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Old 18-05-2020, 12:04   #16
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Re: Where Are You Registered To Vote and Drive

Several states require a physical address for voters registration and drivers licenses. For several years I used a private PO service that also gives you an address that is accepted for all shipments, even those donít allow a PO Box. Plus they will either forward or scan and forward.

I received a notice a couple of years ago from the state saying I was in violation. Apparently they now have developed a database that tells them if you are using such a service. For drivers licence the ďmanĒ want to be able to find you - insist on a physical address, and this seems to be the direction the fedís are going too..... they want to reach out and find you if they want. Full time cruising does not compute.

The only way around his I have found is to impose on a land based friend to use their address ... and impose on them to forward stuff an needed. This is still a techical violation, but works.
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Old 18-05-2020, 12:29   #17
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Re: Where Are You Registered To Vote and Drive

Voter registration is pretty easy in most cases. Im registered in Dallas, TX.

I kept a Texas DL for years after leaving the USA, you can renew a TX license on line. I finally let it expire and now have only a Panamanian liscence (which requires legal residency to get).

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Old 18-05-2020, 12:31   #18
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Re: Where Are You Registered To Vote and Drive

Voting and residency [which includes applicability as to taxation and other rights and responsibilities, including licenses, e.g., professional and / or driving are State specific laws.

Since it sounds like you will no longer be residing with a land location, determine where you will be living aboard and investigate those State laws whose State waters you will be inhabiting which could include a marina or mooring field.

You can be a resident of two states but you may want to avoid it.
If your life mostly involves just one state, filing state taxes is relatively simple. When your life involves more than one state, things can get complicated pretty quickly.

Everything depends on residency. It determines where you have to file, what kind of return you have to file, and how much youíll be taxed. The problem is, determining residency is more complicated than it sounds. The states have convoluted and differing definitions of what constitutes a resident.

Generally, you can only be a full resident of one state. Most filers who spend time in two states end up filing a resident return to one state and a non-resident return to the other.

Is this even possible?
Yes, it is possible to be a resident of two different states at the same time, though itís pretty rare. One of the most common of these situations involves someone whose domicile is their home state, but who has been living in a different state for work for more than 184 days. In a situation like this it is conceivable that you could be the resident of two states.

Filing as a resident in two states should be avoided whenever possible. States where you are a resident have the right to tax ALL of your income. This is regardless of where it was earned. If you are a resident of two states, you will likely end up paying more in state taxes than if you were a resident of just one, or a resident of one state and a nonresident of another.

Check the definitions
The first thing to do if you think itís possible that you could qualify as a resident in more than one state is to check the definitions of residency. Each state has its own definition of who constitutes a resident. Itís possible that, according to the exact definitions of the law, that you arenít actually a resident of two states.

Generally you are considered a resident if your domicile is that state, or (if your domicile is another state) you maintained a permanent place of abode in that state and spent more than 184 days there during the year.

Most state tax authorities have a page explaining what exactly constitutes a resident in their state. If you canít find a page on their website, try checking the tax return instructions themselves. Most include a section on residency.

Make sure you arenít a nonresident
If you only worked in a state, or lived there for a brief amount of time Ė in a vacation home, for example Ė you likely arenít a resident. In this case, youíd only file as a resident in your normal home state. You would then file as a nonresident in the other state only if you earned money there.

Make sure you arenít a part-year resident
If you move from one state to another during the year, youíll file as a part-year resident in both states. Youíll be treated as a resident of each state for only the days that you lived in that state. This will help you to avoid being double-taxed. Donít make the mistake of filing as a resident in both states if you permanently left one state and moved to another.

Exemptions for students, military personnel, expats, etc.
Most states also have exemptions for students who attend college out-of-state as well as members of the military and their spouses who often have to move from one state to another. These people are generally considered residents of their home states.
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Old 18-05-2020, 16:39   #19
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Re: Where Are You Registered To Vote and Drive

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Originally Posted by RustyBullets View Post
We're likely to become live aboards later this year, currently residing in our rented home in North Carolina. Once we do, we won't have a fixed address other than our boat. Where and how do others handle voting registration (including local county, school and state primary as well as general elections) and drivers' licenses and vehicle registrations?
St Brendans Isle, 411 Walnut Street, Green Cove Springs, FL provides a mail service where you can have a permanent mailing address. They will help register to Vote and to get a Florida drivers Licence too. Although I also have a physical address in Florida that I use to vote and on my license, I spend 4 months of the year on my boat, 4 months skiing in VT and 4 months in Florida (2 in the spring and 2 in the fall). St Brendans Isle is awesome!!
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Old 18-05-2020, 16:58   #20
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Re: Where Are You Registered To Vote and Drive

