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South Dakota Residency for RVers

There are a number of benefits to establishing South Dakota residency for RVers. From avoiding state income tax to having a place to register to vote, the advantages abound.

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Joseph Anthony
May 28, 2020
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The appeal of endless adventure draws many to living in recreational vehicles. However, it doesn’t come without challenges. When you’re living life on the road, you might not have a permanent address. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to register your vehicles, obtain a driver’s license and even pay taxes. We’re here to offer a simple solution: our South Dakota residency for RVers options let you set up a permanent mailing address and make life for full-time RVers easy.

Those who use a mail forwarding service can establish residency and find perks like:

  • No state income tax
  • No state tax on Social Security income
  • No pension tax
  • No inheritance tax
  • No personal property tax
  • No intangible tax on investments
  • Only 4% excise tax on vehicles and RVs
  • Affordable vehicle insurance rates
  • Low vehicle license fees

With so many benefits to South Dakota residency for RVers, it’s easy to see why full timers might want to establish their domicile in The Mount Rushmore State. Learn more about how those who travel full time can confirm residency and start taking advantage today. 

What Constitutes Residency in South Dakota?

South Dakota has some of the most lax residency requirements in the United States, making it a perfect “home” for anyone who travels full time. In fact, it only takes one night to become a South Dakota resident. 

What constitutes residency in South Dakota? The answer is simple. You are a resident of The Mount Rushmore State if you have a place to receive mail, have spent at least one night in the state, have obtained a South Dakota driver’s license. 

You might want to claim residency in South Dakota for tax purposes. South Dakota doesn’t require its residents to pay:

  • Income tax
  • Inheritance tax
  • Tax on Social Security
  • Tax on pensions
  • Personal property taxes
  • Intangible tax on investments
  • And more

You can establish residency in South Dakota in five simple steps:

  1. Setting up a mail forwarding service to obtain a permanent address
  2. Spending one night in South Dakota
  3. Obtaining a South Dakota driver’s license
  4. Registering your vehicles in South Dakota
  5. Registering to vote in South Dakota

Do you think establishing South Dakota residency is for you? Let’s explore the steps to establish residency in more detail.

Become a South Dakota Resident in These Steps

There are 5 simple steps to becoming a South Dakota resident. We’ll walk you through each step so you can start reaping the benefits of South Dakota residency in no time at all.

Set Up a Mail Forwarding Service

Setting up a mail forwarding service is the first step in becoming a South Dakota resident. Thankfully, services like Americas Mailbox make this simple. Located in Rapid City, Americas Mailbox gives you a place to have your mail sent and forward to you anywhere in the world. From international mail forwarding to virtual office mail forwarding to mail forwarding for RVers, we offer it all.

To set up mail forwarding service with Americas Mailbox, you’ll need to fill out a few forms with the company. They’ll walk you through the forms and process and make sure everything is correct. From there, you’ll need to complete USPS Form 1583, which is an application for mail delivery through an agent.

After all the paperwork is complete, you’ll get a private mail box. Your mail will be received at Americas Mailbox’s facility and then forwarded to you wherever you are. One handy feature offered by Americas Mailbox is that if you don’t get any mail, they’ll send you a postcard to let you know -- no worrying about if your mail was lost along the way.

This is the first step because you’ll need to have an address for the next step.

Spend One Night in South Dakota

This might be the best step in establishing South Dakota residency for RVers. South Dakota is full of beautiful campgrounds to park for the night. Luxury hotels more your speed? You’ll find those too. Spend one night in South Dakota and you’ll have what you need to establish residency.

To meet the one night stay requirement, you’ll need some documentation. Keep the receipt showing you fulfilled the requirement. The receipt will need to show your name, your new South Dakota mailing address and the South Dakota address where you spent the night. 

You can spend the night anywhere in South Dakota to meet this requirement. There are many campgrounds with breathtaking scenery across the state. From Hill City to Sioux Falls, the state is dotted with campgrounds to suit any taste and any budget. 

Obtain a South Dakota Driver’s License

Getting a South Dakota driver’s license is simple. This essential step is essential for establishing South Dakota residency for RVers, expats and others.

According to information from the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, you can apply for a driver’s license at any Driver Exam location in the state. There are nearly 60 locations across South Dakota, so you’re sure to find one near you. 

To obtain a South Dakota driver’s license, you’ll need to:

  • Complete an application form
  • Pay a license application fee of $28
  • Bring the right documents: a document that proves U.S. residency (birth certificate, passport, permanent resident card or certificate of citizenship); something that proves your social security number (social security card, most recent W-2 or 1099, or a paystub displaying your full SSN); and two documents that show your South Dakota address (utility bills, bank statement, etc.)
  • Have your photo taken by an examiner
  • Pass a vision test (don’t worry, you can wear your glasses or contacts as necessary)
  • Pass a driving knowledge test
  • Pass a driving test

The last 2 steps might be waived if you’ve had a driver’s license in a state with a reciprocal agreement.

