (professionally published) book – Living the RV Life. It goes over a lot of similar content to this series (and more) on RVing. We highly recommend picking up a copy!

You’re of course welcome to browse the No Excuses: Go Nomadic series online for more of our tips & tricks on the logistics of nomadic travel.

If you do appreciate this series or the content on our blog, we always LOVE hearing your appreciation – leave a comment, leave a tip (link at bottom of every page) and/or share this post.  Thank you!


 

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111 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

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  1. Hi Cherie & Chris,

    Your post on Domicile was actually terrifying but very helpful. One thing I didn’t see covered is folks who rent out there house to travel full time. That is what we are about to do. I don’t imagine we can use our home address since renters will be using it. Not sure where to begin researching what to do next.

    Any suggestions?
    Thank you
    Dona Mondragon

    • Why not use one of the mail forwarding and address services that they suggested for your domicile address (mail/license/registrations/etc), and use your rented home’s address (add APT B maybe) for any banks that demand that you give them a physical address for your accounts. Perhaps you can put another locked mailbox on the property or something like that (APT B), explain to the tenants that any of your mail that they get by accident should be placed into that mailbox, and empty it out whenever you get back in town. Just make sure you set up all your bank accounts with paperless mail delivery and hopefully you will receive everything important online. But if your home is in a state that has state sales tax be careful, that link to your old state (renting your home) might give them a way of claiming that you need to pay state income tax (like California).

  2. Hi, thank you very much for all the terrific information. Me and my dog currently live in California but I am in the process of selling my home and getting out. We plan on going to Europe and jumping around between countries as a virtual tourist indefinitely, at least until I can obtain European citizenship. I am guessing these address and mailing services will work for us too, provided that they will mail to Europe. We don’t plan on spending any more time in the USA after we leave. I guess FL, SD, or TX would seem like the best bet for us to establish a mailing address residency? Perhaps we should establish a physical presence in another state first to help break ties with California though. I am concerned about the banking issues too since I will have no real estate property in the states and my only relative is untrustworthy and losing her mind 🙁 I believe we have about 7 months before we would leave. Anyway thanks again, you have given me a lot to think about!

      • yes, i believe i understand the rules for moving around europe (including jumping between gb, ireland, and the schengen area). it is tricky on a us passport with the 90/90 rule, but once i get dual citizenship in a schengen country it will be much easier. i would probably start off with a 180 day visa in italy anyway. my main concern is the bank rules as i would prefer to keep my assets in us banks, but the address will be difficult. eventually i will be able to get a drivers license in europe and i would probably purchase a small property in italy or france.

  3. Great info. We hope to be full timers in the next few months. We live in Calif but plan to travel the next two years. My Sister lives in the Portland Oregon area & said we could use their address. Does that mean we need to get Oregon licenses before we take off or just when they need renewing? Thanks for the info!

    • You’d have to check the requirements for Oregon.. I believe you have to physically live there a set amount of time before you can claim the state as your domicile. And California can be tough to break away from legally. Research carefully.

      • Our daughter & family live here in Cali, we may just use her address then until we decide where we want to end up. Both of us are retired & our income is deposited electronically & it should be limited mail anyway. Thank you for the fast response.

  4. We use a friend’s address – our attorney suggested that we have a written “lease” which states the terms of our agreement – using their address only as a mailing address and to establish residence. We wanted to make sure that – worst case scenario – if someone sued us, no one could make a claim against our friend’s home. If you are uncomfortable with this – there are lots of mail services (some as cheap as $10/month) and also numerous companies (particularly in South Dakoka, catering to RVers) that will give you a permanent address, assist in getting Driver’s Licenses from that State and handle mail forwarding according to your wishes.

  5. My parents are getting ready to hit the road and have asked to use our address as their residence which I don’t mind but we want to make sure there aren’t any ramifications to us if they do. Have you heard of any issues when someone uses your address as their residence for things like car registration, insurance, etc? It won’t just be for mail but everything.

    • Haven’t heard of any.. but you should definitely look into it further, especially as things specifically pertains in your state, your personal insurance, your liability, zoning regulations, etc.

  6. Hi, This is really great. Thank you for putting it all in writing. Wow, what a wealth of great info and trustworthy as well.

    My question is about Wyoming, I read an article that this is the cheapest state. No State or Corp tax, sales tax is 4.5% and real estate tax is 0.7%.

    Is there any information about this state as a “perm” Domicile address?

