Friday, October 15, 2010

Establishing Residency in S.Dakota

Eldy has researched this topic for several years. Once you are full timing, you have to have an address for your mail, and for tax purposes. You could use a family member, but it gets very tedious for the family member to keep track of, forward on, and make trips to the post office--- a hassle for them and sometimes it's just not feasible to have a family member to do it. There are several states that are very favorable to RVers for tax purposes---Texas, Florida, Nevada, and South Dakota are the most well known and used. These do not  have any state income tax. There are more advantages to S. Dakota in  particular for full timers.  South Dakota has lower insurance rates, both health and auto, among some other advantages to being a South Dakota resident. Besides no state tax, there is no inheritance tax, no personal property taxes, low vehicle licensing fees (tada! that's why we are here), and the 47th lowest state in private car insurance rates. The difference in license plate cost alone is $1500.00 between our home state of Indiana and S. Dakota rates! As far as mail services, the state has several all over but one of the better known services is Alternative Resources. This mail forwarding service currently serves 3500+ clients and is located in Sioux Falls.

Today we established the mail service and a post office address thru Sioux Falls. You can have your mail forwarded to you once a month, twice a month, weekly, or on demand. We chose monthly, and that cost is $168.00 a year. In addition to that fee, you pay a starter amount for postage for them to ship it out to you. Depending on how much you move around, you might pick a different schedule. You get a default mail date which the mail will be sent every month. If you need it sooner, you can call and make arrangements, you are not "stuck" with this time period. When you've gotten within 10.00 of using up your postage, they charge you another set amount of postage. You decide how much and what kind of mail you want to have forwarded on to you. The staff at Alternative Resources is a HUGE help either on the phone or in person in helping you set up residency and answering questions.  It's a very organized, well run business. When we met them for the first time today, a sign in the lobby says, "Welcome home!" and they were so warm and friendly, it was a pleasure dealing with them.

Biking in Sioux Falls 
Then we went to the county treasurer to get plates for the RV. It was about 1500.00 cheaper in South Dakota than Indiana for license plates. WOW! Worth the drive here!  Next, to the license branch for Eldy's driver's license. You have to have a CERTIFIED copy of your birth certificate and your social security card to get a S.D. driver's license. Eldy had a birth certificate from the hospital, the ORIGINAL 62 year old piece of paper and they wouldn't take it! It has to be certified from the county seat government, I guess. He'll have to order that from his place of birth and try again later. At the end of the day, after all that, we hopped on a local bike trail that runs along the Little Sioux River...very open paved trail, but no trees on the trail and nothing really pretty to see except industry along the river along the three miles we covered today. We are going to explore the trail some more tomorrow in a different direction and see if the scenery is different. They say you can kayak this river, too. Sioux Falls has some beautiful 100 ft. falls to see, a butterfly house, a battleship memorial, and a sculpture walk. We'll check it out and let you know more about it tomorrow....

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