Bonus: Register Your Vehicles in South Dakota

There are more than a million vehicles registered in South Dakota. Here, vehicle titles and registrations are handled by the local county treasurer's office.

If you’ve had your vehicle for fewer than 6 months, you’ll need a few documents to register your vehicle in South Dakota. These documents include:

  • Vehicle title or Certificate or Origin if brand new
  • If the vehicle is financed, you’ll need to provide the lender’s information 
  • Proof you paid sales tax when you purchased the vehicle
  • Purchase agreement
  • Odometer disclosure

If you’ve had your vehicle for longer than 6 months, you’ll need to provide documents including:

  • The title 
  • Lender or lienholder information if the vehicle is financed
  • Odometer disclosure

Notice that vehicle inspection is missing from the lists above. Many states require vehicle inspection for safety and emissions before registration, while South Dakota has no such requirement. This makes registering your vehicle a headache-free process.

It is important to note that most county treasurers only accept cashier’s checks, cash or money orders. This means you’ll need to be prepared before you head into the office. South Dakota makes it simple to determine the cost of your vehicle registration and has some. The state also has some of the most affordable rates in the country.

Vehicle registration fees break down like this:

  • One car: $55 + sales tax
  • Two cars: $85 + sales tax
  • Three cars: $105 + sales tax
  • Four cars: $130 + sales tax

Your mail forwarding service provider, Americas Mailbox, can assist you in making sense of South Dakota vehicle registration. They’ll help you get all the documents in order to make South Dakota your home state.

Bonus: Register to Vote in South Dakota

To make it fully official, you can register to vote in South Dakota. Voter registration in South Dakota is an easy process. 

All you need to do to register to vote in South Dakota is fill out a voter registration form provided by the South Dakota Secretary of State. You’ll need to meet a few requirements to be eligible to complete this form.

To register to vote in South Dakota you must meet the following 6 requirements:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen
  2. Meet South Dakota residency requirements
  3. Be at least 18 years old
  4. If under 18, you must turn 18 before the next election
  5. Not be involved in the penitentiary system for a felony conviction
  6. Not be declared mentally incompetent by a court

Remember, if you won’t be in South Dakota for the election, you can always opt to vote by mail with an Absentee Ballot. Your mail forwarding service will make sure that you get all the forms in time.

It’s simple to establish South Dakota residency for RVers. Breaking down the process into 5 steps makes it manageable and hassle-free. Transition into life full-time on the road and still enjoy the benefits of South Dakota residency.

What are the Benefits of South Dakota Residency for RVers?

The benefits of establishing South Dakota residency for RVers abound. You’ll find that being a citizen of The Mount Rushmore State makes life on the road easier and even more affordable than anywhere else. 

Let’s explore some of the benefits of South Dakota residency.

Tax Benefits for South Dakota Residents

There are seven states in the U.S. that don’t require residents to pay income tax: South Dakota, Florida, Texas, Wyoming, Nevada, Alaska and Washington. South Dakota ranks among the best for tax benefits because sales tax is cheapest here, too. For example, South Dakota sales tax sits at 4.5%, while Floridians pay 6% and those in Washington State pay 6.5%. The benefits of lower sales tax add up fast when you’re making a major purchase like buying your RV.

Other tax benefits for South Dakota residents include:

  • No state tax on Social Security income
  • No pension tax
  • No personal property tax
  • No intangible tax on investments

These tax benefits make South Dakota residency a great option for full timers, especially those who might be retired. Your social security income and pension will go farther without taxes. 

Low Vehicle Insurance Rates in South Dakota

Insuring your vehicle in South Dakota will keep money in your pocket. In fact, the average South Dakota resident pays just over $100 per month for car insurance, which is 11.1% lower than the national average.

While auto insurance rates vary on factors like location, gender, age, marital status, driving history and credit score, they are consistently lower in South Dakota. For example, drivers in their 50s and 60s pay an average of just over $1,000 per year on auto insurance in South Dakota. The same drivers in Florida would likely pay over $1,600 per year on auto insurance. Pocketing an extra $600 is quite appealing and makes South Dakota residency for RVers a smart choice.

When you’re living life as a full timer, RV insurance is essential to protect both your investment and those you love. Finding affordable RV insurance in South Dakota is a cinch. You’ll find that traditional insurance companies and even credit unions offer RV insurance options in South Dakota. Like with auto insurance, RV insurance prices vary on a few factors. Despite the variance, RV insurance is still cheaper in South Dakota than other states.