    I have an corporation, but doing mainly remote work for all the US, Europe etc. We want to be free of “obligations” that ground you down to a specific state. We want to do some more traveling, and not only in the US. In the mean time I can work in remote. But state tax & corp tax & real estate tax (not that we own anything) can exceed the 10K. That’s a shame, as it can be used for other purposes. We don’t plan on RV, and Car rentals/owners rentals app, or flights + Airbnb can serve us all right. (just for the sake of it, we could buy a car in the state of domicile).

    I’d gladly hear what you think about that?

    Thank You,

    C

  7. my husband and I are planning to sell our home, buy a 5th wheel, buy a truck and join thousand trails, the lifetime membership and live in our RV full time. The week that we have to be out of thousand trails, we will go to a diff RV park or park the RV at my family’s property. We will use my parents address as the mailing/permanent address. Will we be consider full time RVers? for the sake of buying insurance on our RV? We will continue to work in our regular jobs M-Friday 40 hr weeks. we will not be doing much traveling, at least not at first.

    • If the RV is going to be your only owned home – I think that qualifies you as a full timers. But you should definitely inquire with your insurance agent to make sure you have a policy that fully covers you. Full Timers RV insurance typically covers things that home owner’s policies do (personal property, liability, etc.)

  8. Great info, I was researching this, but now I know the facts, Thanks & keep up the good work. Fletch

  9. This is a very cool article. I am considering the nomadic lifestyle since my daughter has moved out on her own and I work as a freelancer full time from my computer. I have been looking at “moving” to SD using http://www.yourbestaddress.com. They have an amazing reputation and some good benefits too. Insurance is cheaper, no State taxes (currently pay 6% to KY) and registering my car is much cheaper as well.

  10. Really glad to have stumbled upon your blog! We are not RV-ers (yet). Retired and became location independent nomads. Have been on 5 continents and numerous countries in 10 months. Time to return to the States and renew driver’s licenses, passports and Visas and we’re exploring options. Thanks!

  11. My husband and I are shopping for an rv and getting ready to hit the road this year. Aside from all of the excitement coupled with anxiety, there are so many decisions to finalize.

    I always come back to you – the information you guys provide is straight forward and stops my head from spinning (momentarily anyway). Is 8:00 am too early for a drink? Thank you for all of the wonderful, concise info.

  12. Thank you for this article. It gave me a place to start!!

    Our family will be “nomadic” only for a couple of months in the summer. Since we haven’t taken a real vacation for more than a couple of years our family of 4 plan to take the LONG route by driving, visiting and staying in different places across the Eastern half of the US.

    We currently live and work in Indiana. We will lose our jobs the last day of May/2017. Our new jobs in the state of Arkansas will not start until the middle of August/2017. The lease of your rental home in Indiana expires also on May/2017 and we will not have a new lease until the first few days of August/2017. So for a total of 2.5 months we will not have a “real” residence. Our plan is to hire and moving company to move and store all of our belongings somewhere in Arkansas and once we find and lease a home in Arkansas have them delivered there.

    In the meantime we will be traveling. We will start in Indiana driving along the great lakes regions, then along the East coast, then Gulf Coast and ending in Arkansas.

    Even after reading this article (now the 4th time), I’m still anxious and uneasy about the prospect. The main issue is because the “loss” of the job, we will need enroll for a couple of months in several state programs (health insurance via exchange, unemployment benefits) as well as all the other things that require an address ( insurance, banks etc)

    So I guess the issue of residency is set for us. However I’m still not clear what should I look/do for those 2.5 when we will become nomads.

    Any recommendation or resources you can point me to?

  13. Great article, very helpful, thanks. I was a little surprised that New Hampshire is not on this list – isn’t that another no-tax state?

  14. This is a great article, I am just struggling with the domicile thing. I want to stay in Iowa. Maybe that means I have to buy a small tract of land here in order to do so and come back during the few times when it’s warm and not tornadoey.

  15. What a great article! Thank you for putting this very useful information out there! Our family has spent a lot of time in our RV since we bought it last December, and we are preparing to go full time soon. You covered a lot of things we hadn’t thought about! We have some homework to do. Thank you again.

  16. If you were to stay with a friend and use that as your address (they are renting a town home), do you need to officially be on the lease?

  17. Is a domicile needed if you plan on living stationary in an RV park? We’re planning on moving into a camper in the next month, but since we don’t plan on hitting the road for a couple more years I hadn’t put much thought into a domicile. I’m just now realizing that the RV park probably doesn’t count as an address, even if we plan on being stationary.

