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Old 03-18-2010, 09:59 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
2,220 posts, read 3,388,039 times
Reputation: 1625

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No, I am not advocating you buy one of those things. But I will offer to the larger audience the lessons learned after watching a friend get a very nasty surprise on the real cost of owning one of those fuel-hogging, road-clogging, budget-flogging behemoths of yesteryear...

One thing my friend noted is that the RV dealer salesmen and managers he talked to in Denver and Colorado Springs areas when asked what the taxes and registration fees would be, every person he talked to "had no idea" as if they'd all been trained to play the same phony script. How can you sell these things for a living and not know how much it costs to pay taxes and buy plates? You can't...but you won't tell a potential customer because he'll be SHOCKED to find out how bad the bill really is. And if you call DMV to try and get an estimate before the sale...they won't help you, either.

So I have done some digging in the Colorado tax code to shine a light on this for folks so they don't end up stunned with the equivalent of a second property tax bill for their big resource-sucking toy.

Take my friend. He bought a five-year old diesel pusher motor home...in great condition I must agree. The MSRP for that motor home in 2005 was around $225,000, and he got it for $90,000 from it's elderly owner who had to sell in a bad economy due to illness. After trying a few days before making an offer to get an idea of taxes and fees, he just decided to throw caution to the wind and pull the trigger. Bad idea...

Let's start with the Colorado ownership tax. This is a substitute for the ad valorem personal property tax. It's based on the original MSRP of the vehicle when new. Note that is NOT what the first buyer actually paid for it. Manufacturer's...List...Price. If you've ever paid list for a vehicle you are a sucker and a half. Nobody pays list (unless maybe they're trying to swing a deal with bad credit and an upside-down loan on a crappy trade-in).

For a motor home, which is "class C" property under Colorado tax code (not to be confused with Class A/B/C motorhomes), the ownership tax is computed based on 85% of that original MSRP and on the years since first registration.

Year 1 - 2.1% of 85% x the original MSRP
Year 2 - 1.5% of 85% x the original MSRP
Year 3 - 1.2% of 85% x the original MSRP
Year 4 - 0.9% of 85% x the original MSRP
Years 5-9 - 0.45% of 85% x the original MSRP
Year 10+ - $3

For a travel trailer, which is classified "Class D" property, it's the same, except that in years 10 and beyond, it remains 0.45% of 85% x the original MSRP (or $3, whichever is greater)

So for my buddy's new (to him) motor home, in year 5, his ownership tax works out to 0.45% of (85% x $225,000), or $861, and will remain the same for the next four years.

Oh, but that's not all. The registration fee is based on the vehicle's weight. For vehicles below 16,000 lbs, it's based on the vehicle's empty weight (found on the title as CWT, or curb weight, in hundreds of lbs). For vehicles over 16,000 lbs empty weight, the registration fee is based on gross (loaded) weight. My friend's diesel pavement pig comes in at 21,000 lbs with all the goodies aboard. The relevant tables that the tax dept won't even point you to can be found in CRS 42-3-306, and in the case of a motor home, in subparagraph 13. (www.michie.com/colorado is a good resource to look this up), the registration fee will be $24.50 for the first 4,500 lbs, and $0.60 per hundred lbs above that, for a total of $123.50.

Oh, but that's not all. There's the new (in 2009) SB09-108 Road Safety and Bridge Surcharges. (Department of Revenue - Division of Motor Vehicles:SB09-108 FASTER (Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery)) That's $55 between the two for a vehicle over 16,000 lbs, and will go up $8/yr for the next two years.

And there are a couple miscellaneous small fees...but that's not all.

Sales tax. An RV is taxed at the same rate as an iPod or a pair of jeans. The slick salesman will tell you that Colorado state sales tax is 2.9% out on the lot. When the final bill comes across the table, though, it'll include county, local districts, etc...in El Paso County, a total of 7.4%. Add another cool (but one-time) charge of $6,660.

So for the privelege of that first year of RV bliss, he paid the state $7,700, and he'll continue to get a bill for over $1,000 every year, just to put plates on it.

Oh, but that's not all. He hasn't told me yet what he's forking out for insurance...

Anyway, there you have it, some idea for how the numbers are derived and their sources, since neither a dealer nor DMV will tell you before the sale. And a not-so-subtle submessage: "RUN AWAY!!!"
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:24 PM
 
8,089 posts, read 15,924,428 times
Reputation: 8125
And, Bob, it's nowhere near enough, in my opinion. Some of those RV's have Gross Vehicle Weights (GVW) in excess of 26,000 lbs. If that vehicle were a commercial truck, it would also be paying "Gross-Ton-Mile" taxes for every mile it is driven on Colorado roads (along with having to clear the Ports of Entry) and the driver would have to have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). Now, why in the hell is it that we allow vehicles that weigh as much as mid-size to larger trucks or buses--often with braking systems, transmission, etc. less robust than those of commercial vehicles, and that pose as much or more hazards on the road than larger trucks--to be driven by white-haired septuagenarians, yuppie husbands/girlfriends/wives, teenagers or anybody else with a regular driver's license? And why should they--driving a vehicle for the sole purpose of goofing off--be exempt from GTM taxes while commercial vehicle operators--who carry necessary goods--are taxed? Pound for pound, they are putting the same wear and tear on the roads per mile that they are driven.

