The State of Iowa is cracking down on motor home owners who’ve purchased their license plates in Montana to try and avoid paying thousands of dollars in taxes in Iowa. Montana doesn’t charge general sales taxes, so Victoria Daniels with the Iowa Department of Revenue says RV owners have gone there in an attempt to dodge Iowa’s five-percent fee for new registration.
“By registering it in Montana, people were able to avoid, in some cases, paying that five-percent on the purchase price of the vehicle,” Daniels says. In Montana, out-of-state residents can legally set up a shell company and register a motor home there under the company’s name.
Iowa lawmakers took action this past spring to address the matter. Daniels says the law “clarifies exactly what constitutes operating that vehicle in Iowa and necessitates” payment of the new registration fee.
The state is now offering a deal for those who’ve been dodging Iowa taxes on motor homes. Daniels says the offer involves paying the initial registration fee of 5-percent of the purchase price and a penalty of 10 percent of the fee.
The deadline to take advantage of the offer is October 23. “If you don’t contact us and you receive contact from us, we’re going to pursue it just as we would any other case,” Daniels says.
“In this specific instance, there could be a 75-percent fraud penalty and criminal charges potentially filed.” Iowa Department of Revenue and Iowa Department of Transportation officials say they’re currently working on at least 60 known cases that fall within the scope of the new legislation.
Money collected from new vehicle registration fees in Iowa is used for road construction programs.
Iowans who want to take advantage of the one-time offer must fill out a form, which is available here: www.iowa.gov/tax/forms/VehicleDisclosureForm.pdf