    • It really depends on the RV Park and how it’s setup. If you have a signed lease on the spot you’re renting and they’re providing you an address you can use for legal purposes – you might be able to use it. I’d inquire with them first. If they don’t allow it for use on driver’s licenses and stuff, then you’ll need to seek out what you’ll use instead.

  18. Is it logical tocontinue to just use my parents address, and then have important mail forwarded to me? Seems like the best idea for me but I’m wondering if it’s too good to be true for some reason!?

    • That’s certainly an option if your parents address meets your personal domicile requirements. The pros/cons of using a friend or family as your mail forwarding are discussed in the article above.

  19. I just wanted to say thank you for preparing this article. I’ve been lightening my load to head out work camping this summer, and I’ve had a hard time finding detailed information in this particular area. Keep up the good work, and thanks again!

  20. This article is fantastic. My husband and I are looking into full timing and thought we could possibly use our home state (Indiana), but I have no idea if there are mail services in this state. I’ve never had a reason to look. We do not have family here or friends that I would feel comfortable asking to use their addresses. I am going to check into services offered that are similar to the ones you mentioned. Something that we are curious about, we homeschool and do not want to have to deal with stricter laws than what we have here (very easy laws here). Is it safe to assume that I would have to follow the laws of our domicile state, if we chose to switch, in regards to homeschooling? In comparing the three states you mentioned, it looks like Texas has more relaxed laws than Indiana, while Florida and South Dakota are more strict. Can you advise me on this? Have you written an article or perhaps had a guest blogger write about this topic? I appreciate your time. Thank you.

  21. Cherie, by this time next year we will be on the road..I have kept up with your words of the journey. My husband and I have prepared for this for 2 years now. I started Web page on Retired? Now what?. I’ve got no readies yet. WE are both baby boomers living on a budget. Living in apartment will only get us closer to homeless. My husband will collect his S.S. in Nov. Between us will be living on 2,000.00 a month. We want to get an class A RV. Do you have any advice for us?

    • Hi Dixie – Recommend keep doing your research, read up on the many blogs and resources out there and make as informed decisions as you can. If you have specific questions along the way, ask away in the various groups, forums and other opportunities out there.

  22. Banking using a mail service can be difficult. My bank will not allow me to change my address with them to my mail service address. They claim it is a “commercial address” and cannot use it – even for my business, which last I checked was a commercial entity. Ugh!

    • Indeed.. but they are supposed to allow you to use a ‘next of kins’ address for the Patriot Act requirements. You should have one ready to use in such cases. (But even then, we’ve run into problems with some institutions.)

  23. What an amazing informative site you have, thank you! I am English and brought a 1962 Airstream a few yrs back on Ebay with the plan to do 6mths a year rv’ing. I managed to title and tag it with my English address in WA, so all documents are sent to UK. The year before last I got myself a Land Rover in MA and drove it across the States. (great fun!) Currently it has MA plates and my insurance I renew online. However the address is the garage in Boston and I need to change this. Can I use Mail Forwarding & Domicile Services for Travelers to register it with different state, so that I can change title etc? (i have a friend in WA whose address I could use but need social security and drivers licence to register vehicle there) I still find it so perplexing US law and then all the law’s in different states!! They are both in storage so not on road, but am aiming to be over in few weeks, to get some prep done and paperwork sorted, so that in 3mths time I can come over with my partner for 6mths and live over there in my airstream. (I’m hoping to make it a year round thing) I’m pretty up to speed on most things, I think, and the airstream title and tagging has been a doddle. They even sent my new plates to the UK! But the law is very different with a vehicle to a trailer. Do you have any suggestions of what you would do if you were me? I don’t care where it’s titled and registered I just need to know how to get the documents and plates sent to me and still be legal! Any feedback would be fab!! I’m off to read the rest of your site now. This is the first page I’ve read as found this page from a google search! Happy travelling : )

    • It all depends on your situation. Recommend researching which is best for you. Get quotes for policies in the locations you are considering for your health situation & needs, and compare all the factors. Realizing next year, the options could be completely different.

      • I’ve done a lot of research on the under 65 health care options:
        http://rvseniormoments.com/2015/11/28/selecting-a-domicile-its-all-about-counties/

        Your blog doesn’t mention that TX has no nationwide network PPO plans — in fact, Polk County, TX, where Escapees mail service is based, only has HMO plans on the ACA exchange.

