Motor home loophole hits wall

MASON CITY, IA - It’s an illegal shortcut to save thousands of dollars but a crack down on the tax law is making it harder than ever before.

The Iowa Department of Transportation is cracking down on motor home tax dodgers costing the state thousands in unpaid taxes.

In the past, Iowans could avoid the fees by registering motor homes out-of-state, but new legislation is aimed at ensuring they pay the five percent fee.

County officials say it takes a much bigger toll on tax payers then we think.

“Absolutely make it tougher on them. If they’re going out and they’re buying a $500 thousand dollar motor home, they owe the state of Iowa $25 thousand dollars in one time registration fees on that. Plus the yearly registration fees, so the stat of Iowa would be out,” said Cerro Gordo County Treasurer, Patricia Wright.

As part of the new legislation, violators can be charged with fraudulent practices and fined as much as 75 percent of the original fee.

Which in some cases could mean more than $40 thousand dollars in fees.

“They’re trying to crack down on is that these first of all do not go out of the state to get titled and then when they are getting back into the state, they need to be registered in the state of Iowa with an Iowa title on it,” said Wright.

According to the new Iowa law, if a vehicle is owned by a nonresident in Iowa for more than 90 days and is operated by an Iowa resident during that time, the vehicle is not considered to be in the state temporarily.

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