Most states slap huge sales or excise taxes on vehicle purchases. These taxes can add thousands and thousands of dollars to the price of a new car, truck, RV, ATV, motorcycle, or anything else on wheels.
But Montana doesn’t!
ATV in Montana
Montana is one of just a handful of states that doesn’t have a sales tax on personal property. The other states that don’t charge a sales tax include Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Oregon.)
Montana also doesn’t impose an emissions test as a condition of registration.
All Montana does is impose a “luxury fee” of $825 on vehicles valued at $150,000 or more.
This wouldn’t apply to any but the priciest all-terrain vehicles. But it applies to a lot of RVs and high-value trucks, which are also popular among ATV owners. After all, something has to haul the ATV trailers!
The key is in forming a limited liability company (LLC) in Montana. That way, even though you aren’t a Montana resident, the LLC is domiciled in Montana. And as a legal entity, your Montana LLC can own property – such as an ATV, RV, motorcycle, snowmobile, sports car, or anything else.
Owning your ATV within a Montana LLC saves you from having your name and address on public record as the ATV owner.
Another nice thing about Montana for ATV owners: Motorcycles and ATVs can get a permanent registration, under Section 61-3-321 of the Annotated Montana Code.
That means you don’t have to keep renewing your Montana registration for these vehicles. It’s one and done. Though if you have established a Montana LLC to hold the title, you must still pay the annual fee to keep your LLC current in Montana and file an annual report.
The downside for out-of-state residents registering vehicles in Montana to sidestep sales taxes and emissions requirements is that some states frown on this practice, and are cracking down on their residents for unpaid registrations. Georgia and California are two states that have been especially aggressive about enforcement. They even send their agents to car shows and other events to spot vehicles with Montana tags and then run the plates to identify the LLCs and then their owners.
They also pay mechanics, storage lot attendants, neighbors, and others to rat you out to state revenue authorities.
On the other hand, ATVs and similar vehicles are a lot less conspicuous than a $1.6 million Prevost H3-45 VIP RV, or $5 million Bugatti Mistral. Or even your humble, simple, garden-variety Ferrari Perosangue.
ATVs are easy to store discreetly in your garage, barn, or metal storage shed, away from prying eyes. And chances are you won’t be using them much on the highway, where meddling state troopers might get curious about your Montana tags.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to know the laws and overall enforcement climate in your state and to balance the risk against the savings from avoiding sales taxes and local registration costs.
For more information on the Montana LLC technique, the controversy around it, and how law enforcement and revenue officials go about enforcement in states that are cracking down on the practice, read this.
Insuring your Montana-Registered ATV
Having your ATV properly insured is very important.
Note: Lots of people ask us where they need to have their ATV insured. If your ATV is registered in Montana, you live in Michigan, but you keep your ATV garaged in Ohio, under what state’s laws do you need to have your ATV insurance?
The answer: Insure the vehicle wherever you have it primarily garaged.
Need insurance on your ATV anywhere in the Lower 48? Want to save money insuring any or all of your cars, trucks, RVs, ATVs, and anything else on wheels? Call one of my agents today!
We’re an independent auto insurance brokerage. That means we’re not captive to any single company. We can help you compare pricing and terms and sing up with multiple different insurance carriers doing business in your state – and the state in which you primarily garage your vehicles.
Look, ATV insurance is a specialized market. So is insurance for a lot of the other vehicles that are common in the outdoor adventure lifestyle, like customized camper vans, RVs, motorbikes, 4-wheel drive trucks, trailers, and other vehicles that help make life a lot more fun!
When you own specialized vehicles, or vehicles that have a lot of mods and accessories or unusual uses, it makes sense to use an experienced agent who understands your needs, and who can connect you with a specialized carrier that offers you the specialized, specific types of coverage you need to protect yourself, your family members, passengers, and others around you.
Your corner strip mall agent is probably a great guy or gal. But if they’re captive to a single company, they couldn’t show you the insurance policies you need or help you shop around if they want to.
Sure, get a quote from them (we’ll almost always do better!) and keep them as golf partner! Keep them as your home insurance agent! But when it comes to insurance protection, use an independent specialist who can match you with the best insurance protection and the best value. Not the cheapest or most convenient.
To get started, you can contact one of my agents at the link above, or click here and fill out a brief online form. Take a couple of minutes to describe your needs, and we’ll be in touch promptly to help you get the coverage you need.
And, of course, you can also call us directly at (855) 438-7353. Just ask to speak with an agent.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on (and off) the road!
Steve “Mr. Insurance” Ludwig
CEO, Select Insurance Group