        True, healthcare plans may all be different next year, but RVers are mobile — our saving grace — and we can only act on currently available information.

        Question: was part of your decision to switch to a FL domicile the availability of a nationwide Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan?

      • Our Healthcare article (https://www.technomadia.com/healthcare) mentions the current lack of options in TX (there are options off the marketplace however, that might work for some folks).. this is our domicile article.

        Our decisions on Florida were discussed in our Florida article (www.technomadia.com/florida) – we switched many years ago, before the ACA was even a thing.

  24. Hi Cherie Ve Ard,
    I am a retired business owner living in Honolulu. I travel US and Canada every year for 4 years and for last year, instead of renting I shipped my Ford SD350 and purchased a truck camper Northernlite” in San Jose. The problem is I need to license it in California. My truck has Federal smog certification and not California certification. It will require me to change the vehicle’s computer and some additional work to register it. I can not even ship my truck back because as of January my registration expired and the shipping company won’t ship it back to Honolulu. I am thinking about registering it in S. Dakota. I travel only during March to October doing landscaping photo work at NP and state parks. I was a former ranger for the NP. My mail may not be a problem as my wife will handle all my mail and finances in Honolulu. Is there any company I can call on to set up the registration….etc. for me. I have been in S. Dakota many times and the last time some friends of mine discouraged me in registering my truck because the state also raised the speed limit to 80 MPH. What do you think.

    Aloha

    Bernard

  25. Hi Cherie,

    I thank you for your time and lessons learned. I have a situation I cannot compare, yet. Kindly advise…
    I live outside US. I have an address in CT for a job I do remotely, which is actually my first address in US, as an adult. I am obtaining thanks Heaven, another job at Ohio. By default I would give out my current CT address. But I would like to move those two jobs to an address in TX., because of course, of 0% local income taxes. Would you please be able to help me look at options? BTW, the CT lease on an apartment is due end of Oct.

    My best,

    Cesar Roth

    • Cesar – You are probably best obtaining legal counsel to advise you on the best and most appropriate option for you. Too many complexities there for us to give you advise, and we’re really not qualified to do so. Best wishes.

  26. Retired, selling home, escrow about to close, plan on buying a class B and hit the road. Love your article and all the responses. Want to buy your book too, but how do we do it so we can get all your valuable updates?
    Thanks for sharing!

  27. I am a retired senior citizen, native of and currently living in Florida. While I want Florida to remain my home state, I currently own no real property, but will be temporarily visiting with a grandchild in NC for at least 9 months. I want to use my son’s address in Florida for my permanent address for DL, car registration, vehicle insurance, and any other legal purposes, but he is currently eligible for the Obamacare subsidy, which requires statement of income for household members. Will my use of his address affect the federal subsidy? How can I find out?

    • Unfortunately, I haven’t a clue. Would recommend contacting the Marketplace to inquire how household income impacts eligibility, and who need to be reported as a household member in that.

  28. Absolutely fantastic posting. I am looking into becoming nomadic and this answered a lot of my questions, in detail as well. Saw some of your youtube videos as well. Thanks for sharing. 🙂 🙂

  29. Great info, thanks! For scanning documents, I recommend Scannable (by Evernote) on iPhone. You can capture images of a mult-page document and it exports them as a single PDF to various cloud storage providers or email.

    • We’ve heard good things about using Amazon lockers – especially for getting incoming deliveries. But where we’ve been they’ve never been particularly convenient.

      But great tip for those in certain areas.

  30. This is the most comprehensive list of “where and why” I could find. My family and I are leaving California(the no fun state) in a year and a half to roadschool our kids.

  31. This is all very good information. We are planning to go full time in about a year. We live in SC and will probably keep our domicile here. SC has a 6% sales tax but it is capped at $300 for motor vehicles including RVs.

  32. I live in Washington, you don’t have to bring in anything at least in Seattle where I moved to. I came prepared to the licensing office with birth certificate and utility bill from a apartment I subletted for 2 months but all they needed was my license from my previous state. I could have put that I lived at Bill Gates house and they wouldn’t have known the difference! Washington is an expensive state to register and license in though, I paid $85 for my new license and $175 for registration and plates on a car not an RV. High sales tax as well. Washington definitely makes up for the lack of income tax it offers which is probably why it’s not popular with full timers.

  33. Anyone have a Washington State drivers license? Was it easy to obtain;did you have to show any utility bills or simply going to a drivers license office? Any help from anyone that has Washington State as their State would be gratefully appreciated. Thanks.

