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Old 11-03-2016, 09:18 PM   #1
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How to register a new trailer in Texas

Hi All,

We pickup our new 2017 5.0 TA at ETI in April (yea!), so I'm in the process of planning all the details to make that happen. After we pickup the trailer we plan to travel for 4.5 months before returning home (Austin, TX). I wanted to get a permanent Texas registration and license plates for our new trailer before driving to Chilliwack if possible.

I've read the frustrations other Texas ETI owners on this form had with registering their new trailers. I couldn't find a consensus for the right way to do this, so I sent email to the Travis County Tax Office (TaxOffice@traviscountytx.gov). I explained my situation and asked how to do the registration. Here is their reply:

The items needed to title and register the vehicle are the MCO/MSO or title, application for Texas title (130-U form) and the vehicle identification number certification (VTR-270). The forms are attached for your convenience.
Tax, title and registration will be due at the time of transfer.
I hope this information has been helpful. Contact our office if you have further questions.

Thank you
Carl Chambliss - Tax Specialist III
Phone: (512) 854-9473 x32828 I Fax: (512) 854-3928 I Email: Carl.Chambliss@traviscountytx.gov
Travis County Tax Office
Communications & Training Department
You can download the two above mentioned forms here: https://tax-office.traviscountytx.go...e-registration

The VTR-270 form says "Attach a pencil tracing or photograph of the vehicle identification number to this form when possible.", so I guess that isn't strictly required, but I bet ETI can provide that if they don't already do so.

It seems to me this process is much simpler than getting the vehicle inspection that is required if your trailer is in Texas. Since all of the new ETI trailers start outside of Texas, I would think this will work even if you are having it delivered to Texas.

Perhaps this will help other new Texas Escape owners. I'll do it myself around the end of March. I'd love to hear about your experience with this process.

Happy RVing!
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:13 PM   #2
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Thanks for the information. It will be useful when we leave to pick up our trailer.
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:18 PM   #3
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Thomas, this is another in a long line of cases where the Tax Office didn't really know what they were talking about. Bad information.

First, you do not need a VTR-270, or a pencil tracing or photo of the VIN. That's a form that allows you to self certify the VIN when you're exempt from inspection or the vehicle won't be operated on Texas roads. That is not the case here.

Your trailer is imported. Therefore, you need the VIN inspected by a member of the Texas Auto Theft Task Force, who will fill out and sign a VTR68-A. The completed VTR68-A is the form you take (along with the ones you received from Escape like the MCOO) to the tax office to get your tags.

Don't worry about printing out or obtaining a VTR68-A before you go to have the trailer inspected. The Auto Theft Task Force has the forms. In Travis County, your Auto Theft Task Force inspection point is located at Travis County Sheriff's Office / East Command (Collier Building). The physical address is: 7811 Burleson-Manor Rd. / Manor, Tx. 78653. Their phone number is (512) 854-9735.

Be advised, they only inspect on the first and third Wednesday of each month, from 8 am to 11:30 am. You'll want to call and get an appointment for the date you plan to show up with the trailer. Many of the VIN inspections, including the ones here in Bexar County, are booked solid for the next month or two. Plan accordingly.

http://www.txdmv.gov/motorists/buyin...reign-vehicles
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:16 PM   #4
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I am glad you came on about this because I was about to say that they missed some big things and I was going to ask for someone from Texas. I take it that you did not have tags when going up to Chilliwack.

Suffice it to say that different jurisdictions --- and even the tax office --- will tell you all kinds of things.


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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
Thomas, this is another in a long line of cases where the Tax Office didn't really know what they were talking about. Bad information.

First, you do not need a VTR-270, or a pencil tracing or photo of the VIN. That's a form that allows you to self certify the VIN when you're exempt from inspection or the vehicle won't be operated on Texas roads. That is not the case here.

Your trailer is imported. Therefore, you need the VIN inspected by a member of the Texas Auto Theft Task Force, who will fill out and sign a VTR68-A. The completed VTR68-A is the form you take (along with the ones you received from Escape like the MCOO) to the tax office to get your tags.

Don't worry about printing out or obtaining a VTR68-A before you go to have the trailer inspected. The Auto Theft Task Force has the forms. In Travis County, your Auto Theft Task Force inspection point is located at Travis County Sheriff's Office / East Command (Collier Building). The physical address is: 7811 Burleson-Manor Rd. / Manor, Tx. 78653. Their phone number is (512) 854-9735.

Be advised, they only inspect on the first and third Wednesday of each month, from 8 am to 11:30 am. You'll want to call and get an appointment for the date you plan to show up with the trailer. Many of the VIN inspections, including the ones here in Bexar County, are booked solid for the next month or two. Plan accordingly.

