The State of Iowa is cracking down on RV’s with Montana license plates. Why? The Des Moines Register explains:
Lawyers from Big Sky Country have publicized Montana since the 1990s as a place for out-of-state residents to set up a shell company and register a recreational vehicle under the firm’s name. By doing so, RV owners have avoided paying millions of dollars of taxes in Iowa and other states because Montana residents do not pay general sales taxes.
But a crackdown has begun on recreational vehicle owners trying to escape Iowa taxes under state legislation signed in June by Gov. Terry Branstad. The changes toughen an existing state law intended to ensure Iowa motorists pay a 5 percent fee for new vehicle registrations, as well as annual registration fees. The money is used for Iowa road construction projects.
“Your Montana LLC owns the vehicle; you simply drive the company car. Get Montana plates and pay the lowest rate in 50 states!” says a website for Deer Creek Corporate Services of Helena, Mont. It advises people to watch a video where a happy Deer Creek customer explains how he saved $30,000 in a single day.
This story caught my eye because I remember Montanans took it as a particular note of pride when a presidential candidate’s campaign bus came strolling through town with Montana plates.
Breanna Roy had this story for KPAX-TV back in April of 2012:
Missoula County Commissioner Michele Landquist recently received a photo of Rick Santorum’s tour bus in Washington, D.C., from an acquaintance.
“Yep, that’s definitely a four, isn’t it?” she said, pointing out the unmistakable Montana outline on the plate, and a license plate number beginning with a four, indicating Missoula County.
Out of all the places in the country to register a motor vehicle, Missoula County may seem like a random place to pick, but not when you consider the plate comes tax-free.
Sounds like they may have to get new plates before the next caucus. When in Iowa…