Tips and Tricks

Registering Your Vehicle

Once you are filling out the agreement to become a member of Americas Mailbox, in order to save you time and avoid unnecessary delays, please email or fax us your completed checklist, to have us calculate how much it will cost to register your vehicles in South Dakota at the same time as you send in your application. Fill in ALL the information on our "Vehicle Checklist" form, included in your application kit, before you ask us to calculate the costs. Of course there are never any inspections or proof of insurance required. Your vehicles never need to be in South Dakota.

Remember, when you have us handle your vehicle registrations long distance, you can have our in-house insurance agent give you a quote on the low, low South Dakota vehicle insurance rates!

The fee for our full registration service is currently only $30-$50 for most first time registration of vehicles in SD, and for the work and services that this requires, it is a bargain. You can utilize the expertise of our entire TEAM of vehicle registration experts, who will fill out all the needed paperwork on your behalf.

PLEASE NOTE: We do NOT utilize the DMV when handling your vehicle registrations. In South Dakota the DMV only handles driver's licenses. If you or your dealer refer to, or mail to, the DMV, your registrations may be delayed for weeks or months while that paperwork is in the wrong hands.

License and registration fees are calculated based on the age and weight of your specific vehicles, and then prorated for the first year based upon the first letter of your last name. Please supply us with this information on our checklist as described above and we will tell you the cost. If you only want your costs figured before you handle your own registration, the fee is $15.00 plus tax.

If you own outright OR have just purchased the vehicle, you must supply the original title or the original manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (keep copies for your records).

If you do NOT have the title in your possession, we must obtain the original title from your lienholder. Fill out the required contact information for them on our vehicle checklist, and sign our Power of Attorney in front of a notary in the same way your name(s) appear on the vehicle title.

In South Dakota, for trailers, fifth wheels and motorhomes, we will need either:

  • A document indicating the unladen or shipping weight of THAT vehicle and its VIN (or what that make/model weighs);
  • - OR - you will need to go to a CERTIFIED weigh scale (Flying J, Loves, larger truck stops, etc.) and have your vehicle weighed separately (drop the trailer on the scale or drop the tow car from the motorhome). Make sure your tanks are empty if you can. (If there are no truck stops near you, simply call the local sheriff's dept., state police or highway patrol and ask them where they take trucks to be weighed);
  • - OR - simply take a digital picture of your sticker inside your RV that shows both the VIN number AND the empty, unladen, shipping or curb weight, print it out and send that along.

Set up your account with us BEFORE you register your vehicle - and this is important - especially before you buy your new vehicle as well. If you do not, you will probably pay big money unnecessarily. A few of the states have requirements as to how long you must be a resident of another state before you can avoid paying sales tax on a purchase; check with your current state and dealer to make sure you meet their requirements.

The excise tax (which you pay on vehicles in South Dakota) is only 4% (as of 4-1-15). If you have NEVER paid sales tax, they will apply that 4% to the purchase price, if new, or to the NADA value, if more than 6 months old. If you have a bill of sale showing your purchase price and/or any sales tax paid, you can use that to fill in the information on the Tax Verification Affadavit (link below).

When you a buy a vehicle, whether new or used, on which you will be paying the 4% to South Dakota, you MUST have us complete your paperwork and licensing within 45 days of the sale date, or you will be paying a late fee in addition to the one-time 4% tax. It does not matter how long your temporary tags from another state may be good for; South Dakota starts assessing penalties on the 46th day.

South Dakota assesses the one-time 4% tax (if you have not paid at least that much to another state) on all vehicles, EXCEPT a purchase of a vehicle over 11 years old for an amount less than $2200.

For you folks who are from the East Coast, what South Dakota calls an Excise Tax is NOT what you are used to. Think of this as you would a sales tax. This is NOT a tax that you have to pay every year, over and over...this is a one-time charge. In fact, if you've already paid 4% or more state sales tax on your vehicles, you would not have to pay it again.

If you've paid less than 4%, you'll have to pay the difference. If you have held clear title for at least one year, issued from a state collecting at least 4% sales tax, you simply sign an affadavit verifying that the tax has already been paid.

We register your vehicles for you long-distance through our Power of Attorney that you have notarized wherever you're at. It is important to have the notary WITNESS your signature, and please make sure that there is NOTHING crossed out or erased, by either you OR the notary, or the document will be void. We can finish filling in the details for you, or call if you have any questions about what to check.

For the folks who are considering having their vehicles registered in Montana, please keep this information in mind. Doing it may or may not be right for you.

You do NOT have to have a South Dakota driver's license to register your vehicles in Pennington County. However, you cannot obtain any specialty or vanity license plates until you have a South Dakota driver's license. When you get the driver's license, you can then obtain personalized, disabled, commercial radio, veteran, and other types of special plates.

Please note:  When you are planning to sell your vehicle that is already registered in South Dakota, please read through New SD Cars Info before proceeding.

If you have not downloaded the Full Application Kit, the basic vehicle checklist portion is shown below, as well as some other forms you may need to fill out in order to have us complete the paperwork and obtain the plates for your vehicles. Please download the correct specialized forms for boat and boat trailer registration, leased vehicles, or vehicles in a trust.

  • Vehicle Registration Checklist - Download these pages to learn what information Americas Mailbox needs from you to fill out all the paperwork to register your vehicles for you. The Power of Attorney is included in this link. PLEASE NOTE YOU MUST PROVE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A SOUTH DAKOTA DRIVER'S LICENSE.
  • Trust only Vehicle Checklists - Download these if your vehicles are in a trust.
  • Leased Vehicle Checklist - Download this if your vehicles are leased.
  • Boat and Boat Trailer Checklist - Download this for boat and boat trailer registration.
  • Power of Attorney - This only gives us authorization to apply for your title and registrations on your behalf - nothing else. You only need to fill this out if you want us to register your vehicle. PLEASE NOTE: The Power of Attorney MUST be notarized! It must be free of any erasures or cross-outs. If it is not correct, we must return it to you to get it done, causing unnecessary delays and cost.

Other forms you may need to fill out to allow us to complete your vehicle registration:

  • Verification of Tax Paid to Another State - Ask our vehicle registration department if this form will be necessary for you. You simply need to fill it in and sign it.
  • Nomad Affidavit - Ask our vehicle registration department if this form will be necessary for you. You need to sign it in front of a notary. ONLY the state name can be crossed out and changed if applicable.
  • General Affidavit - If we tell you that you need to make a statement of fact regarding your registration, use this form and have your signatures notarized. ONLY the state name can be crossed out and changed if applicable.

When we RENEW your vehicle registration for you, this form may be needed if the state did not issue a "courtesy" card for your renewals:

Vehicle Renewal General Authorization - Please fill in, sign, and mail us the original as required by the Treasurer's office.