Court rules RV dealer must pay taxes in sham transactions

INDIANA — A northern Indiana recreational vehicle dealer who tried to avoid paying Indiana sales tax on out-of-state transactions by moving the RVs into Michigan before handing over the keys to customers must repay those taxes after a divided Indiana Supreme Court entered summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Department of Revenue, reported The Indiana Lawyer.

Justice Mark Massa, writing a majority opinion joined by Chief Justice Loretta Rush and Justice Christopher Goff, reversed an August ruling from the Indiana Tax Court on Wednesday in Richardson’s RV, Inc. v. Indiana Department of State Revenue, 18S-TA-22. The case centers around Middlebury-based Richardson’s RV, which sells recreational vehicles both onsite and online.

Customers who lived in Indiana or in one of the 40 states with reciprocal tax exemption agreements with the Hoosier state would take possession of their RVs directly at the dealership. But the remaining out-of-state customers were given the option of either paying Indiana’s sales tax rate or their home state’s rate.

“For the non-reciprocal-state customers choosing to pay their home state’s rate, the delivery method Richardson’s employed was unorthodox,” Massa wrote. Specifically, Richardson’s would drive the RV across the state line into Michigan, a non-reciprocal state, before giving customers their keys, thereby avoiding Indiana sales tax.

Read the full article in The Indiana Lawyer.


Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt has been a writer/editor for more than 25 years, working in law enforcement, aviation, supply chain and the RV industry. She's not a stranger to RVs, however. She grew up camping, and still camps as many weekends as she can every year. She is the owner of In Good Company Communications and can be reached at

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