    • Washington is a difficult one, as I believe you have to own property in the state (at least, nomads we’ve known up there had to) – and there are currently no mail forwarding options that support domicile.

      • I sold my home in WA and moved into an ’83 Wanderlodge. I have service through Traveling Mailbox in WA. They scan the envelope and you can decide if you want the contents scanned or delete and shred or forward it. Now that I’m going to park at an RV park in Bellingham a while, I have important mail sent directly to me here. As for drivers licenses, if you have a receipt from an RV park, a bill with an address, etc..and your old license, you’re usually good. I find some offices are “nicer” than others.

    • We are in Washington state, for a little while longer, before we hit the road. My husband just asked about this and he was told; as long as you have a physical address that is all it is needed. You can renew it anywhere in Washington state, as long as you have the physical address. So you can “use” friends or family addresses.

  34. Hi,
    can anybody help,I am a UK citizen and have been coming to the US,twice a year for the past 3 years,I have a mobile home and tow a jeep,they are both registered in Minnesota,at a friends address,the problem I have is that my friend has now become very ill and requires full time care,he is no longer has his home.I am looking for an address for my vehicles registration and insurance,I have tried some of these sites,but the all seem to want a US social security no and a driver licence from that state,i have a European driver licence and the social security no’s from the UK are not acceptable.
    Have i any other options? if not it will mean selling my vehicles and stop traveling the US.
    any comments and help please.
    Mal

  35. Very thorough article. We have been using Escapees for several months now as domicile for TX and it has worked great so far. We travel for work and so far have only been in TX but we’re prepared should our adventures take us elsewhere.

  36. Hi there – I just saw this link on Wheeling It and so happy I found your info as it is just the kind of info I’m looking for in researching the full-time life. Anyway, I’ve read quite a few RV articles and blogs about all types of RV life considerations but never anything on creating a LLC to list as the owner or the RV/insurance etc. which seems like a pretty good way to shield myself from liability issues should an accident occur in or around my RV. Plus if I earn some spare money in my travels I know there are tax considerations including expense write-offs that might be a nice extra benefit of living as a LLC.

    From what I’ve read it’s fairly inexpensive to create an LLC and I would use the law firms address as the location of the entity to handle state license renewals etc which seems like it would dovetail with establishing domicile etc. I currently live in Nevada and it seems like a reasonable state to use for my residency with no income tax and (outside of Clark County / Las Vegas) insurance and sales tax rates etc are pretty reasonable. So, long story short can you offer me any advice on establishing a LLC as a full-timing strategy and what you think of Nevada as a domicile state. Of course if you or any of your readers who see this are aware of web resources that might answer my questions I would be really grateful for the suggestions. Thx

    • Would definitely recommend consulting with an attorney familiar with this route before proceeding down it. It’s not one we researched much more than it wasn’t appealing for us. There are all sorts of considerations, such as using your RV for commercial purposes and having it owned by a company can change the type of insurance and driver’s license you need.

      Nevada seems to have some downsides for being a domicile state.. but I don’t recall them off the top of my head. You’d have to research further and see if it’s suitable for your situation or not. Suffice it to say, there are solid reasons that FL, SD and TX tend to become the top choices for RVers.

      • Thanks for the input, Cherie. I’ve been reading lots of blogs to prepare for full-time life on the road and I keep hoping I’ll find someone who has already done the grunt work on this. From what I’ve read so far creating a LLC/LLP is really easy and affordable (@ $500 here in NV) which for me is a really attractive proposal since I have other financial concerns beyond liability risks and travel costs and want to shield my RV and other financial assets by keeping them separate from my personal property. And I’m really curious about the domicile question since I already live in NV and wouldn’t have any complications with honestly proving it’s my home state, especially since the law firms address would be the LLC address so they receive the state paper work and act as my representative when yearly renewals are due. And with no income tax/low sales tax it seems like domiciling in NV is a natural for me. Guess I’ll have to roll up my sleeves and maybe spend some money consulting with a tax attorney. Sigh… On the upside, some day in the future EVERYTHING will be stored in a searchable database and every question will be answered with a few keystrokes, but until then I guess we have to do things the old fashioned way <:-)

      • Unless there’s someone out there in you exact situation who has gone through.. and shared about.. their process, you’re unlikely to find specific answers to your questions. We’re all unique in our approaches to this, and the best any of us can share is the consideration points and our own unique navigation of our choices. Sorry we can’t answer your specific questions.. we’re not domicile attorneys, and nor do we play one on the internet 🙂 We’re just fellow RVers sharing our own journey.

  37. You guys are amazing. I just retired from teaching (that pension plan I was promised, yeah gone, state is broke), so I bought a van and remodeled it so I can live in it I plan on living in it full time, traveling the country doing educational/fun puppet shows. Your stuff is so informative, I am loving the RV community and I am not really out in it yet lol. Have a terrific day.

  38. EXCELLENT article!!! We are planning on using my parents address for now but are looking into all the pros and cons of choosing another state for residency. Thank you for all of your information! This is the first I’ve heard of your blog/website… excited to explore around 🙂

  39. We are new to fulltiming. We are from Oregon and kept everything registered there. However I didn’t find an affordable mail service in Oregon, so I went with one in Nevada. Now that has created some issues with insurance. We still own property in Oregon that is rented out, mainly because it didn’t sell. However Oregon doesn’t allow you to use that address unless you plan on staying there 6 months a year. We do have relatives there that I ended up using their address for insurance purposes. Any suggestions? We really only want to spend 4-5 months a year in Oregon

  40. We just left Pa. We are going to NH and making it our domicile since our daughter lives there and we can use her address. NH does not have ANY state sales tax, so we are planning on buying another car, that we can flat tow, and update our motor home here before taking off in a couple of months. I will let you know how it goes as we start changing things over on Monday and registering to vote. We already cancelled our Direct Tv, in Pa., and signed up for Dish Network to be installed in NH next week. Our first bill will come then too, to NH. So, we will have at least one utility bill with our address on it.

  41. Thank you so much for this article.. It’s brilliant.. I am not an RVer, but I am a digital nomad. I often live abroad.. I have an internet based business, and have been looking to setup an LLC in Wyoming, however I have been using my mother’s address in Michigan for the past couple of years.. Which means they would get me for income taxes, etc.. This has given me a way out of that mess.. Thank you so much!

  42. Good points Louise. Personally, we have used a UPS Store for years……Florida, Tennessee, and now Arizona. Each UPS store is owned by a franchisee and not all owners are
    Pleasant to deal with, so we have been very picky when “moving” to a new UPS store.

    The gal in our current store will email me when we have a
    Large package or important letter so I can decide where
    And how quickly to have it forwarded. She has even deposited a paper check in our bank account for us!

    Now THAT’S what we call service….and we’ve been there 4 years now. IF we change domicile, we will use the Escapees mail service.

  43. Excellent article, covers all the (home) bases.

    I would add as a side note that many UPS stores charge a fee to receive a package, but if you have it sent to a “Customer Center” and marked “Hold for Pickup” there is no charge.

    Customer centers are the big distribution warehouses where the UPS trucks get loaded for their daily deliveries. They are usually located near larger towns, and have the advantage of being easy to access while driving an RV. After all, the trucks come and go there all day so the driveways and parking lots are usually quite large.

    To find one, go to the UPS website and look on the drop down list under “Locations.”

    We haven’t used FedEX Office locations to receive a package yet, but I’ve heard it is free if the box was shipped via FedEX.

    For any of these, including USPS General Delivery, it always pays to call first, but even that doesn’t always work. The post office in Arcadia, FL rejected my General Delivery package even after I called to confirm it was okay to send it there. “We didn’t recognize your name, so we returned it to sender.” Well, duh, if I was a recognizable local then I would have an address other than General Delivery! Grrrr!

  44. Excellent write-up. You guys hit on alot of stuff which is not covered other places.

    The “owning property” issue is a tricky and interesting one. We’ve not bought any property in SD, yet we’ve managed to open brokerage accounts and transfer our banks acct without issue. The place we ran into trouble was with Health Insurance. Getting a high-deductable insurance through our SD mailing address was no problem, but “regular” insurance (e.g. something like BCBS) won’t insure mailing addresses.

    Nina

    • Thanks, Nina 🙂

      So far, we’ve only had one of our brokerage accounts call and ask for a residential address to put on file. Even elevating up to a supervisor, they wouldn’t take our PMB. We ended up using a relative’s instead.

      And yeah, we’ve encountered the same health insurance struggle. Which is one reason we’re seriously contemplating Florida.

      • I can understand that. The “residential address” issues is another reason many folks are Escapees fans too. Escapees have defended their right as a residential address in court, so for example you have no issues with banks accts and BCBS insurance there. We’ve not had any reason (so far) to switch from SD, but we keep out options open for the future.

        Nina

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