This will reiterate the info kindly provided at the beginning of this thread.
I went to the tax office in Lake Wales (Polk County) a week ago with paperwork in-hand. The clerk was friendly and seemed to indicate that everything should go smoothly. She gave me a temporary tag so I could drive to a scale and get a weight certificate and told me to come back with it.
Returned today with my certificate and everything started going south. A different clerk, two supervisors, and someone in Tallahassee were all convinced that I needed to drive the bus to Tampa for an inspection in its completed state
, which mine is nowhere near, and present receipts for all of the "parts" I used to assemble the vehicle. They claimed it was the only way to change the title. The problem was that they were reading from the wrong procedure document:
TL-43 APPLICATION FOR A CERTIFICATE OF TITLE FOR A MOTOR VEHICLE, MOBILE
HOME, MOTORCYCLE OR A TRAILER ASSEMBLED FROM PARTS
When I challenged this notion, stating that I certainly did not assemble anything from parts, they dug in. They claimed that adding the electrical or plumbing counted as adding parts, and that removing the seats constituted modifying the body. Ugh.
I had read this thread many months earlier and I suggested that the problem was that they were trying to apply the wrong procedure, that I was quite sure I had read a different procedure that applied.
The supervisor set aside my docs and allowed me to look up the procedures online on my phone.Ten minutes later I had located TL-13 and asked them to print it. I then read to them out loud, like some sort of evangelist, the following:
II. DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED AND SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS:
F. Conversion Affidavit:
In the case of an individual converting their own vehicle and requesting to have the
identity changed on the title in order to have it registered and licensed as a recreational
vehicle, the customer must submit an affidavit to the tax collector. The affidavit must
certify that the unit has been converted to the extent to include one of the aforementioned
items to qualify it as a recreational vehicle
This is to certify that I, ______________, owner of a (Year) __________,
(Make)_______, (VIN) ___________________, hereby request the vehicle be classified
as recreational vehicle for the following reason:
( ) Installed 110 volt electrical wiring
( ) Installed LP gas piping
( ) Installed plumbing system
This makes it clear that only one item of the three needs to be installed, and also eliminates the notion that the conversion must be completed or inspected.
After another thirty minutes or so on the phone with Tallahassee, they were unable to find a way to tell me 'no'.
1) This is a rare enough procedure that it seems most of the clerks/management are not familiar with it and will cling to the most restrictive procedure they know.
2) In addition to the required paperwork, print the TL-13 and bring it with you for reference. It will cut down on the confusion and delay--and the stress!
Both ladies I dealt with were pleasant and open-minded once I calmly insisted that there was another procedure that I was missing. Every time I've gone to a tax office in Florida I get the same friendly and helpful attitudes. They just didn't know what to do this time.
Additional note: If you own an old Florida tag, you can save over $200 by using it on your RV. I did not know this, but overheard something about it on my first visit. I took an old plate from a van that I sold back in 2008 off my garage wall and, sure enough, they gave me a credit for it. Who knew?
Here is the link (again) for the TL-13 procedure document pdf: http://www3.flhsmv.gov/dmv/Proc/TL/TL-13.PDF