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Old 08-07-2006, 08:21 PM   #1
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Washington State Owners.......

I received this e-mail from a "Graduate Student"

Sound kinda fishy to me!

-Fred

NP <@mail.wsu.edu> wrote:
Hi, I'm currently doing some research on vehicles owned by Washington state residents that are registered out of state. For part of this research, I have to determine the value of each vehicle (there are about 24,000!). I've got several hundred motorhomes in my dataset, and I'm trying to figure out a way to estimate the original price of each. Is there a way for one to figure this out? For example, I want to know how much a 1989 Airstream sold for brand new in 1989 (I don't know the specific model, but I just want to make a gross estimate). Is there some comprehensive database that might provide this information?

Let me clearly state that I would be skeptical of receiving an email like this from someone I've never met before. In no way will anything you tell me be linked back to you personally, or your company. I'm just a poor graduate student trying to do a summer job, and I thought I'd give emailing you a shot since your website came up during a Google search.

Thanks very much for your time!

Sincerely,
NP
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Old 08-07-2006, 08:22 PM   #2
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Here was my response
Quote:
Vehicles registered out of state are all worth one cent! I think they were about $1 new. That would put the tax loss to Washington State at $240.

-Fred
-Fred
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Old 08-07-2006, 08:39 PM   #3
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That's just weird. I wonder what is up with that?

All WA state titles have a value on them, so the state has it's own DB it uses to look up original values in. If the person was doing it for any official reason, I assume they would have access to that info.

When I bought my last classic mustang, the lady at the local licensing office dug into her file and then pulled out a photocopy of a condition/value article from Mustang Monthly magazine, and that's what she used to determine the current value of the vehicle based on the condition I reported, then had me sign a paper stating what it's condition was to make it's value so low (like it needed a paint job and didn't run). But the final title still has the original sales price on it, so they looked that up somewhere.
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Old 08-07-2006, 08:43 PM   #4
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Steph,

These are WA residents that registered their RV out-of-state. I'm not familiar with WA taxes but it is probably to avoid state personal property taxes. My tag for my motorhome in Florida was.....$35.

My current state (West Virginia) has personal property taxes an vehicles. Lets just say we have lots of out-of-state plates running around here!
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Old 08-07-2006, 09:01 PM   #5
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That "Graduate student" is probably working as a summer intern for an overzealous state representative, that is, "sure there is more tax revenue out there."

"Why, if all those millionare airstreamers paid the taxes they should, we could fix the budget in a month."

yeah sure. Just add another $1.00 per gallon to the gas tax.
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Old 08-07-2006, 09:38 PM   #6
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I think I would be going back and asking for who this is being done? What school? Who can I speak to there to verify they are who they say they are? Put a ton of questions back to them and see what you get.
Barry
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Old 08-08-2006, 07:08 PM   #7
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Here is the response I received after a back-and-forth.....

Quote:
The project is a tax investigation that's funded by WA state. I have no personal moral attachment to the state's tax laws, but they are employing me this summer, so I choose to help them figure out how much $ they may have lost. It's illegal for a WA state resident to buy a vehicle outside the state and not pay taxes on it.
Just as I suspected. Washington State is looking for more funds!
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Old 08-08-2006, 08:34 PM   #8
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The state is still smarting because a few years ago they were getting away with murder on the car tabs, charging us a percentage of the car's original cost, which depreciated VERY SLOWLY over the years. We had cars that weren't worth $5k, but paid $2-300 a year for the annual registration. Of course this encouraged people to keep their old cars, no matter how decrepit and smoke spewing they were, because who can afford the tabs for even a moderately priced car?

Then we passed a very popular law restricting the tabs to $30, and of course the government has found a way to add other fees on top of that. Now there's another proposal to set the tabs back to $30, which is what the people overwhelmingly stated they wanted. It's like you can't make it clear enough to these guys.

Still, I think they'd be better served to hunt down all the washington drivers with cars registered in Oregon, I see several on my way to work every day.
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