Laws on Using Campers As Homes in Maine

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The laws in Maine about permanently living in a camper differ, depending on how you choose to live. If you plan to move your camper to different sites throughout the year, you must pay a different tax than if you plan to establish a permanent location for your camper. Either way, the state law requires you to register your camper each year.

Taxation

  • After buying a camper trailer, owners must pay an excise tax in their city's local office, according to Maine statute 36, section 1482. The excise tax is an annual tax collected by the state for the use of the camper trailer on the roadways. The amount of the tax is a calculation involving the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price and the year of the model.

    If the owner establishes a permanent location for the camper, he is required to pay the state of Maine a real estate property tax instead of the excise tax, according to Maine statute 36, section 551. The state of Maine credits the owner for the excise tax he originally paid. However, if the owner moves around to different sites, then she must pay the excise tax annually.

Title and Registration

  • Owners usually can register their campers in the same office where they pay their excise taxes. If the office doesn't handle registration, then the owners must register their campers at a BMV location.

    If the owner bought the camper from a dealer, then he should bring the green dealer's certificate to show the paid sales tax. He should also bring the blue title application if the trailer weighs more than 3,000 pounds.

    If the owner bought the camper privately, she should bring a signed bill of sale and the title signed over to her. The owner must also pay the 5 percent sales tax at the office.

    The state requires the owner to pay a registration fee and to renew the registration every year.

Campsites, RV Parks

  • If the owner plans to move the camper around, then he or she can visit the campsites in Maine. Most campsites have areas for campers to hook up to electricity, water and sewage. Owners can't keep their campers in a campsite for more than 14 days in a 30-day period, according to Maine statute 12, section 9342.

    If the owner has property, she can connect electricity, water and sewer service on the property for the camper. There are a number of mobile home and RV parks throughout Maine where an owner can rent or buy a lot.

Overnight Parking

  • In 2009, Rep. Anne Perry, D-Calais, sponsored a bill to outlaw free overnight parking in commercial areas. The bill, LD 114, would have banned all recreational vehicles. Many people park in commercial areas, such as Wal-Mart parking lots, because they don't need utility hookups and don't want to pay campground costs. Representative Perry later changed her mind after receiving several e-mails from worried constituents. At the request of Perry, the House ultimately voted against the bill, according to "The Portland Press Herald".

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