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experience with dirtlegal.com? SD plates + loophole for out-of-state registration;


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Hi everyone-  I'm still one-sided-struggling with SC DMV.  I can't penetrate the system, but I've "only" been trying for ~ 6 weeks.  While working that on the side, I found dirtlegal.com and called them, plus googled around a little.  Has anyone used that service?  Alternately does anyone know a good way to exchange $cash for reasonably certain plates so I can get on the road?

 

$699 (ish) and 2-4 weeks gets a South Dakota plate; SD doesn't have a residency requirement.

$199 and 1-2 *days* gets a 90-day temp tag

$299 up front, 119/yr after gets an LLC registered in SD which can own the car and work around a state's curiosity about an out-of-state plate living at your house.  SC claims to care after 45 days, it's unclear if that's "enforced."  Finding out may cost a misdemeanor and $75.

 

.... and I believe / assume that after I have SD plates I could "move" the car to SC for year 2, mod any impact fees or duplicate taxation.

 

The Internet(tm) seems to think dirtlegal.com is legit, if a little weird.  Anyone have direct experience?

 

(for completeness I have talked to the DMV, the local tax office, my own insurance company, and Hagerty's; they're all approximately equally useful, and I got a 3 different answers and a couple "I can't help you"s).

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I've vaguely looked into this loophole and I know a couple of people that utilize it. I don't know how they do it, whether through that service or not. I've used a similar service to get my trailer registered in NH. 

 

As far as I'm concerned the crux of these loopholes that exist is the insurance if it ever comes to that. 

 

My understanding is all 3 have to be in the same state for everybody to be happy. Your residency, your registration and your insurance.

 

For many reasons not all 3 always match, in particular with how often people move and the time it takes to change things so there is leeway legally where time pockets get created and the three are out of sync, but insurance understands these situations.

 

However if your state insurance finds out that you've had a car registered across the country for years for no good reason (other than trying to go through loopholes) they can deny your claim if it ever comes to it. So far this is not a risk I'm willing to take on with this loophole.

 

I might be wrong on a few things and local experts can correct me on some matters. I'm legally registered in my state but I'm currently battling with inspections (I simply can't pass OBD2 inspection) and having to get new plates every few years because I can't renew old ones without inspection. 

Edited by Vovchandr
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Take a look at Vermont. RV folk often have mail forwarding addresses. The primary issue is the State where you operate over 50% of the time. Check your State code. Ownership by an LLC in another State with you as a member is another option.

There is also the technical sale of the vehicle to someone in a State whereby it may not be registered as a new model, then resold back to the builder and transferred.

It pays to fix up older models in heavy handed jurisdictions. A grey market import would actually be easier since it has to be at least 25 years old.

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I'll add that while registration in a State should be fairly straight forward with intelligent, caring people across the desk, but emission checks are entirely separate issue narrowed to specific counties and not State wide.

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SC is super slack, generally.  Trailers don't need license plates at all, no emissions testing or requirements, etc.  I even sign a form saying I'm responsible for the vehicle being road-worthy.  But that bit about "intelligent, caring people across the desk" kinda lost me ... haha.  Something about that desk seems to change people.

 

Great point about insurance co shenanigans.  I'll check on that.  Right now my plan of attack is #1 find $1k under a rock somewhere, and #2 do the thing, then with out-of-state plate+title+reg in hand, proceed to "import" the vehicle to SC before my year is up.  I'm still gonna poke around to see if there's a sub-$1k option.  

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RVs also like FL for the same reason as VT.  UPS Store address looks like a condo address.  They have mail forwarding.  No physical annual vehicle inspections required.  Works the same for the license.  Insurance must follow the state - so a FL insurance policy if a FL titled/registered vehicle but you need to list the alternate out of state addresses on the policy for where the vehicle can be found when it is away from the primary FL address. This produces a higher premium than if it were a true FL only vehicle because the out of state location has an impact on the risk rating.  

 

Fortunately I don't have an RV.  

 

I will also note that it is not unknown for a DMV to check out car forums....thinking of TX and CA with a couple of types of replicas.  Please consider what you say publicly here.    

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Regarding the desk, I chuckled a bit myself but they exist! They have to. Still, it's tough to execute a position dispassionately. Perfect place right here for a joke that I am not going to make.

 

Agreed Croc. Always follow the rules where they exist (check that State code) but don't give them any ideas for new ones. I'm fully satisfied when the actual rules are followed. No creative rule interpretation desired or required. Stepping away from this rabbit hole.

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16 hours ago, Austin David said:

Hi everyone-  I'm still one-sided-struggling with SC DMV.  I can't penetrate the system, but I've "only" been trying for ~ 6 weeks.  While working that on the side, I found dirtlegal.com and called them, plus googled around a little.  Has anyone used that service?  Alternately does anyone know a good way to exchange $cash for reasonably certain plates so I can get on the road?

 

$699 (ish) and 2-4 weeks gets a South Dakota plate; SD doesn't have a residency requirement.

$199 and 1-2 *days* gets a 90-day temp tag

$299 up front, 119/yr after gets an LLC registered in SD which can own the car and work around a state's curiosity about an out-of-state plate living at your house.  SC claims to care after 45 days, it's unclear if that's "enforced."  Finding out may cost a misdemeanor and $75.

 

.... and I believe / assume that after I have SD plates I could "move" the car to SC for year 2, mod any impact fees or duplicate taxation.

