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Old 08-12-2020, 06:35 PM   #1
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California resident purchasing trailer out of state

Unfortunately, the dealers in California are either unwilling or unable to be competitive on price. Even with paying upwards of $4,000 to deliver the trailer to California it's still much cheaper to buy out of state.

With that said I'm getting conflicting information from many of the dealers in regards to the sales tax. I'm not trying to avoid paying sales tax, but I do want to know the correct method to do so.

Some dealers don't charge sales tax and expect me to do so during the registration process in California, which sounds right. Others are saying they only charge sales tax if it's financed. Others will charge a smaller sales tax, say 6% but then expect me to pay the difference at the time of registration in CA.

So I'd like to hear from those who have recently purchased out of state how their transaction was structured to give me a little more insight to what's right and what's wrong. BTW, the California DMV website was not helpful at all when trying to research this online.
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Old 08-12-2020, 07:26 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by SacRV View Post
Unfortunately, the dealers in California are either unwilling or unable to be competitive on price. Even with paying upwards of $4,000 to deliver the trailer to California it's still much cheaper to buy out of state.

With that said I'm getting conflicting information from many of the dealers in regards to the sales tax. I'm not trying to avoid paying sales tax, but I do want to know the correct method to do so.

Some dealers don't charge sales tax and expect me to do so during the registration process in California, which sounds right. Others are saying they only charge sales tax if it's financed. Others will charge a smaller sales tax, say 6% but then expect me to pay the difference at the time of registration in CA.

So I'd like to hear from those who have recently purchased out of state how their transaction was structured to give me a little more insight to what's right and what's wrong. BTW, the California DMV website was not helpful at all when trying to research this online.
We bought our new HTT in Chicago, back in 2006.
From what I remember, the Chicago dealer collected Illinois State tax and when we registered it in California, the DMV collected the balance.
I would think contacting the dealer you're buying from, would get your questions answered.
What dealer are you buying from?
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Old 08-12-2020, 07:44 PM   #3
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I purchased ours in Sept 18 in Arizona. I paid cash. Before I picked it up I contacted CA DMV regarding the sales tax situation. I paid the appropriate AZ sales tax for Scottsdale (7+%) and paid the balance to make up difference between our Ventura County (8.25%). I also had to actually take the trailer in to the DMV office so they could verify the VIN. Make sure you go to a DMV office that you can get in & out of their parking lot.
BTW, I saved nearly $5k by going out of state. I know ForestRivers advertises ďbuy localĒ but I donít have $5k to throw away just to satisfy them.
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Old 08-12-2020, 08:05 PM   #4
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Paying the difference in the sales tax makes sense.

However, I didn't know I'd also have to take this 40' trailer down to the DMV to get it registered. I was planning on having it delivered directly to our property and setup.

Is that a standard practice/requirement?
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Old 08-12-2020, 09:12 PM   #5
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you have options

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Originally Posted by SacRV View Post
Paying the difference in the sales tax makes sense.

However, I didn't know I'd also have to take this 40' trailer down to the DMV to get it registered. I was planning on having it delivered directly to our property and setup.

Is that a standard practice/requirement?
i believe you can pay someone who is licensed by the state to do VIN verifications, or if you know any CHP officers they can do it for you, but DMV won't title the trailer without verifying the VIN
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Old 08-13-2020, 01:26 PM   #6
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We purchased from Couch's in Ohio and saved about 20,000 over what a California dealer was willing to deal. We drove to Ohio to pick it up. They would have delivered for about 3500. We paid Ohio sales tax and got a temporary Ohio registration and cardboard plate. Upon arrival in CA, we also had to physically take the 5th wheel to DMV for inspection/verification. We paid the CA registration and balance of CA sales tax. CA and Ohio then work it out on their end. Check with the dealer in the state and they can tell you. Not a unique situation at all.
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Old 08-13-2020, 01:42 PM   #7
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I live in Washington and bought mine out of state. I didnít pay any sales tax to the dealership when I purchased it. I paid my tax when I registered it at the county for the plates and tabs. If youíre having it delivered to a permanent site and wonít be driving it around do you even have to register it with the state DMV? Just make sure you get the certificate of compliance from the dealer.
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Old 08-13-2020, 02:36 PM   #8
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Absolutely Correct

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Originally Posted by SacRV View Post
Unfortunately, the dealers in California are either unwilling or unable to be competitive on price. Even with paying upwards of $4,000 to deliver the trailer to California it's still much cheaper to buy out of state.

With that said I'm getting conflicting information from many of the dealers in regards to the sales tax. I'm not trying to avoid paying sales tax, but I do want to know the correct method to do so.

Some dealers don't charge sales tax and expect me to do so during the registration process in California, which sounds right. Others are saying they only charge sales tax if it's financed. Others will charge a smaller sales tax, say 6% but then expect me to pay the difference at the time of registration in CA.

