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As boat and snowmobile owners in Utah wait to see if tax laws for their toys are simplified next year, motorhome and houseboat users are still hoping for a proposal to slash their registration fees, according to the Deseret Morning News.
Owners of “personal property,” including recreational vehicles, watercraft and trailers, would pay a set registration fee based on the property’s age, with the fee adjusting with every three years of age, under a bill endorsed by the Utah Legislature’s Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee Wednesday (Sept. 15).
The bill will be forwarded to the full Legislature for consideration during the 2005 general session.
Legislators continued to grapple, however, with how to make the taxes on motorhomes more competitive with other states. Under Utah law, motorhomes are taxed like houses, often sticking RV owners with tax bills of more than $2,000. Oftentimes, RV owners will risk fines and register in a state that only charges a flat fee of a couple of hundred dollars.
“I never contemplated having to pay $200 a month in taxes for my motorhome,” RV owner Darwin Tobler told the committee. “That is not part of my retirement budget.”
Tobler estimated he lived in his motorhome at least half of the year, much of that out of state. Unless the law is changed, he will probably have to register in another state, either with family or through an RV association.
Rep. Lou Shurtliff, D-Ogden, said she would probably propose a bill that would allow RV owners to register their motorhomes based on age, instead of value, which would significantly lower the fees, although it could also result in a tax shift to lower-valued motorhomes and other property owners. Other options include using a length-based system or lowering the tax rate on motorhomes.
Regardless, she said something needs to be done, because not only does the state lose the tax revenue if RV owners register in other states, they often lose the sales tax revenue because people will purchase the RVs in a state like Montana, which has a low registration fee and does not have a state sales tax.