TxDMV.GOV - Out of State and Imported Vehicles
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:25 PM   #5
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I am glad you came on about this because I was about to say that they missed some big things and I was going to ask for someone from Texas. I take it that you did not have tags when going up to Chilliwack.
We had temporary paper tags, which we printed out at home. In Texas, you can get a 30 day temp tag for $25, and you can select the date the tag goes into effect. So, we made the tag start date the same day we picked up. You can also purchase an additional 30 day temp tag if you're not going to be back in Texas for awhile.

In all honesty, I don't think the temp tags were necessary, but if it provided a little peace of mind not worrying about getting pulled over by a zealous cop, I guess it was worth it.

https://rts.texasonline.state.tx.us/TempPermit/#nbb
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:31 PM   #6
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Also people should be advised that if they have to renew registration in later years when staying out of the state, apparently they can do that from afar, but have only three days from the time they re-enter the state to get an inspection. (Not all states have inspections but Texas does.)
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:35 PM   #7
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For those going right back into Canada for travel there after taking possession on the U.S. side, they would want temporary tags.
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:35 PM   #8
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Also people should be advised that if they have to renew registration in later years when staying out of the state, apparently they can do that from afar, but have three days from the time they re-enter the state to get an inspection. (Not all states have inspections but Texas does.)
The safety inspection requirement is only for trailers with a Gross weight exceeding 4500 lbs, and that's determined by the MCOO. With our 19, it's not required. This was yet again another case where the Tax Office didn't know their own requirements. Had to actually pull up and read the requirements to them when they said I needed a safety inspection and I knew I did not.
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:38 PM   #9
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The safety inspection requirement is only for trailers with a Gross weight exceeding 4500 lbs, and that's determined by the MCOO. With our 19, it's not required. This was yet again another case where the Tax Office didn't know their own requirements. Had to actually pull up and read the requirements to them when they said I needed a safety inspection and I knew I did not.
We thought that they were using GVWR. Not so? There was a previous discussion on this forum about that but I don't think it really had a conclusion. Then not needed for 19's or 21's with loaded weight under 4500 lbs.?

Actually I should not be asking about loaded weight, I guess, but rather weight with options coming out of the factory in that case then. (I am used to reading on Escapees where practically everyone is well well above whatever the requirement. Wondering to what Escapes it applies now, if any.)
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:43 PM   #10
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We thought that they were using GVWR. Not so? There was a previous discussion on this forum about that. Then not needed for 19's or 21's with loaded weight under 4500 lbs.?
They used our dry weight or curb weight from the MCOO - - not the weight rating. So, cargo was irrelevant. The definition of gross weight is ambiguous here it seems, and there's only a strict definition when it comes to the larger trucks.
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Old 11-04-2016, 12:51 AM   #11
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They used our dry weight or curb weight from the MCOO - - not the weight rating. So, cargo was irrelevant. The definition of gross weight is ambiguous here it seems, and there's only a strict definition when it comes to the larger trucks.
I suppose it's handy to take advantage of ignorance, but using the dry and empty weight is ridiculous. By that logic, you could license a flat deck cargo trailer with a GVWR of 14,000 pounds without an inspection (because it weighs under two tons empty) and tow it loaded to the whole seven tons.
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Old 11-04-2016, 01:18 AM   #12
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I suppose it's handy to take advantage of ignorance, but using the dry and empty weight is ridiculous. By that logic, you could license a flat deck cargo trailer with a GVWR of 14,000 pounds without an inspection (because it weighs under two tons empty) and tow it loaded to the whole seven tons.
I am guessing that they have probably covered that in the way they categorize trailers. They would know that someone's Escape is a travel trailer, for instance, and you are referring to another kind of trailer.
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Old 11-04-2016, 01:38 AM   #13
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I am guessing that they have probably covered that in the way they categorize trailers. They would know that someone's Escape is a travel trailer, for instance, and you are referring to another kind of trailer.
Vehicles have a GVWR on the placard, whether they are cars, trucks, cargo trailers, or travel trailers. It is nonsensical to follow one rule for cargo trailers and another for travel trailers... and the empty weight isn't even known for many travel trailers - you would need to calculate it from the GVWR and Cargo Carrying Capacity for an Escape, since the empty weight isn't listed anywhere on the trailer (or most other travel trailers). But as I said, if dealing with an ignorant clerk saves you some inspection hassle, be happy. Just don't count on missing all of the rational people in the motor vehicle registration office.
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Old 11-04-2016, 12:36 PM   #14
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We had temporary paper tags, which we printed out at home. In Texas, you can get a 30 day temp tag for $25, and you can select the date the tag goes into effect. So, we made the tag start date the same day we picked up. You can also purchase an additional 30 day temp tag if you're not going to be back in Texas for awhile.

In all honesty, I don't think the temp tags were necessary, but if it provided a little peace of mind not worrying about getting pulled over by a zealous cop, I guess it was worth it.

https://rts.texasonline.state.tx.us/TempPermit/#nbb
the 1st time I inquired about the process at the local tax office the person told me I had to pay the sales tax and then get a Title BEFORE I could get the 30 day travel pass! The 2nd time I called the person I talked to said the 1st person didn't know what they were talking about! Ironically neither of the clerks mentioned the stolen vehicle check you mentioned which if necessary is good to know.
They all agreed in saying the trailer needed to be physically inspected based on the new numbers for the 2017 Escape were known to be >4500 lbs (GVWR 5000 lbs max) and the physical trailer inspection can be done at several lube places. Inspection + Title + Sales Tax had to be done prior to applying for the permanent plates and Registration.
Hoping by calling a third time I might get another clerk and hopefully two out of three will agree.
Perhaps the ACTUAL PROCESS (not just documents) will be better documented and posted online someday by the DMV and Tax Office as the actual Process currently seems to be somewhat confusing.
Hopefully some of the more recent 2016 Escape buyers in Texas will post their experience as the process may have changed even this year.
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Old 11-04-2016, 01:21 PM   #15
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Vehicles have a GVWR on the placard, whether they are cars, trucks, cargo trailers, or travel trailers. It is nonsensical to follow one rule for cargo trailers and another for travel trailers... and the empty weight isn't even known for many travel trailers - you would need to calculate it from the GVWR and Cargo Carrying Capacity for an Escape, since the empty weight isn't listed anywhere on the trailer (or most other travel trailers). But as I said, if dealing with an ignorant clerk saves you some inspection hassle, be happy. Just don't count on missing all of the rational people in the motor vehicle registration office.
The number that they seem to be asking for is on Escape paperwork which is your weight with options for your particular trailer. That number to them is perhaps preferable due to the fact that it is on paperwork. Perhaps they just want empty weight as that should be accessible. Your loaded weight can be anything anyone gives them and people just about never seem to know that. That, also, of course would be ridiculous to use because it can change greatly.

This is how they approached paying taxes also. They, at least in many states, have the amount owed in Canadian dollars on Escape paperwork. They don't care how much you tell them you actually paid because verifying it is too much trouble.

They are perhaps doing the easiest thing for everyone to verify. It would not seem right to use the GVWR to many because they may not ever have that much, and it may also not seem right to use loaded weight when that can vary significantly with the same trailer.
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Old 11-04-2016, 01:31 PM   #16
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If it helps, despite what several misinformed tax office employees will tell you, here are the things you actually need to register a new Escape trailer in Texas:

A Form VTR-68-A, completed by a member of the Texas Auto Theft Task Force.
Manufacturer Certificate of Origin.
Bill of Sale.
A completed Form 130-U.
If the trailer's gross weight as reflected on the MCO is more than 4500 lbs, proof of a completed safety inspection.

That's it. You'll pay the sales tax, registration fee, title fee, and walk out with your plate.
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Old 11-04-2016, 02:12 PM   #17
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If it helps, despite what several misinformed tax office employees will tell you, here are the things you actually need to register a new Escape trailer in Texas:

A Form VTR-68-A, completed by a member of the Texas Auto Theft Task Force.
Manufacturer Certificate of Origin.
Bill of Sale.
A completed Form 130-U.
If the trailer's gross weight as reflected on the MCO is more than 4500 lbs, proof of a completed safety inspection.

That's it. You'll pay the sales tax, registration fee, title fee, and walk out with your plate.
thanks for the list and to be clear...you can get the 30 day temporary tags online to be printed out for the trip back to Texas BEFORE doing any of the other things you listed which can all be done AFTER you get back to Texas?
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Old 11-04-2016, 04:16 PM   #18
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The number that they seem to be asking for is on Escape paperwork which is your weight with options for your particular trailer. That number to them is perhaps preferable due to the fact that it is on paperwork. Perhaps they just want empty weight as that should be accessible. Your loaded weight can be anything anyone gives them and people just about never seem to know that. That, also, of course would be ridiculous to use because it can change greatly.
...
They are perhaps doing the easiest thing for everyone to verify. It would not seem right to use the GVWR to many because they may not ever have that much, and it may also not seem right to use loaded weight when that can vary significantly with the same trailer.
This actually provided good reasons why they should be using GVWR.