So I'd like to hear from those who have recently purchased out of state how their transaction was structured to give me a little more insight to what's right and what's wrong. BTW, the California DMV website was not helpful at all when trying to research this online.
I live in California and I compared the cost of buying a 2018 Rockwood Mini Lite 2306 in state versus out of state. I found exactly what I was looking for in Minnesota and even with the $$ price of shipping to California, it was still cheaper to buy out of state. However, I also found the same unit in Phoenix, Arizona, a little more expensive but still cheaper than California prices. We drove to Phoenix, purchased the trailer and returned to California the same day. I did finance it and I did pay Arizona sales tax. When the California DMV re-opened, I went to register it. CA DMV gave me credit for all sales tax paid in AZ, they wanted a letter from AZ DMV stating the last time it had been registered in AZ and a VIN verification. The whole process was completed four months after purchase but actually only took about two weeks after CA DMV resumed operations.
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Old 08-13-2020, 02:40 PM   #9
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Any per CA DMV instruction "Any Law Enforcement Officer" can verify the VIN. You just need to find an LEO.
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Old 08-13-2020, 02:40 PM   #10
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I support efforts to circumvent the high RV prices in California. But will a California RV dealer perform warranty work on the out of state purchased RV?
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Old 08-13-2020, 02:43 PM   #11
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Any per CA DMV instruction "Any Law Enforcement Officer" can verify the VIN. You just need to find an LEO.
Not true, read the second line of instructions on DMV form #31. The LEO needs to be "properly trained". This means the LEO must be an auto theft investigator.
https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/uploads/2020/06/reg31.pdf
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Old 08-13-2020, 02:58 PM   #12
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I support efforts to circumvent the high RV prices in California. But will a California RV dealer perform warranty work on the out of state purchased RV?
FR found 3 local dealers willing to do the warranty work. I just had to be ok with being at the back of the line. I just dropped it off in November and told them i didn't need it till March. So i got free winter storage!
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Old 08-13-2020, 03:07 PM   #13
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Old 08-13-2020, 03:27 PM   #14
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There are licensed vin verifiers who will come to your site. Just did this with a new car bought out of state (saved 3k after travel expenses.

I would find a verifiers and make certain first, unless you are in a decent sized metro area.
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Old 08-13-2020, 03:36 PM   #15
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There are licensed vin verifiers who will come to your site. Just did this with a new car bought out of state (saved 3k after travel expenses.

I would find a verifiers and make certain first, unless you are in a decent sized metro area.
But private VIN verifiers will charge a fee, DMV, CHP or properly trained LEO's do it for free.
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Old 08-13-2020, 03:40 PM   #16
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We bough our MH in TX and saved $9000. The TX dealer provided all of the documentation that our CA DMV would require. No TX tax was paid. I stopped at the DMV in Blythe, CA and was immediately serviced. They aren't very busy in Blythe. Paid the CA taxes and was handed the plates.

I never had any intention of going back to TX for warranty service. When I did have a warranty requirement FR said to take the MH to ANY FR dealer and they will cover it. I did that and it was all covered. FR dealer didn't even sell MH's. They still did the work without any problems.
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Old 08-13-2020, 07:42 PM   #17
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Unhappy Warranty work by dealers in Californiia

Within the last 6 months I've had two warranty issues with equipment that came with my 1 year old 2020 motor home. In both cases I was unable to find any equipment mfr service dealer that would look at the problem if I didn't purchase equipment from them.

First was a manufacturing defect in one of the Continental Tires on the MH. I couldn't find a Continental Dealer near me that would honor the warranty unless I had purchased the tire from them; then the selling RV dealer told me that they exclude tires from their warranty and I'd have to take my claim to MBZ who provided the chassis for to the MH mfr with the tires; MBZ referred me to a regional dealer who wouldn't even look at the tires and told me it was a "run flat" problem after looking at pictures I sent.

Second issue was with Dometic fridge in MH that stopped cooling. Every dometic dealer or RV service center near me refused to do warranty work if I didn't purchase the fridge from them. As with the tires, their excuse was that the MFR WOULD NOT ADEQUATELY REIMBURSE THEM for their work.

These mfrs are giving me the feeling that Dynamax should be putting more pressure on suppliers to honor their written warranties or find new suppliers that will!
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Old 08-13-2020, 11:21 PM   #18
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Looks like you could pay local sales tax where you purchase if you finance and then have to pay the difference in CA.
https://www.cdtfa.ca.gov/industry/ve...e.htm#Vehicles

Tax is based on where you register as the primary residence.

Here you need a vin inspection for used vehicles, however for new vehicles the certificate of origin will allow us to bypass the inspection because its new and not stolen. Here they charge $12 at HP inspection stations and add it on to the registration fee now because I guess the someone was stealing the cash at the inspection station where they used to collect it? I didn't look that up for CA so check your local DMV on the inspection. I just didnt see others say if they purchased new or used amd not sure if it makes a difference there like it does here.

Good luck!
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Old 08-14-2020, 12:44 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by SacRV View Post
Paying the difference in the sales tax makes sense.

However, I didn't know I'd also have to take this 40' trailer down to the DMV to get it registered. I was planning on having it delivered directly to our property and setup.

Is that a standard practice/requirement?
They have to verify the VIN since all you have is the certificate of origin. I had a sheriff friend of mine sign the VIN verification.


I am also a CA resident and bought in AZ. One thing that happened to me is that the dealer mailed me the certificate of origin. I brought that certificate in after I got it which was a couple weeks later. Since I didn't go into the DMV until after 10 days, they hit me with a late fee. You want to go to the DMV within the first 10 days or just tell them that the day you actually brought it back was much later than it actually was. Just tell them you were camping after you bought it.
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Old 08-14-2020, 12:46 AM   #20
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Not true, read the second line of instructions on DMV form #31. The LEO needs to be "properly trained". This means the LEO must be an auto theft investigator.
https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/uploads/2020/06/reg31.pdf
My sheriff friend signed mine. Not one problem.
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