Out-of-state companies that buy motorhomes in Montana to avoid sales taxes could soon be contributing to the state’s economy – and to the upcoming Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Signature Events in the state.
According to a report in Great Falls Tribune, the House on Wednesday (March 30) gave preliminary approval to a bill that would establish a new tax on the motorhome purchases by a slim 51-49 vote.
The bill contains a $1 million earmark for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission, which is coordinating Montana’s two national Signature Events.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bob Bergren, D-Havre, said the Signature Events will attract thousands of RV-driving tourists to Montana, so “it seems fitting to help pay the costs with a tax on motorhomes.”
“They are taking advantage of our no sales tax, so I think it’s only fair that we should benefit,” Bergren said.
To cash in on the state’s lack of sales tax, motorhome buyers had been establishing Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) in Montana. The newspaper reported that the number of motorhomes registered in Montana grows by about 7% a year, according to a state fiscal analysis.
If the bill becomes law, businesses can expect to pay between $65 and $500, depending on the age and size of the motorhome. The tax, which is a one-time fee, would generate about $860,000 for the state during the next two years, and the figure could increase after that.
Bergen maintains nonresidents save thousands of dollars in sales taxes by buying motorhomes in Montana, and a $500 tax won’t stop them.