Illegal Legal Residence


Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Jun 1, 2005
Are there some serious legal pitfalls possible with using a P.O. Box as your "residence". :confused:

One that comes to mind. You get your driving license and insurance in Nevada for tax reasons even though you really don't legally live in Nevada. Then you have a serious accident and are at fault. Does your insurance company pay? Or do they leave you to fend for yourself since the info on your insurance is "dodgy"?

I'm considering using a residence of "convenience" when I do some overseas travelling, so I really wonder how safe (covered) I'll be. :confused:
OK, don't make me chuck a fruity :D

Someone must have some idea about the ramifications of a "casual" legal residence. :confused:
Residence is largely a matter of intent. However, that doesn't mean you can say "I intend to make state X my residence" even though you've never been there and make that stick. There are indicia of residency such as where you are registered to vote, where your domicile is, where you pay taxes, where you are licensed to drive, etc. The more of these you have in one place the better. What concerns me about your hypothetical is the implication that you would be using Nevada as your residency merely as a "convenience" or as a "casual legal residence." If you own property in state Y, for example, and have always lived there, I think that would be your primary residence. On the other hand, I'm not certain what harm there would be if you have no income, property, etc. in any other state. If it were me, I would tell my insurance agent what I was doing and listen to his/her advice. I would be similarly straight forward to any other taxing jurisdictions which might have an interest in your assets. To be even more thorough, I would discuss your plans with a local attorney, once you determine what "local" is.


I plan to move around quite a bit next year and basically no one place is home. Heck I don't even know the addresses yet. But I got to have some place for bills and Federal Tax return, etc.

If I get a UPS Store mailbox address in Reno, Nevada then that is my only address and they will forward.

My driver's licence is from the UK and it says I live in England. I'm now afraid to drive with it. Being a vagabond is rough and I ain't even worked up a sweat yet.
I think a lot of these situations are resolved by outfits that wont take a PO box as a 'legal address' or will take it as a mailing address but not a residence.

Since you'll be in california, you'll be subject to their definition. And it is...

"A California resident is an individual who is in California for other than temporary reasons. A resident is an individual who is working, living, retiring or staying in California for a long period. If you stay in California for more than nine months, FTB will presume that you are a resident.

A resident is also an individual whose permanent home is in California but who is outside of California for a temporary purpose. For example, an individual goes on vacation in another state or works there temporarily. The individual still maintains residency in California and intends to return.

A temporary stay means that the individual is just visiting California. He or she may be here for a vacation, or completing a business transaction. But there is no intention to stay."
With regards to the UK drivers license, california recognizes non-US drivers licenses with no obvious limit as long as the holder remains a citizen of that country.

The department of motor vehicles says that if you "make your home" in california for 10 days, your out of state or out of country drivers license is not valid and you must obtain a local license.

A great source of how to do this right probably comes from people who live full time in RV's.
Well, If I recall correctly, George H. Bush (Bush senior) lives in Conneticutt but spends 2 weeks a year in Houston (in a hotel). By spending two weeks a year in Houston GHB can claim Texas as his residence and not pay state income taxes. Texas has no income taxes and Conneticutts are very steep. This is all perfectly legal per the rules of the game.

Now California on the other hand likes to really shake you down for your "Fair Share". Maybe you could set something up like the GHB thing. How does a 2-week stretch in Las Vegas sound ?

Perhaps you should speak with a Nevada accountant (CPA).
Thanks that was very helpful.  By moving there with almost no goods it is proof that I did not intend to stay.   ;)

I'm like an RV'er without an RV or a boater without the boat.  A non-train-riding hobo.

MasterBlaster, good one.
I just may join W in Texas later this year. And you are very true, CA comes after your taxes like rabid dogs. I spent many years fighting them. I lived overseas for 15 years and every year they threatened me.
The split state thing can also be interesting. If you 'legally live' in one but according to the one you actually spend most of the time, that you also meet their residency requirements, both may come after you for taxes.

I had that lovely situation when I moved from MA to CA late in the year. I think what ended up happening (it was a long time ago) was that i paid taxes on what I earned in MA to MA and taxes on what I earned in CA to CA, and then got to take some small credit for paying taxes to another state. It was a hellacious mess of three returns. And no turbotax then. :(
Generally it is easy to establish a residency in a particular state. What may be difficult is ending residency of your prior state of residence. Illinois may have a checklist to go through to show you have terminated residency in that state.
And watch out becoming an inadvertent resident of a state by spending a bunch of time there and getting "badges" of residency, like a driver's license, voting, renting an apartment, etc. From CFB's California definition of residency, it looks like you could end up being a California resident. The last thing you want is being a resident of more than one state.
I'm filing my taxes this week and I was planning to give Illinois my new address. I hope that's on their checklist. :)

I've been over on some RV boards like CnFB suggested and they have some interesting stuff. Using a PO Box as a residence in Texas was challenged in court by some RV club and they won. So a PO Box qualifies as a residence in Texas according to ESCAPEES.COM. Allows you to register, vote, get a license.

Of course, I've spent all of 5 minutes on reading so I could be badly misled. :D
OldAgePensioner said:
I'm filing my taxes this week and I was planning to give Illinois my new address. I hope that's on their checklist. :)

I've been over on some RV boards like CnFB suggested and they have some interesting stuff. Using a PO Box as a residence in Texas was challenged in court by some RV club and they won. So a PO Box qualifies as a residence in Texas according to ESCAPEES.COM. Allows you to register, vote, get a license.