High Quality of Life

Even if you’re a full-timer on the road exploring the country, you’ll love spending time in South Dakota and will be proud to call it your permanent home. 

Don’t just take our word for it. Look at national rankings. South Dakota ranks:

  • No. 2 for Natural Environment (U.S. News): From the breath-taking Badlands to lush green areas in metropolitan Sioux Falls and Rapid City, you’ll find tons of opportunities to explore nature in South Dakota.
  • No. 2 for Overall Wellbeing and Happiness (MagnifyMoney): Residents of South Dakota are happy and healthy. On the whole, they sleep well, enjoy prosperity thanks to low cost of living and generally make the most of life.
  • No. 3 for Best State to Retire (CNBC): Tax benefits, wellbeing scores, and culture make South Dakota a great place to retire. 

With so many benefits of South Dakota residency for RVers, it’s easy to see why becoming a citizen of The Mount Rushmore State is a smart move for you. You’ll feel proud every time you share your mailing address or pull out your South Dakota driver’s license.

Central Location Makes South Dakota Accessible

South Dakota is on the northwestern edge of the Midwest region of the United States. It is bordered by North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming. Its central location makes the state accessible. Major highways in South Dakota connect the Mount Rushmore state to its neighbors and the rest of the country. I-29, I-90, I-190, I-229 and other roadways traverse the state and make it easy to get around.

South Dakota’s strategic location makes it a great place to spend the night or stay for a while. You’ll likely want to do more than just get your mail in South Dakota and its location and amenities make it easy and enjoyable.

Can I Claim Residency of South Dakota and Another State?

Not ready to give up the roots of your home state? While full South Dakota residency for RVers is a smart move, it is possible to claim full-time residency in two states. Experts say you’ll want to avoid this, though as you’ll be overcharged for taxes.  Another option is claiming yourself as a part-time resident in one state and a full-time resident in another. However, you’ll need to declare a domicile in one state for tax purposes.

Claiming residency in two states is a hassle when tax time comes. For the most part, residency is determined by that state that issued your driver’s license and you’ll want to claim your domicile there. However, if you’re a full-time RVer who works remotely from another state or owns a home outside South Dakota, you might pay the taxman for both states on April 15.

If you have more questions about dual state residency or having a domicile in two states, consider consulting with a tax professional. They can walk you through the process and help you weigh the pros and cons of claiming residency in South Dakota and another state.

With all this in mind, we think the simplest way to handle tax time and state residency is to fully embrace life with South Dakota citizenship. This is just another perk of establishing South Dakota residency for RVers.

Best Places to RV in South Dakota to Meet the Residency Requirement

If you’re going to establish residency in South Dakota, what don’t you consider exploring The Mount Rushmore State while you’re at it? There are many places to spend the night to meet residency requirements. Even though only one night is required, you’ll likely want to spend more time here. 

South Dakota is a beautiful state. Wide-open prairies, gently rolling hills, breathtaking granite peaks and serene wooded forests make the state unique and are waiting to be explored. The Black Hill National Forest and the famous Mount Rushmore monument are can’t-miss destinations in South Dakota. You’ll also want to see landmarks like the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, the famous Old West drugstore in Wall and more.

When you explore South Dakota in an RV, you’re getting the best of both worlds. You’ll see new sights and scenery with all the amenities of home. There are many places to RV in South Dakota, but there are a few favorites we’ve found along the way. 

RV Parks in South Dakota

Elkhorn Ridge RV Resort and Campground in Spearfish is a great place to RV and meet your overnight stay requirement for South Dakota residency. Here you’ll enjoy beautiful views of the Black Hills. You’ll also find amenities here like a liquor store for adult libations, multiple hot tubs and a breakfast cafe.

Rush No More RV Resort in Sturgis is an RVer’s dream. Sites range from simple to luxury. You’ll find amenities here like a beer garden for a cold brew, weekly social and entertainment events, and enforced quiet time for peaceful relaxation.

Heartland RV Park and Cabins in Hermosa is another favorite destination for full-time RVers. It’s close to famous monuments like Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park and the Crazy Horse Memorial. It also boasts a pool, hot tub, wireless internet and cable TV, and a play area for the little ones to burn off energy. A general store and gas station make it easy to get what you need here, too.

America’s Campground is located right next to the Americas Mailbox facility and is a great place to spend the night. This campground has 90 sites for self-contained RVs and is a very convenient place to stay to meet South Dakota’s one-night residency requirement.