I have used St. Brendan Mail Service (SBI) for 14 years. I am registered to vote, have a legal Florida drivers license, my vehicle registration and vessel documentation using that address. I do not vote in elections below state government as they do not directly affect me. After more than 40 years in California, it was nice not have to pay state income taxes.
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Old 19-05-2020, 04:05   #21
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Re: Where Are You Registered To Vote and Drive

Re registering to vote. Its easy, just go here: https://www.fvap.gov/
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Old 19-05-2020, 04:27   #22
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Re: Where Are You Registered To Vote and Drive

I use SBI as well and their service is great. The functionality to sort, trash, scan, hold and forward mail through their online portal is just about perfect.

I changed my residency to Florida before I left the states. I don't vote in anything but the presidential election, specifically because I don't feel like I have a stake in local politics, or even state politics.

My bank did require a physical address and would not accept SBI, which comes up as a mail agent when they vet the address. I use my sister's address.
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Old 19-05-2020, 06:02   #23
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Re: Where Are You Registered To Vote and Drive

Legally, you are a resident of the last state in which you met residency requirements.

That said, many people who use mail services get away with registering at the mail service address as a resident and usually no one challenges them on the issue.

As far as the morality, there has been some push back from smaller communities that host mail forwarding companies:
- If you keep your voting limited to Federal (and possibly state) positions, I don't see a big issue. The state and federal law can affect you and you do have a right to have a say in the political process.
- If you start voting in the local portion of the ballot, these small communities have a legitimate argument assuming you spend little or no time in the community (you really aren't a resident in any normal sense of the word). In a small community, a few hundred quasi-residents could easily sway elections away from what the real residents would choose (think property tax increases that the majority of residents don't want but align with quasi-residents political ideology).
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Old 19-05-2020, 09:36   #24
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Re: Where Are You Registered To Vote and Drive

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
Legally, you are a resident of the last state in which you met residency requirements.
Do the states know this? If I sold my house tomorrow and moved aboard, how would I renew my driver's license? Register my boat? What would I use for an address on any official forms (insurance, for example)?

It seems we're forced to lie, and use a mail agent or a relative's address. But maybe there's a process I'm not familiar with.
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Old 19-05-2020, 09:45   #25
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Re: Where Are You Registered To Vote and Drive

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Do the states know this? If I sold my house tomorrow and moved aboard, how would I renew my driver's license? Register my boat? What would I use for an address on any official forms (insurance, for example)?

It seems we're forced to lie, and use a mail agent or a relative's address. But maybe there's a process I'm not familiar with.
No they don't know the rules but who said the govt was logical?

Learned about this first time I renewed my license and found I did't fit their check boxes. I'm sure if I claimed homeless they would have found a way. But honesty just confused them...finally, they suggested I might still live with my parents and that made them happy...or at least it got rid of me.
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Old 19-05-2020, 09:58   #26
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Re: Where Are You Registered To Vote and Drive

In Florida it is all above board. We went to the Clay County courthouse and filed our declaration of domicile, registered our boat and dinghy (bring proof of paying sales tax!), got our drivers licenses, and registered to vote. Due to being home of St. Brendans Isle, they are very familiar with liveaboards and full time cruisers and have procedures to accommodate them. Your physical address is your USCG or FL registration number. No lying or misleading statements required.

When we lived on the dock in Maryland our mailing address and physical addresses were different. Our mailing address was in Virginia and Maryland will not mail a drivers license there. I had to use a relative's Maryland mailing address.

In the USVI your boat name is your physical address. You need a long-term anchoring permit, mooring permit, or be in a marina to have a physical address in order to get your vessel registered or get a drivers license.

All of this physical address vs. mailing address is driven by compliance with the REAL ID Act. The Act does not accommodate a movable residence, so states have had to improvise.

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Old 01-09-2020, 13:33   #27
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Re: Where Are You Registered To Vote and Drive

This is quite a useful and interesting discussion! Some replies to three posters and then my situation which could benefit from further comment — my thanks in advance.

RickG at #20: How interesting to learn how USVIs accommodates their tourists an temp residents, given that they are the Center of the Caribbean Cruisers universe. I’m sure that marinas with livaboards in high visitor areas find improvised accomodations with the law most places. Exceptions? Well, that’s probably a new thread with some odd tales.