 

The Internet(tm) seems to think dirtlegal.com is legit, if a little weird.  Anyone have direct experience?

 

(for completeness I have talked to the DMV, the local tax office, my own insurance company, and Hagerty's; they're all approximately equally useful, and I got a 3 different answers and a couple "I can't help you"s).

To Title

  • Form-400
  • MCO from DF
  • 15$ (check state website, this may have recently gone up) for new title
  • Receipts for the kit (Some form of receipt, IE DF's invoice(s) and receipts from donor purchase are all I provided)
  • Picture of the Serial# stamped in the frame & of the kit itself (May not be necessary?)
  • Mailed via USPS Express Mail to SC main office
  • SC DMV-Attn New Title Division-10311 Wilson Blvd C, Blythewood, SC 29016
    • This is required as the kit has an MCO and you need a title to register it.
    • Do not go to the DMV office before you receive an SC title.

To Register:

  • Paid property tax receipt
  • Title
  • Roughly $40 for registration/tag
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Posted (edited)

To be abundantly clear, what I'm looking for here is some experience with the "normal" process (which appears to be a kafkian maze of bureaucrats who don't understand, or creatively interpret, the rules) -or- trying to find a professionally-managed, legit service who can help.  

 

The last thing I want or need is a registration that will cause more grief.  But holy heck is it ever frustrating.  My wife joked that she thought the hard part would be *building* the car....

 

Also FYI: 401-A is apparently needed because the vehicle doesn't exist in the state and needs a serial number.  I'm unclear on how that interacts with the VIN.  I moved 2 from Cali and it was NOTHING like this process.  4038 is needed also, possibly *before* 401-A, to confirm that the vehicle does, in fact, exist.  In CA this can be a cop signing the paperwork in your driveway, hopefully I won't have to trailer the vehicle across town just to have someone look at it. But 400 doesn't indicate the need for 401-A., and 401-A doesn't indicate the need for 4038.

 

 

... I do appreciate everyone's experience and perspective.  Thank you!

Edited by Austin David
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44 minutes ago, Austin David said:

To be abundantly clear, what I'm looking for here is some experience with the "normal" process (which appears to be a kafkian maze of bureaucrats who don't understand, or creatively interpret, the rules) -or- trying to find a professionally-managed, legit service who can help.  

 

The last thing I want or need is a registration that will cause more grief.  But holy heck is it ever frustrating.  My wife joked that she thought the hard part would be *building* the car....

 

Also FYI: 401-A is apparently needed because the vehicle doesn't exist in the state and needs a serial number.  I'm unclear on how that interacts with the VIN.  I moved 2 from Cali and it was NOTHING like this process.  4038 is needed also, possibly *before* 401-A, to confirm that the vehicle does, in fact, exist.  In CA this can be a cop signing the paperwork in your driveway, hopefully I won't have to trailer the vehicle across town just to have someone look at it. But 400 doesn't indicate the need for 401-A., and 401-A doesn't indicate the need for 4038.

 

 

... I do appreciate everyone's experience and perspective.  Thank you!

If you have a MCO/MSO, the VIN is on there from the manufacturer.

Is your car already titled in another state?

Do you have the MSO/MCO and a simple bill of sale from the dealership you purchased the car from?

If so, SC makes it much simpler than just about any other state. You just need to follow the process as it is laid out.

 

Now, with that said, as I stated in a PM to you, perhaps your paperwork was lost in the mail, or perhaps you did not fill out the paperwork properly.

 

Reviewing the state website and forms, the only one needed at this time is 400 and your MCO/MSO. The state will recognize the Caterham VIN format, as it is already in their system with other cars such as my last two. Heck, even the factory Birkin format is is accepted at face value, as that too is already in their database.

 

Again, not trying to be hard on you, just try and figure out where the disconnect is in your case.

 

Bill

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1 hour ago, Austin David said:

I have a VIN and MCO, but this is a brand-new CKD kit, never titled.  It's "only" been 6 weeks, I thought you said it took 3 months?

 

 

So it's been 6 weeks and not 12 weeks so far, what else do you expect?

 

Did you follow the procedure as listed above?

 

Did you fill out the paperwork correctly?

 

Did they send it back to you?

 

You have to give us all of the details, or we cannot assist you properly.

 

Bill

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  • 3 weeks later...

SCDMV has field agents, I talked to one today.  By coincidence the paperwork sent to Columbia also came back today.  The agent and the letter both said the same thing: I need form 400 (straight title app) and the MCO.  The "chassis number" is VIN format and Agent + DMV-by-mail both say that's to be the VIN.  Planning to drive all that down to the office tomorrow and try the expedited process, again.  The agent left me with his card and two forms 4038 + TI-021B, verifying the chassis number on MCO matches what's etched on the car.

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12 hours ago, Austin David said:

SCDMV has field agents, I talked to one today.  By coincidence the paperwork sent to Columbia also came back today.  The agent and the letter both said the same thing: I need form 400 (straight title app) and the MCO.  The "chassis number" is VIN format and Agent + DMV-by-mail both say that's to be the VIN.  Planning to drive all that down to the office tomorrow and try the expedited process, again.  The agent left me with his card and two forms 4038 + TI-021B, verifying the chassis number on MCO matches what's etched on the car.

 

Perfect, it should all go quite smoothly from here.

 

Bill

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