Of course, I've spent all of 5 minutes on reading so I could be badly misled. :D

No, you are not misled. A lot of people us North Dakota (or is it South Dakota?) as their residence as well. But these people also do not then spend a considerable amount of time in one place. They don't have a home base anywhere. Watch out for that California definition of residency. It is very, very vague and might trap you. How is your health insurance going to work?
I hope by not moving any goods other than clothing to SF, I can escape the greedy vultures. I want to pay tax to a state that will use the money responsibly and that is definitely not CA.

On health insurance, I talked to my companies Retiree Insurance rep this morning and she said all retirees are insured thru BlueCrossBlueShield of IL, regardless of where they live. A call to a fellow retiree (on the course) in Tampa confirmed that.

She said I can go to any In-Network doctor anywhere in the US and it's covered the same. She gave me the number of BCBS for our group so that I could check the SF area doctors are In-Network.

Damn, wasn't retirement supposed to be pools, Corona and chasing women :D
That dakotas thing must be hard to pull off. How do you stand in a court of law and say you live in north dakota with a straight face and have anyone believe you? ;) :LOL: :sarcasm: :kidding:

I had a bout of discussion with a CHP officer who pulled me over. Told me he had seen my MA plates around town a couple of times that month and was I aware of the residency requirements? I had paid my MA tags for another 9 months and wanted to hold off on paying for CA tags, car tax, and the now illegal and retracted "out of state pollution fee" you had to pay for bringing non-CA cars into CA. So I told him I lived in MA (I still owned a house there, my dad was living in it, and almost all of my stuff was still in it), was doing a contract job in CA, and would be spending just a few months and temporarily renting an apartment by the week while there.

He said if I spent more than 10 days living in the temporary apartment, that I was a california resident and had to get a drivers license and register the car. And if he saw my MA plates again, he'd write me a ticket. Suggested I move into a hotel and drive a local rental car if I didnt want to qualify as a resident.

All I had at the time was my clothes, a couch, a tv, a bed, a small table and two chairs, and some pots and pans. Where you're staying and what your intentions are seem to be a lot more important than volume of stuff.

In my old mcmansion neighborhood, we were a couple of hours drive from lake tahoe. It was very popular to buy a second vacation home in tahoe on the Nevada side, register your cars up there and use that as your 'residence' to avoid the high california car taxes. Big crack down...they were pulling over people with nevada plates and looking for nevada plates on cars in driveways for a while.
You never see the CHP pulling 35 year old pickups with Tijuana/no plates. No money in that. :D

On PCH just below the aerospace complexes in Redondo Beach, there would be 6-8 CHP every weekday pulling anyone with a tie. On the weekends, you could speed thru at 120mph without fear.

Money, money, money.
Yep, my wifes old neighbor had that observation. He never gets stopped in his 900 year old pickup truck, just the wifes toyota. The cops never respond when he calls them to deal with the people camping out on the vacant lot in the neighborhood.

Lots of work with no payoff.
Yeah, responding to those type things is like selling a 50 cent bag of dope.

I tried to buy some Illudium Phosdex today at Walgreen's. Evidently they quit selling it. :D :eek:
Without meaning to steal this thread, I noticed the discussion about what constitutes legal residency (and the requirement to pay local taxes) in California, and I wonder if if one who is contemplating moving to California could avoid CA taxes on a major stock sale by doing so before formally moving (even if only by a relatively short time)?

I think the answer is "yes," based in part on the information above, but would appreciate input from those who may really know.
those are questions I have also. But my experience is that CA will try to get a share.

You went from Massachusetts to California? You must love too much government and lots of taxes. :D :D

Not paying much in CA. Prop 13 fixes my property taxes at what I paid for the house plus a little bit. Few hundred a year in car taxes on three cars. A couple of hundred in income taxes for me and the wife combined.

Plus our governor came back from the future to kill Sarah Connor.

Whats not to like? ;)
I was out to interview at Pt. Mugu last Nov. and paid 8% sales tax on the purchase of a small item.

And your governor should take on Sandra O'Connor cause she'd whip him. shows CA has 9.3% State tax on the level of div/int income I will have next year.

I may give SF a miss, can't afford those taxes, maybe down to Texas and wrestle with the tarantulas. I had a Mexican Red Knee once and it could have whipped Janet Reno.
Part of the reason I live in AZ and not CA.  I practiced law in the bay area back in the 80s, since left and resigned the CA bar, which like the rest of the place is made arbitrarily difficult by the state regulators just to let you know how special they are and how honored you should be to have been allowed entry into their "theme-park"!  ::) (once I knew I would never live there again, I cut all my financial obligations with the place and the idea of ever working there and that turned out to be a good idea.  It focused me on finding a lower hassel/ congested/regulated/status centric place to live, which the AZ desert has so far been). 

The legal and regulatory fascism in california has destroyed whatever appeal it may have once had for me to live there. I would suggest that since there are so many peple living there the level of individual autonomy enjoyed in dealing with your elected officials and the general attitude by all levels of government is hey, maybe you take it or leave it, we just don't care and are not accountable to you silly peasants that make up the California demographic. 

If you want rights and respect, move to a place where you are not lost in the crowded masses and your rights diluted by sheer numbers. For me it was like leaving the third world. Perhaps this is one reason that the state has a net out migration of white middle and well educated demographic into AZ NEV and elsewhere, plus you get that nice home equity severence check as an incentive to return to the United States! 8)

I know many live there. I must have missed something, cause the place never really worked for me.
LEX said:
The legal and regulatory fascism in california has destroyed whatever appeal it may have once had for me to live there.

The company I once worked for had small printing plants located all over the US. The one plant located in California produced 6% of the company's product volume but accounted for over 60% of the company's workers compensation insurance expenses. Any wonder the plant was closed and production relocated to another state?
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