There are many other RV parks and campgrounds in South Dakota. No matter whether you’re looking for a place to get away from it all or explore an urban area, you’ll find a place you love in The Mount Rushmore State. Spend the night and meet the requirement to become a South Dakota resident or spend more time here and enjoy the benefits of life in the Badlands.

Tips for Full Time RVers 

If you’re living the life of a full-time RVer, there’s a lot to coordinate. Making the most of life on the road comes with many considerations. From establishing residency to saving money on the road, here are some tips for full time RVers to consider.

Establish Residency in South Dakota

If you’ve gotten this far in the article, you know that it’s easy and wise to establish South Dakota residency for RVers. From tax benefits to low insurance costs to great quality of life, becoming a resident of The Mount Rushmore State comes with many advantages. Select South Dakota as your home. 

Choose the Best Mail Forwarding Company

South Dakota residency makes financial sense. It is also home to the best mail forwarding companies in the nation. The right South Dakota mail forwarding company, like Americas Mailbox, will help you establish residency by assisting with obtaining a driver’s license, registering your vehicles and registering to vote. They’ll also forward your mail to wherever you are -- anywhere in the world. This means if you take your RV south to Mexico or north to Canada, you’ll still reap the benefits of U.S. citizenship and a permanent South Dakota address.

You might want to choose a mail forwarding company that offers a virtual mailbox. To access a virtual mailbox, you’ll need to select a mail forwarding plan with online capabilities. You’ll get to preview the envelope that contains your mail before it comes to you, which means you can only get the mail you need when you’re living life on the road. There is no need to clutter your inbox with junk mail when the right mail forwarding partner is on your side.

Opt In for Online Banking

Online banking makes it easy to access your money from anywhere in the world. This means a full-time RVer with a bank account in South Dakota can pay a bill from anywhere in the world with a few clicks of a mouse or taps on a screen. 

Signing on with a South Dakota bank is a smart move when you have established South Dakota residency. From major banks like Wells Fargo to local credit unions that offer a personalized touch, you’ll find tons of banking options in South Dakota. 

Get the Right RV Insurance

You know that RV insurance is cheaper in South Dakota, but do you know the right coverage for a full timer? You’ll likely want RV insurance that covers the full replacement value, offers full liability coverage, covers your personal effects in the RV, offers medical coverage in case of an accident and covers any upgrades you’ve made to your rig.

You’ll want to consult with a South Dakota insurance agent to make sure you have the right coverage. Your needs might vary based on your individual needs. Consulting with a professional is the best way to get answers.

Find Smart Ways to Save on Overnight Costs

You’ll find ways to save money when you’re living life as a full timer. From choosing inexpensive campground memberships with a chain you love to finding a place to boondock in a national park, there are ways to hang on to what’s in your pocket as you travel. 

You can also save money by staying in one location longer. Extended stays can help you qualify for reduced weekly or monthly rates, which will allow you to really get to know an area while you’re at it. South Dakota is home to a number of beautiful campgrounds with extended stay rates. Even though you only need to spend one night to become a resident, we think you’ll enjoy spending more time here.

Stay Connected with Internet on the Road

Even though you’re opting for life on the open road, it’s still important to stay connected. Many cell service providers also provide mobile internet hotspots that can be used anywhere in the country. Do your homework and find which provider offers the best coverage where you’ll spend most of your time.

Keeping the tips above in mind when settling in for life on the road will make the experience rewarding. From exploring the open road to making the most of the time you have with your travel partners, life as a full-time RVer has many perks. 

Make South Dakota Residency for RVers Easy

You’ve learned a lot today about South Dakota residency for RVers. You now know about:

  • What constitutes state residency in South Dakota
  • 5 steps to becoming a South Dakota resident
  • The benefits of South Dakota residency for RVers
  • Considerations for claiming residency in two states
  • A few of the best places to spend the night in your RV in South Dakota
  • Some tips for full-time RVers

With so much knowledge on your side, you might be ready to take the plunge and become an official resident of South Dakota. When you do become a resident of South Dakota, you’ll enjoy:

  • No state income tax
  • No state tax on Social Security income
  • No pension tax
  • No personal property tax
  • No intangible tax on investments
  • Only 4% excise tax on vehicles and RVs
  • Affordable vehicle insurance rates
  • Low vehicle license fees

The benefits of South Dakota residency for RVers abound. Those who spend all their time on the road are making a smart choice when they decide to establish their domicile in The Mount Rushmore State.

Start taking advantage of the benefits of South Dakota residency for Rvers. Enlist the help of a mail forwarding service like Americas Mailbox and make the process simple. As a family-owned company, Americas Mailbox will provide you with much more than mail forwarding. You’re gaining a partner that is ready to make more than an address on paper. They’ll make South Dakota feel like home. 

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