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Author Topic: Is anyone running antique tags on their older buses?  (Read 3224 times)
oldmansax
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« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2006, 06:11:03 AM »

I tagged mine in Montanna. They let you buy permanent tags for motorhomes over 10 (I think) years old. You have to set up an LLC. There are bunches of people who will do that for you & guide you through the process. No inspection & no taxes. Whole deal costs around $1200, depending on who you deal with. Tags are permanent. Insurance cost me $125 year; and the nicest part...IT'S ALL LEGAL!  Grin  I used Business Tech on the web. Nice people. BTW, I am in no way affiliated with them.
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gumpy
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« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2006, 07:07:47 AM »

Sorry... Just saw that message about a tag costing $277 a year.... ( sounds like a commercial plate to me..) Embarrassed

No, was not a commercial plate. It was a legitimate mororhome plate.

In MN, RV license taxes based on weight. Passenger, non-commercial vehicle license taxes are based on age or value or something else. I was paying $39 to license my pickup (the only good think Jackass Ventura did for this state) which I drive 20K miles a year. I was paying $279 to license my RV (Jackass didn't own an RV, but I understand personal watercraft are really cheap to register now) which I drive maybe 5K a year. The state statutes allow any vehicle over 20 years old to be licensed as a collector vehicle if it's "used for collector purposes" and you have another vehicle licensed for every day use. There's no definition on what constitutes "used for collector purposes", but I challenge anyone to argue that we do anything different with our buses than a guy building a '57 chevy does. We take them to shows (we call them rallys) and give tours to all our friends. We have clubs we belong to. We have dedicated web forums to discuss our buses. We drive them around the neighborhood swelling with pride. See the similarities here?

The law in MN does not exclude motorhomes from obtaining collector plates, but the people in the state office have decided that motorhomes don't (or shouldn't) qualify, presumably because it cheats them out of all that extra tax revenue. So on initial application, they reject it with a brief explaination that motorhomes don't qualify (but they don't refund all your money). However, when pressed, if you can actually get them to answer the phone (there's a trick to that, too, but that's another story), they can't point to anything in the law that excludes motorhomes, and eventually, they have to give in and issue the collector plate registration because they have no basis on which to deny it. But, the next time someone goes in to register their bus conversion as a collector vehicle, guess what? Denied. I even tried to get an opinion about the law from the State Attorney General, but guess what, they don't work for us "citizens" and are prohibited by law from offering an opinion about the law to a private citizen. You read that right. They represent the state, not the people. Their job is to represent the state in a lawsuit and would offer an opinion to the motor vehicles division only if asked to do so by the motor vehicles division, but there's no way you can get the motor vehicles division to ask for that opinion unless you sue the state. Ya gotta love government! Of the people, by the people, certainly not for the people!

It actually got to be pretty comical talking to the woman at the state office because when she finally called me back to tell me that they had approved it, she told me that, "Yes, your bus conversion does qualify for collectors plates, but if you take it to your rallys, and sleep in it, you could be ticketed because then it falls under the definition of a motorhome." "Huh? You just told me that RVs qualify for collector plates."  "Yes, they do, but if you sleep in it, then it falls under the definition of a motorhome, and you could be ticketed if you sleep in it." I led her around this circle of logic a couple of times and gave up. Then she said, "You do know that if you registered it as a bus, you can still get collectors plates?"  Long pause....  "Are you telling me that if I registered it as a bus, and put collector plates on it, and took it to a rally and slept in it, that would be legal, but registering it as a motorhome and sleeping in it is not legal?"  "That's right."  I didn't even try to unwrap that thought pattern, but I did have to ask, "But wouldn't I then need a CDL to drive it?", to which she replied, "Yes, you would."  Yeah, I'll consider that..... for about 1/2 a second!

What's even more interesting is the new registration doesn't have anything on it that says it's a motorhome or RV.

Every state is different in how their laws are written regarding licensing and how they are interpreted by those in the state offices. Some states have mileage restrictions. Some have other limitations. You have to understand your own states laws and be willing to fight for a proper interpretation. However, because of reciprocity, if it's legal in the state where you live and register it, then it's accepted in all other states.

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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2006, 08:16:27 AM »

Oldmansax,

Montana has a state website, and if you go to the Secretary of State section you can do your own LLC, costs $75.  One page form, very simple. I think all the states  have this.  You don't really need an attorney.
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Jim Stewart
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« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2006, 08:31:41 AM »

It's no doubt of no relevance to the original question, but the taxation and licencing suitation for a bus conversion here is equally confusing. I repeatedly get asked "Are you allowed to drive it?" by people who see my bus, and the question is not as silly as it seems. The basic rule that everyone knows and understands in the UK is that if you have a traditional car driving licence you are allowed to drive any vehicle up to 7.5 tons. I say 'traditional' licence because new driving licences issued now are more restrictive, and require you to pass extra tests to drive anything bigger than a car, or even tow a trailer(!)

So, people believe that 'car' drivers cannot drive anything over 7.5 tons, but in fact that applies only to goods vehicles, so you can drive a bus (as long as it does not have more than six seats or two axles) of any weight as it does not qualify as a goods vehicle.

So you go out any buy a bus or coach, and take the seats out. Then you are in a quandry because you cannot tax it; bus tax costs more than car tax, but more importantly the 'roadworthiness test' (known as the MOT test) is much stricter for a bus (as you would expect with a vehicle in public service). Firstly, a bus without seats etc would not pass the test anyway, and secondly they would not issue a bus MOT to an individual who doesn't hold a PSV licence. (As an aside, one of the reasons I was very happy when I bought my bus was the fact that it had just come out of service, and it had a thick file of paperwork relating to all the tests and inspections it had been through every 8 weeks for the last few years).

So you either have a vehicle you can tax but not drive, or one you can drive but not tax. The answer is to get it re-classified into a different taxation class, so it then is treated as though it was a regular motorhome. Unfortunately, this is not just a 'paperwork' excercise - the vehicle has to be taken to a government inspection centre, where they go over it with a fine-tooth comb, and (hopefully) issue it with a whole new identity (just like when you've built a kit car for instance). Unfortunately (again) they won't carry out the inspection until any conversion work is finished, so if you are in the position that I am now (ie with a partially converted vehicle) you cannot legally drive it. I personally regard the inflexibilty and illogicality of the law in this situation to be sufficient justification to simply ignore the rules until such time as I can obey them (ie, when the conversion is finished).

Jeremy
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gumpy
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« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2006, 09:59:57 AM »

I personally regard the inflexibilty and illogicality of the law in this situation to be sufficient justification to simply ignore the rules until such time as I can obey them (ie, when the conversion is finished).

I'd like to be there when you argue that one in front of the magistrate!   Cheesy

I'm glad to hear we're not the only country with stupid rules being interpreted by stupid people.

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Craig Shepard
Located in Minnesquito

http://bus.gumpydog.com - "Some Assembly Required"
Charles Seaton
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« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2006, 12:29:18 PM »

Here in NY, I have historic plates on a SEATED 1967 GM SDM5302.  If I ever decide to "convert" it, I would have to change insurance and registration in order to be legal.  When applyying for insurance they ask for photos of exterior on all side and interior, which must be as bus was originally manufactured.

Charles Seaton
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