I say, charge the big RV's Gross Ton Mile taxes, make them clear the Ports of Entry just like commercial trucks, and require their drivers to have the equivalent of a CDL.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:58 PM
 
17,304 posts, read 24,275,644 times
Reputation: 12653
Bob, thanks for a very informative posting.

IMO, most RV's are only worth having if it's used quite often, like those who travel around the country doing trade shows of various types (guns, model trains, gems, antiques, dolls, computers, etc) or who camp out a whole lot. Some people are nomads and roam the country in these things most of the year and I'm fine with that, they're adults and know what they're spending. Otherwise, AFAIC, there is little "pride of ownership" to having one of these costly toys. My ego doesn't need the boost, I'm fat headed enough as it is.

I've preached many times on C-D that the occasional user should either rent one once or twice a year or use a motel or resort; a far better use of money. A stock with a 5% dividend on a 100K investment will cover a lot of nights in a motel and not even touch the capital. I feel the same way about vacation property, boats, planes, horses and even snowmobiles, ski-doo's, etc. Rent them, charter them, but own them ONLY if you will use them a LOT and/or have a valid business need to do so.

Every time I drive down Powers Blvd, just south of Dublin, I see a huge storage lot full of RV's that rarely go anywhere. Kind of sad.
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:14 AM
 
2 posts, read 27,348 times
Reputation: 10
Default Calcualting

Based on your information, I think my county calculated our renewal fees this year incorrectly. Given that we have just had to have them reverse a transaction for a significant error on plates for another vehicle, I haven't much faith...

We purchased a camper/trailer last summer, so we're just renewing at this point.
It's a 1991, 3600lbs, orig tax value $8100

From what I can tell, anything at 10+ years is a flat $3 fee for ownership tax. They are charging me $36.45

License fee is something I can't get the breakdown for however, and wonder if you have any advice.
The statement card is calling for $52.27 for the lic fee

Total amt due is $88.72

It says it's a TRL-CM2

Any thoughts would be most appreciated.
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:11 PM
 
8,089 posts, read 15,924,428 times
Reputation: 8125
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecleverwind View Post
From what I can tell, anything at 10+ years is a flat $3 fee for ownership tax. They are charging me $36.45
The $3.00 was before the surcharges added by legislation were enacted.
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Old 06-25-2012, 04:06 PM
 
2 posts, read 27,348 times
Reputation: 10
When did this become effective, and it applies to camper/trailers (bumper pull) as well?
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Old 06-25-2012, 04:38 PM
 
8,089 posts, read 15,924,428 times
Reputation: 8125
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecleverwind View Post
When did this become effective, and it applies to camper/trailers (bumper pull) as well?
All vehicles. January 1, 2009. See here:

Department of Revenue:SB09-108 FASTER
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:25 AM
 
2 posts, read 12,770 times
Reputation: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
And, Bob, it's nowhere near enough, in my opinion. Some of those RV's have Gross Vehicle Weights (GVW) in excess of 26,000 lbs. If that vehicle were a commercial truck, it would also be paying "Gross-Ton-Mile" taxes for every mile it is driven on Colorado roads (along with having to clear the Ports of Entry) and the driver would have to have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). Now, why in the hell is it that we allow vehicles that weigh as much as mid-size to larger trucks or buses--often with braking systems, transmission, etc. less robust than those of commercial vehicles, and that pose as much or more hazards on the road than larger trucks--to be driven by white-haired septuagenarians, yuppie husbands/girlfriends/wives, teenagers or anybody else with a regular driver's license? And why should they--driving a vehicle for the sole purpose of goofing off--be exempt from GTM taxes while commercial vehicle operators--who carry necessary goods--are taxed? Pound for pound, they are putting the same wear and tear on the roads per mile that they are driven.

I say, charge the big RV's Gross Ton Mile taxes, make them clear the Ports of Entry just like commercial trucks, and require their drivers to have the equivalent of a CDL.
"bitter, party of one...". For the most part, this just sounds like envy.

Most of these families are spending time together and enjoying the best country in the world TOGETHER. Unfortunately for them, they usually don't use their large purchase nearly as much as they would like to, however, they still pay the huge registration fees and taxes imposed by the state and localities. Therefore, I contend that Coloradans should be able to appreciate their massive contributions to the state. Unfortunately, speaking as someone that has traveled all over the country, the money isn't getting to the roads in Colorado. Colorado has some very average to below average roads by comparison. Please keep this next fact in mind as you express your desire to increase taxes. Money is mobile. Do you honestly think that we just have to sit here and pay? I am not buying property here in Colorado for that exact reason. Colorado is turning into a mini California and they don't even realize it, but that is a separate topic.
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:20 AM
 
927 posts, read 769,591 times
Reputation: 1235
I just registered our 'premium' 19ft trailer (2008) and it cost around $110 per year.

Owning a bus is never going to be a cheap option.
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Old 10-29-2012, 02:52 AM
 
Location: 80919 Rockrimmon yO!
2,742 posts, read 4,680,898 times
Reputation: 1215
Oh the joys of living in Taxarado, where vehicles are treated like real estate.
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