From: "Patrick Woosley" <pgwoosley@...
Subject: Re: Question about title/registration:
I've heard that Maine is a good place to title a non-standard vehicle, but I have no experience with it, and no details.
In considering titling and registration in a state other than that of
one's residence, one must clearly identify ones objectives. Almost
all if not all states prohibit residents from operating vehicles
registered in another state in the residence state.
For instance, if
you live in CA and plan to drive in CA on OR plates, forget it; the
penalties are quite high. Some objectives might be to get a title
for a vehicle you do not plan to use, to clear up a titling problem, to
reduce sales tax, etc.
Some of the considerations in other states are mentioned
below. (I have not recently check the state-specific comments below;
take them only as leads. Generally, the discussion below reflects only requirements of the titling and registration process, not any
Legality of a non resident registering a vehicle:
In some states,
such as CA, it is fine as long as the vehicle is in CA. In some states it is clearly illegal, and in others it is not clear. In OR,
registration by a non-resident is legal only if the vehicle is
normally left in OR when the owner is out-of-state.
The requirements of some sort of inspection (VIN, safety, and or smog)
as a prerequisite to registration/titling:
In CA for title-only,
only a VIN inspection is required. For other vehicles, a smog
inspection is required in most areas of the state. Normally, no
safety inspection is required. In Texas for antique plates, no
inspection is required as long as you have a previous title (special
inspection of VIN is required if the vehicle is from a non-title
state). Otherwise, safety, and in some counties, smog.
In TX, the safety/smog inspection is required for the initial registration, but not for renewals. In OR, a DMV VIN verification is required in all areas; a smog inspection is required in some areas such as Portland and Medford. The last I heard, IL had no requirement. In CA, smog inspections are required even for renewals.
(In some states there is
an inspection requirement that is completely separate from the registration/titling process; I am ignoring them.)
In most cases, an inspection requirement would mean that the vehicle has to be in the
TX: required for all. CA: not required for Title only (without registration).
The last I heard, IL did not require insurance to register.
Sales/compensating use tax: (The name "compensating use" tax is sometines used on the tax that looks like a sales tax, but applies on out-of-state purchases, etc.)
OR = none. CA not collected on title
only. Some states have favorable provisions for private party sales;
check IL, NC. Some states subtract trade-in allowances (TX), others
do not (CA). Some states exempt you from sales/use tax if you have owned the vehicle in another state for a certain period of time (CA, IL).
Cost of yearly registration/license fees:
OR very cheap, CA very
expensive. TX and IL, reasonable.
If you do not have a good title certificate,
some states are better than others. TX is tough. CA is quite decent and there are ample private experts to help. AL and NH have a
reputation for being easy for older cars.
Personal presence is required. OR generally requires that the owner be present at the DMV; many states do not.