Will forwarding our mail twice in three months raise any red flags?
September 3, 2013 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Will forwarding our mail twice in three months raise any red flags with anyone? How about three times in seven months? I also need some general help on mail management and state residency since we plan to be mobile next year (we live in an RV).

Currently, we work in $City and we've been living in a campground about an hour away from $City. We had our mail forwarded from our old apartment in $City to a PO Box near the campground. We changed our bank and credit card addresses to the PO Box.

We're moving back to $City from the campground in early October. The PO Box will be impractical at best; we almost never have a reason to drive in that direction, and 90 miles roundtrip to get the mail is egregious.

So, our options are to get another PO Box or to change our address to a family member who lives in $City. My concern is twofold: will forwarding our mail again raise red flags? And, since we're planning to leave the area next February-ish, we will need to forward it yet again.

What should we do longer-term? The popular thing to do amongst RVers is to obtain residency in a state with no income tax and minimal vehicle regulations (South Dakota, Texas, Florida). You sign up for a mailing service with a street address and use that street address to get a driver's license and vehicle registration. The service forwards your mail to wherever you're currently staying. Has anyone here done this? Will this screw up our tax situation in our current state (we'll definitely be working here for the rest of 2013 and some part of 2014)?
posted by desjardins to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Will this screw up our tax situation in our current state (we'll definitely be working here for the rest of 2013 and some part of 2014)?

Very likely, yes. States have very particular rules about where you "live," and a forwarding mailing address can have strange effects on that. Talk to an accountant.
posted by Etrigan at 12:05 PM on September 3, 2013

I don't know anything about RVs, but Mrs. Dr. Wu and I just moved twice in the space of five weeks, submitting two changes-of-address in the process. No ill has yet befallen us.
posted by Dr. Wu at 12:31 PM on September 3, 2013

Mail forwarding, no prob, I've also forwarded twice in ~2 months. Consider making a list of places you need to change your address, as well (banks, insurance companies, etc.).

Re: taxes, check out partial year resident tax forms for your state(s) to figure out what will happen. I don't know how complex your tax needs are, but I've moved states several times and always been able to figure it out without an accountant.
posted by momus_window at 12:47 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

My sister-in-law and her husband did this and definitely there were pieces of mail they were expecting that just never showed up.
posted by town of cats at 1:46 PM on September 3, 2013

Best answer: I used the forwarding service through Escapees twice. Once for 6 years and again for 2. I maintained my residency in my own state at the time, which was Florida. Never had a lick of trouble with the service or with any other issue that you have mentioned.

I also put in change of address requests every year or so for old addresses of mine since the order doesn't continue indefinitely. It has helped some old friends and unexpected checks find their way to me! Again, no redflags have been raised by doing this.
posted by cat_link at 6:42 PM on September 3, 2013

I am of the opinion that trying to avoid raising flags is more suspicious than just doing things as they become necessary to the life you choose to live.

Simple example: I borrowed some money to restructure some debts. I got the giant check in the mail, and deposited it in my bank. I then wrote checks to pay off the other debts. The check I deposited was over the $10,000 reporting limit. A friend thought this was dangerous to do, that I should have gotten two checks that were under the $10k line. I feel like that would look suspicious, since there would be no reason to get two checks except to avoid the reporting limit. I had nothing to hide, so I had nothing to gain from making it look like I did.

So make a plan that fits your needs and play it out. If you aren't looking to defraud anyone or skip out on paying your fair share, there should be no problem.
posted by gjc at 2:37 AM on September 4, 2013

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