News & True RV Stories

California out of state 90 day rule

Published December 07, 2007

Category: News


Purchase of vehicle out of state of California for intended use out of the state of California  


To avoid paying California use tax you must claim for exemption and receive a Certificate of Vehicles, Motorhomes and Commercial Coaches Use Tax Clearance.  This allows you to register the vehicle with the DMV without payment of use tax.

If you are claiming the vehicle was not purchased for use in California, you may qualify for the exemption from use tax if the vehicle is used for 90 days or more (exclusive of storage) following the first entry into California or 90 days or more  prior to its first entry into the state.  You may qualify for the exemption if it is used outside of California more than one-half of the time during the six months period following its first entry into California.  At the end of the six months test period, documentation must be provided to the Consumer Use Tax Section in Sacramento, CA upon request by the State Board of Equalization..

The types of documents that should be submitted to verify your claim are listed below.  Send photocopies and not originals.  Suggest you keep a log book to document the location of the vehicle.

From past experience (2003), at the end of the six months test period, BOE will send you notification that your claim is being audited and requests your documentation to be sent to the state by a designated date.  The audit takes about 30 to 60 days.  You will then be informed if you met the requirements for exemption from use tax.  They gave us a number to call to check on status of the audit.  We passed the audit.

Lessons learned from recent experience in acquiring the exemption certificate and DMV registration in state of California: