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Residence, Domicile, and Mailing Address

NOTE: This is not legal advice.

This article is focused on United States definitions and usage; other countries may differ. You can help by editing this wiki!


For those who live in conventional homes and apartments, these three are usually all the same, though some people have their mail delivered to a PO Box or elsewhere.

For nomads, things are more complex. Society is set up for conventional living situations, so a little extra work is required for those who wish to live on the road.

Making the Residence/Domicile/Mailing decision

Approaching these choices methodically will keep mistakes and distress to a minimum. If your sticks-and-bricks address was acceptable from a domicile/residence point of view it is probably best to keep them. You already have official ID, etc. Mail forwarding can be anywhere.

  1. Pick your domicile state first. Common criteria: income tax, health insurance, auto registration costs, auto insurance costs, auto inspection requirements, sales tax, absentee voting.
  2. Then pick your legal residence. Commmon criteria: local sales tax1), emissions testing in particular metro areas.
  3. Then pick a mail forwarder. Common criteria: same state as domicile, pricing, reputation, etc.

See also: suggested timeline for hitting the road


Your residence (aka physical address) is the place you would call home if you lived there full time. It is important that all your contacts know that you do not receive mail at this address, unless the person who lives there is your de facto mail forwarder; you receive mail at your mailing address instead.

For those who live in conventional homes and apartments, the state where their home is located is automatically their domicile. Nomads may not be at home or have a home but must still have a legal residence.

Working with Financial Institutions

The Patriot Act requires all financial institutions (banks, investment companies, etc.) to collect identifying information on their customers. This is known as Know Your Customer, or KYC. Many of these institutions have interpreted KYC to disallow mail forwarders and mailbox services as legal residences.

There is a houseless way to help the institution satisfy KYC. The guidance is given in FINRA regulations:

for an individual, a residential or business street address, or for an individual who does not have a residential or business street address, an Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office box number, or the residential or business street address of a next of kin or another contact individual… – FINRA2)


Your domicile is the state where the legal residence is3). Your domicile will be:

  • where your drivers and concealed carry licenses are issued
  • where you can be registered to vote
  • where your vehicles are titled
  • where you pay state income tax, if applicable
  • used to calculate base sales tax for online or mail order transactions, if applicable
Domicile is a combination of two factors namely, residence and intent to remain… An individual may have several residences whereas; s/he will have only one domicile. Domicile is more used in reference to personal rights, duties and obligations[ii].4)

Income Tax by State

State income taxes range from 0% to 7% or more. If you have high earnings, this variation could make a significant difference in your tax expenses.

Wikipedia: Income tax by state

  • Alaska - None
  • Arizona - 4.54% max5)
  • Florida - None
  • Montana - 6.90% max. MT taxes social security payments
  • Nevada - None
  • New Hampshire - None. Interest and dividends: 5.00%
  • New Mexico - 4.90% max
  • South Dakota - None
  • Tennessee - None. Interest and dividends: 6.00%
  • Texas - None
  • Washington - None. Estate tax.6)
  • Wyoming - None

Sales Tax by State

State sales taxes vary from 0% to 8% or more. If you spend a lot, or purchase a vehicle in these states, this variation could make a significant difference in your tax expenses. Sales Tax by State

  • Alaska - None
  • Arizona - 5.60%
  • Florida - 6.00%. Florida charges 6% sales tax on vehicle registrations and has inter-state tax reciprocity.7)
  • Montana - None
  • Nevada - 6.85%. Nevada does not collect sales taxes on private party vehicle sales.8)
  • New Hampshire - None
  • New Mexico - 5.13%
  • South Dakota - 4.00%. The state excise tax paid on new registrations for vehicles is 4%.9) Local sales tax does not apply to sales of motor vehicles.10) Some SD counties charge a nominal “wheel tax” when registering vehicles.11) 2012 figures showed a range from $0/wheel to $4/wheel.12)
  • Tennessee - 7.00%
  • Texas - 6.25%. Texas charges 6.25% state sales tax on vehicle registrations.13) Private sale taxes will be based on the Standard Presumptive Value.
  • Washington - 6.50%
  • Wyoming - 4.00%

Vehicle Inspections by State

Wikipedia: Vehicle inspection in the U.S.

  • Alaska - None
  • Arizona - None. Some emission testing.
  • Florida - None
  • Montana - None
  • Nevada - None. Vehicles registered in urban areas in Clark county (Las Vegas) and Washoe county (Reno) require emission testing.14)
  • New Hampshire - Annual
  • New Mexico - None. Some emission testing.
  • South Dakota - None
  • Tennessee - None. Some emission testing.
  • Texas - Annual15). Some counties in Texas require emission testing during annual inspection:16) Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Program Area: Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, and Montgomery counties. Dallas-Fort Worth Program Area: Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, and Tarrant counties. Austin Area: Travis and Williamson counties. El Paso Area: El Paso County.
  • Washington - None. Some emission testing.
  • Wyoming - None

Handgun Carry by State

Wikipedia: Concealed carry in the U.S. CC permit reciprocity

  • Alaska - Unrestricted. Shall issue.
  • Arizona - Unrestricted. Shall issue.
  • Florida - Shall issue.
  • Montana - Shall issue.
  • Nevada - Shall issue.
  • New Hampshire - Shall issue.
  • New Mexico - Shall issue.
  • South Dakota - Shall issue regular and “enhanced” permits. Some reciprocity limitations.17)
  • Tennessee - Shall issue.
  • Texas - Shall issue.
  • Washington - Shall issue.
  • Wyoming - Unrestricted. Shall issue.

Residency Requirements by State

  • South Dakota - 1 night required.

Domiciling Resources

Mailing Address

Your mailing address is the place your mail should be sent. This is usually a mail forwarding service for most nomads, but may also be the home of a trusted relative or friend who preferably does not expect to move for a long time.

A mail forwarding service provides a mailing address (usually in your domicile state) and collects your mail. You let the forwarder know where you are (or will be) and they bundle your mail and send it to you. Some services will scan mail for viewing on the web, watch for critical pieces of mail to come in, etc.

If you intend to use your mail forwarding service address as your domicile address take note of the county where the forwarded is located. There are reports that many mail forwarding service addresses have been blacklisted and may not suffice as a residence or physical address.

There are also ad hoc ways to receive packages.


The United States Postal Service runs a forwarding service called Premium Forwarding Service (PFS).18) It is limited in usefulness, as it is very expensive and can be active for only a year.

The USPS may provide P.O. Boxes to homeless persons under certain circumstances, or they can use General Delivery to send things to some Post Offices.

Nationwide Mail Services

Mail centers associated with iPostal1 or similar offer digital mailboxes. Mail can be scanned, emailed, viewed online, physically forwarded, etc. {Secessus uses a local mail center that has the iPostal1 backend and it works well enough. About $99/yr plus the cost of any extra scans, forwards, etc}

Florida Mail Services

Nevada Mail Services

Oregon Mail Services

South Dakota Mail Services

Texas Mail Services

will apply to mail order purchases
lifestyle/residencedomicileforwarding.txt · Last modified: 2023/06/20 00:05 by mahkato