Montanan and Valhala360 — the First is quite long and interesting. A lot of information. The second I mention because that post, as well as others after the first add perspective on the edgyness of cruising. The young might do world travel as “backpackers” did and still do, similar to cruisers, But they simply travel with much less and only possess much less, typically, at that stage in life. Our lives are different from theirs by dint of survival and achievement and....hmmmm, taxable estate value, I guess?

At the top of page 2 is Captain_Puget who gets angsty about “The Man!” The threat of control in an increasingly less private and less anonymous world. Do we really value our privacy if we keep giving up our identity so freely? Are we too ready compromise? Are there alternatives? Should there, can there be more?

This raises ethical questions and conundrums which, if we’re conscientious, we cannot escape pondering sometimes; others are just happy to gain a useful, easy slot. So, allow me to run through some rationales for “the Man” and some partial workarounds, and then to finish with my situation.

Residence is where we live. But citizenship is where we belong. Cruisers, like other long term travellers, are trying to fit into both categories without really being typical of either because those sorts usually overlap fairly completely. But what if your residence moves with some frequency?

Thus, we embrace a conundrum and find joy in the freedoms! Well, the physical address requirement is instrumental for the Man because it is a means to make abuses like mail bombs or mailed poisons (and soon enough mailed designer viruses or bacteria), from wreaking long term havoc on society by making offenders more accountable for their actions.

With a physical tie, identity and physical description can be gained by the law in fairly short order. Therefore, no more unabomber’s hanging out off the grid in a seemingly remote wood heated cabins in the Montana Rockies who can enjoy the local library for years and years — while still making bombs to maim airline executives and Yale University computer scientists over years and years. This was anonymity at too high of a social cost,

In other words, society gets improved levels of safety from random terror at the price of continual, accessibly found ties to identity (even if the person still cannot be easily located).
That’s the top domain of our revised social compact today.

But what about privacy not involving criminal harm to others? Lifestyle privacy or maybe some degree of financial privacy? Why shouldn’t people have that option, like living in the French Marqeses (sp?), like Gauguin(sp?)? Carefree among the Palm trees and along sandy beaches? Who here never imagines doing that walk?

I think three years ago I read a book “How To Be Anonymous.” And the author had spent decades helping people to do just that!

The most interesting advice he had was pretty much perfect for anyone seeking to be a nonviolent non criminal sort who wants to be left alone. His advice was to hire another to do part-time proxy work. To do this, you do three things: have a contract (limited power of attorney agreement), pay them regularly and attractively well (but not ostentatiously). But most of all, screen your hire to be on your side. Ask background questions that make them most likely to desire to be motivated to respect your goal of privacy. Hire them to do mail forwarding, etc. For them, it’s easy money for an hour of work each month, and maybe three hours once a year.

OK. Now adapting this and the above from this thread to my situation. I’m buying a yacht to live in and travel like other cruisers. I could well go to SBI route. Or another mail forwarding service for travellers route.

But what I want that is missing from discussion is asset protection with minimal exposure of my identity. There are at least three to five western states that license boats and issue LLCs at low costs (with varying levels of privacy). A boat owned by an LLC remains insurable, while gaining added financial protection against slip and fall lawsuits.

How are physical ties maintained for federal or state interests? States require annual reregistration or maintenance fees be paid, and through a state authorised Registered Agent with an address of record.

In other words, the Agent is your LLCs physical address for a lawsuit, taxes, or federal inqueries. And often these agents can serve other forwarding functions such as a physical address for drivers license and financial institutions. Or else one might mix and match this with a travellers mail forwarding service, eg, Wyoming, where you can do all three — boat licensing, LLC, mail forwarding — in Cheyenne). But Montana and New Mexico are attractively lowest cost for the first two. But Texas, Idaho or even Nevada might be in the running.
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Old 01-09-2020, 13:54   #28
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Re: Where Are You Registered To Vote and Drive

We owned our last boat through an LLC as we had co-owners. My co-owner was the registered agent. The only challenge is that you need proof of ownership when you go through customs; for that we used the articles of organization of the LLC which named the members of the LLC. To be honest we did not need the LLC and could have done this with a simple co-ownership agreement. But, good documents make good friends.

For my businesses I use incorp.com as the registered agent. The scan and upload all mail to their portal and you get an email notice. They handle the details and pay your fees for your home state registration and any foreign state registrations.

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Old 01-09-2020, 16:10   #29
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Re: Where Are You Registered To Vote and Drive

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If you donít actually live there, wherever there is, do you really think you should be voting in local elections?
Turning Clay County blue, one vote at a time.....!
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Old 01-09-2020, 16:35   #30
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Re: Where Are You Registered To Vote and Drive

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Turning Clay County blue, one vote at a time.....!
First we take the county, then the state!
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