Buying an RV is a big expense, no matter how you look at it. A brand new class A will set you back somewhere between $50,000 and $200,000, and even a used class C from the Clinton era can run $10,000. Then there are all the incidental costs: insurance, maintenance, campground fees, fuel, and the inevitable roadside repair. Though what many prospective RV owners forget in that big mess of expenses — taxes.
Like any big purchase you make, the government is going to want its cut. Unfortunately for RV owners, there is a multitude of taxes that must be paid to keep your vehicle street-legal. We’ll want you through the most common RV taxes by state, which should give you a ballpark figure for the cost of RV ownership in your area.
Types of RV Taxes
Owning an RV can be the ticket to freedom and a lifetime of memorable experiences, but before you can enjoy those benefits, you need to pay the tax bill. We’ll start by covering the most common tax categories, but be sure to consult your local DMV for a comprehensive list of taxes in your county and specific RV model.
This is the most significant tax you’ll pay when purchasing an RV because it’ll all be owed upfront. If you buy from a dealer and get financing, the sales tax will be rolled into the final price and loan. Should you pay cash for a used RV, know that you’ll owe the sales tax as soon as you register the vehicle.
Don’t assume you can avoid this tax by buying in one of the half-dozen states that don’t charge sales tax either. The tax you pay is based on where the vehicle is registered.
Many drivers are confused by the idea of paying a property tax on their vehicle because it’s usually rolled into the cost of registration. We’ve listed the RV property taxes by state, which are usually based on the vehicle's value, but there are some idiosyncrasies in certain counties or with particular RV models that could raise your tax bill beyond what’s shown here.
Just like any other vehicle, an RV needs to be registered with the state’s DMV. Some states charge a flat registration fee to all non-commercial vehicles, while others have a tiered tax system based on the vehicle's weight, age, and sometimes its value. A few states forgo the registration fee entirely if the vehicle is old enough.
Cities and counties can set their own sales and property tax rates separate from the state. Counties can also tack on extra fees for things like law enforcement, titling, and clerk costs. Local RV property taxes by state are too numerous to mention here but know that the cost of buying and registering your RV might be slightly higher as a result.
RV Taxes by State
Every state has its own unique tax systems based on the citizenry’s preferences, political wrangling, or just plain randomness. A state might have 0% sales taxes but a high annual registration fee and property taxes. While you’d save money upfront, there’ll be an onerous tax bill every year for the life of the vehicle.
Let’s take a look at how each state fares on the tax continuum.
Registration: No registration is required on vehicles more than 35 years old. For new vehicles, the fee is based on weight, starting at $23 for vehicles under 8,000 pounds and going up to $300 for the heaviest class A RVs. Travel trailers pay a flat $12 registration fee.
Sales: 0%. Some cities in Alaska do charge a local sales tax, but the only RV dealerships in the state are located in Anchorage, which does not have a local tax.
Registration: Alaska charges a flat $100 registration fee plus anywhere between $70 and $150, depending on the age of the RV. Not bad, considering the lack of sales and property tax.
Registration: The fee is based on the assessed value of the vehicle - $2.80 for every $100 of assessed value.
Registration: Fees are weight-based, but almost any RV will be in the top weight tier of 4,500 lbs and above, which will cost $32.50.
Registration: $112.50 registration fee, $5 plate fee, $15 clean air act fee, $15 greenhouse gas fee, $10 administrative fee, $15 passport to the parks fee.
Registration: $47.50 for vehicles weighing more than 4,500 lbs
Registration: Fees are weight-based: Vehicles up to 4,000 pounds are 1.75 cents per pound.
Vehicles 4,001 pounds to 7,000 pounds are 2 cents per pound.
Vehicles 7,001 pounds up to 10,000 pounds are 2.25 cents per pound.
Vehicles over 10,001 pounds are a flat rate of $300.
Registration: If your RV weighs less than 8,000 lbs, the fee is age dependent between $45 and $69. Fees for heavier vehicles are weight-based and between $73 and $117.
Registration: Fees are weight-based, between $73 and $102.
Registration: Fees for Class B and C RVs are between $65 and $110, depending on the age of the vehicle. Class A RVs are assessed on age and value, with fees between $85 and $400.
Registration: $50 every two years.
Property: Based on the age of the vehicle, anywhere between 2.4% for new RVs and .4% for RVs six years and older.
Registration: $65 plus a $35 inspection fee.
Registration: The Great Lakes State has some of the most complicated vehicle registration fees based on age and weight. Usually, they’re somewhere between $29 and $211. RVs older than 1983 have the lowest registration fees.
Registration: Like Michigan, Minnesota uses a mix of age and weight to calculate registration fees. RVs older than 2011 get a break, but a new Class A RV could cost between $100 and $300 to register.
Registration: Fees are age-based, with new RVS being charged $282.50 and vehicles eight years and older being charged $97.50. Once an RV is 11 years old, it can be permanently registered for a fee of $237.50.
Registration: In Granite State, you’ll owe registration fees to both the state and the city/county you live in. At the state level, the fee is either $43.20 or $55.20, depending on whether you’re below or above 5,000 lbs. At the local level, it’s based on age and the value of the vehicle. New RVs are charged $18 per $1000. The local tax is a one-time fee, with new vehicles paying $18 for every $1000 of their RVs value and vehicles that are four years old paying one-third of that price.
Registration: New Jersey bases their registration fees on both age and weight, but for most RV owners, the cost will be somewhere between $71 and $82, depending on whether the vehicle is more than two years old.
Registration: Brand new RVs cost $62 to register, and it gets progressively cheaper as the vehicle ages down to about $42.
Registration: In the Empire State, if you weigh more, you pay more. Vehicles over 6000 lbs are charged $140, and it’s about $3 cheaper for every 100 lbs less down to 3000 lbs.
Sales: 3%, but with a maximum tax of $2000
Registration: North Dakota has one of the more complicated registration schemes varying by weight and age bracket. New RVs weighing more than 9000 lbs cost $274, while a six-thousand-pounder from 2011 is only $117.
Registration: Fees vary depending on age: RVs 1-4 years old are $96, while vehicles 17 years or older are only $26.
Sales: 6% or 7% in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) and 8% in Philadelphia
Registration: Fees are weight-based and are between $83 and $149.
Registration: $45 plus $8 for every 1000 lbs over 4000 lbs.
Registration: Fees are based on weight and age, with vehicles ten years or older getting a 30% discount. RVs that are less than ten years old are charged a base rate of $108 and $36 more for every 2000 lbs over 6000 lbs.
Registration: Either $50.75 or $54, depending on whether your RV weighs more than 6000 lbs.
Registration: $69.50 plus $19 for every 2000 lbs over 14,000 lbs.
Registration: $108-$115 depending on weight plus $20-$80 in Transportation Benefit District Fees if you live in Seattle, Spokane, Olympia, or Wenatchee.
Registration: $48.50 plus $13 for every 4000 lbs over 5000 lbs.
Should I Buy an RV?
Buying and maintaining an RV can eat up a significant chunk of your budget. So what should you do if you’re overwhelmed by the dizzying array of taxes that come with RV ownership but still want to hit the road? Consider renting an RV from Cruise America. We take care of the taxes, registration fees, and maintenance. All you need to do is find the right campground and put gas in the tank. Getting a rental is also the perfect way to test the waters and see if RV ownership is right for you.