The GVWR is a rating (not an actual weight) and is the only authoritative value available. It is stamped right into the placard on the vehicle, so it is the only number which can be verified in a licensing inspection. (Actual weight can be checked at roadside inpections, to check against GVWR). In contrast, empty weight may not be available, and may not apply to the vehicle as it is registered.

The trailer may never be loaded up to the GVWR, but it could be, and it must be safe in that condition; you know that despite the loading choices of owners, the weight will always be no more than GVWR (unless they overload the trailer, which is another problem). Empty weight, in contrast, will never be the weight of the trailer in use, for any owner.

When you buy tires for a vehicle, do you choose a size and type which can just barely handle the empty weight of the vehicle, knowing that they will be overloaded every time the vehicle is driven? No, you choose tires which can handle the maximum allowed load (GAWR, and thus GVWR), because they need to be adequate in any condition that the vehicle may be loaded. Vehicle inspections exist to help ensure that the vehicle will be safe when operated at any weight up to the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.

Any clerk who is lazy or ignorant enough to use Canadian dollars instead of U.S. dollars for the tax calculation might fall for anything. Just point at the GVWR in kilograms - it will be way under "4500" (5,000 lb = 2,268 kg), so you won't need an inspection.
Imagine how much tax you would pay if you imported a trailer from Japan, with a price of two million Yen!
(two million Japanese Yen is about US$19,000)
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Old 11-04-2016, 05:04 PM   #19
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This actually provided good reasons why they should be using GVWR.

The GVWR is a rating (not an actual weight) and is the only authoritative value available. It is stamped right into the placard on the vehicle, so it is the only number which can be verified in a licensing inspection. (Actual weight can be checked at roadside inpections, to check against GVWR). In contrast, empty weight may not be available, and may not apply to the vehicle as it is registered.

The trailer may never be loaded up to the GVWR, but it could be, and it must be safe in that condition; you know that despite the loading choices of owners, the weight will always be no more than GVWR (unless they overload the trailer, which is another problem). Empty weight, in contrast, will never be the weight of the trailer in use, for any owner.

When you buy tires for a vehicle, do you choose a size and type which can just barely handle the empty weight of the vehicle, knowing that they will be overloaded every time the vehicle is driven? No, you choose tires which can handle the maximum allowed load (GAWR, and thus GVWR), because they need to be adequate in any condition that the vehicle may be loaded. Vehicle inspections exist to help ensure that the vehicle will be safe when operated at any weight up to the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.

Any clerk who is lazy or ignorant enough to use Canadian dollars instead of U.S. dollars for the tax calculation might fall for anything. Just point at the GVWR in kilograms - it will be way under "4500" (5,000 lb = 2,268 kg), so you won't need an inspection.
Imagine how much tax you would pay if you imported a trailer from Japan, with a price of two million Yen!
(two million Japanese Yen is about US$19,000)
All good points also but I decided to spend some time looking into this and I will give an explanation on inspections shortly.

As for using Canadian dollars instead of U.S., I was not saying that at all. The clerks are using the Canadian dollar total given on Escape paperwork to convert to U.S. dollars. Not too many Americans buying Escapes would not know that they should be paying on the American equivalent! Hopefully, anyway.

Actually, I will amend this. I believe that the U.S. dollar amount was on our paperwork but it has not been on everyone's. We did not pay exactly that amount, however, since a final payment was made on pick-up according to the exchange rate then (obtained tags earlier) and as with many people, there were a number of payments which all would have had different exchange rates. So it becomes ridiculous for any clerk to get it all straight. They, therefore, simply use Escape's total given.
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Old 11-04-2016, 05:12 PM   #20
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thanks for the list and to be clear...you can get the 30 day temporary tags online to be printed out for the trip back to Texas BEFORE doing any of the other things you listed which can all be done AFTER you get back to Texas?
Robert's list reflects my experience with the Travis County Tax Office in November, 2015. As I indicated in another thread (where I detailed my experience with getting our trailer registered), the GVWR on our 21 is 4600 lbs. Thus, the safety inspection was required (and was required again this year when we renewed our registration).

About the temporary tags: yes, you purchase them online, as Robert described. I think you can also add time to the tag, if you need more than 30 days.

The application for Title/registration in Texas is supposed to take place within 30 days of your arrival in Texas.

It seems to me, one could get the temporary tag and travel for 4.5 months prior to getting the registration done. HOWEVER, if the Tax Office will collect those documents and give you your plates before you pick up the trailer (through their error or our misunderstanding of the process), I say go for it!
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