“Getting Away” With It: Here’s How

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Evasion is an honorable way of dealing with tyranny.

During Prohibition, people would build hidden compartments in their cars to hide the alcohol which the government decreed they weren’t allowed to possess (let alone drink).

Fatty Arbuckle had several in his Pierce Arrow.

People deal in cash, today – so as to avoid having to hand it over to the government.

Another way to avoid being made to pay is to put Farm Use or Antique Vehicle tags on your vehicle – if you can “get away” with it, to use the moral-inversion term we’ve been conditioned to shame-facedly use whenever we speak of protecting ourselves against the depredations of government. The implication being we are doing something sketchy if not outright dishonorable by attempting to keep what’s ours from those who think it’s theirs.

Farm Use and Antique tags – in states where these are available – are a legal way to “get away” with it. To avoid having to pay annual sums for what is styled “registration” and also for “inspection” – both of which are just words attached to make variations of theft seem to be something else.

What is this “registration” business, anyhow?

Why should you – the owner (supposedly) of the vehicle be obliged to “register” it with the government – and pay the government for this “privilege”?

Consider the prefix of the word, reg. As in king. Do you begin to see? The “king” – it now means the government but it amounts to the same thing – exerts ownership over what you are deluded into believing you own (since you paid for it) by obliging you to register it with him (them) as the condition of being allowed to maintain the fiction that you own the thing. If you do not “register” – and pay – the king/government will make it clear who owns what, if his (its) men catch you driving around unregistered.

It is the same with “inspections.”

Well, by whom? The king/government’s men, again. These may not be officially the king/government’s men – but it’s a distinction without much difference since it amounts to the same thing.

You are obliged to submit what you thought was your vehicle for handling – often roughly – by people you’re forced to deal with and to whom you must hand over money, for their profit at your expense. This is especially galling when you know for a fact that your car’s brakes are in good order, the tires have plenty of tread – that everything pertaining to its “safety,” which is the excuse given for the “inspection” – is kopacetic.

And thus, an “inspection” is unnecessary – as regards “safety.”

Note that there is no refund for having established the “safety” of the vehicle. You pay, period. And if you don’t and get caught, they make you pay more.

The sums are not small, when you ad them up. Which many people do not – and so they seem small.

But let’s add them up and see what they are.

It generally costs about $50 to “register” a vehicle for a year and another $20 to submit it for the manhandling styled “inspection.” That $70 or so each year compounds to hundreds – then thousands – over the years. Viz – over twenty years, they will cost you $1,400 – a sum most of us would not consider small at all. It is more when you factor in the lost opportunity cost of your lost money.

Why not pay them nothing  . . . if you can “get away” with it?

Farm Use and Antique Vehicle tags are one such way. A legal way, too – if your vehicle qualifies as either. Usually, it must be at least 25 years old to meet the criteria for “antique” – and a truck or similar vehicle employed as a “farm” vehicle. Which usually means, something used to deliver/pick up stuff associated with a farm, such as hay or livestock or fence posts – and so on.

Technically – legally – you aren’t allowed to use the Farm Use vehicle for anything else – such as driving to the supermarket or work. Just as technically – legally – you aren’t allowed to use the Antique-tagged vehicle for other than “testing” purposes and to and from classic car shows, etc.

But there’s a lot of wiggle room there, to “get away” with using either for all of the things they say you’re not allowed to use them for. And there are several ways to lessen your chances of getting caught so using them – and to talk your way out of it.

One, be plausible –

Don’t put Farm Use tags on your Miata – or similar. The ideal dodge is a vehicle that looks like a farm use vehicle, or could be. An older truck is perfect. An SUV is good. Also a crossover. Anything that can plausibly carry things like hay or animals – and looks like it may have. A bale of hay in the bed, for instance. Or some straw, at least. Some egg cartons. Animal carriers – etc. This way, if you get hassled by one of the king’s (government’s) men, you can plausibly point to the stuff you’re carrying or which it appears you have carried, recently.

It is hard to prove you’re not headed back to – or going to – the farm.

Similarly, don’t put Antique Vehicle tags on a ’90s Camry – or similar – even if it is 25 years old. It may be legal, but it looks fishy, especially if the Camry is just a ratty old Camry. The ideal thing is an antique truck – which can also wear Farm Use tags.

A double exemption!

But so long as whatever it is  comports with the general idea of “antique.” Something old enough – and nice enough – to pass muster as an antique. It’s a great excuse to drive a ’70s wagon or ’80s weird car around as your everyday.

Which brings us to Two.

Have both. Have several. Do not drive the same everyday.

The easiest way to not get away with driving Farm Use or Antique-tagged vehicles is to drive the same one every day. Especially if you have to drive in areas where there are many of the king’s (government’s) men about. Because it is much more likely you’ll be noticed – and thus, more likely you’ll be caught.

It will also be harder to talk your way out of it.

Solution? Drive the Farm Use-tagged truck one day – and your Antique-tagged car the next. It’s even more ideal if you have more than two vehicles so tagged – so as to make it appear you’re only driving a given vehicle occasionally – as per the law regarding the Antique tags – and to and from your “farm,” as per the law regarding Farm Use tags.

The best part is, the consequences if caught are relatively minor – while the savings you’ll accrue are considerable.

Plus the satisfaction, which is even more so.

. . .

Got a question about cars, bikes, or Sickness Psychosis? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in! Or email me at [email protected] if the @!** “ask Eric” button doesn’t work!

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34 COMMENTS

  1. “Similarly, don’t put Antique Vehicle tags on a ’90s Camry – or similar – even if it is 25 years old. It may be legal, but it looks fishy”

    Why not?
    In the 1990s someone in the apartment complex I was living in had a VW bug he daily drove with antique plates on it. Of course back then a 25 year old car was much more out of place than today. It would be no different than getting antique plates for a 1970 Ford Galaxie or similar plain ordinary car from that time in 1995.

    I am considering extended use or antique plates for my ’97 Mustang next year. I should be able to do it now since I took delivery in late 1996, but it’s probably by model year rather than build date. The car is 25 years old by build date now.

  2. My 3rd car, which I rarely drive, an ’02 Audi A6 Avant is coming up on being eligible for antique plates in a few years. I think MD is 20 years for antique plates but they may have changed that. Problem for me being, the reason that car is my 3rd car and no longer my daily driver, is that it is in a world of hurt.

    The piston rings are bad enough that it has fouled the factory original and now aftermarket catalytic converters. Honestly, it doesn’t smoke *that* bad on startup but it sure stinks like crazy. Also, in St. Mary’s county where I live, we don’t have smog inspections. That’s not a big deal by itself — though my dream is to get the engine rebuilt… one fine day.

    BUT… it has also recently developed a P0706 transmission code and now goes into limp mode. Audi, in their infinite “wisdom” (or boundless *greed* more like) does not service any of its transmissions. I’m gonna take it to a transmission shop and see what they say but I’m betting that I won’t be able to afford the transmission repair and that will be its end.

    I might try to sell it as a project/parts car for some pocket change. It’s really a nice car, especially given that it is indeed “antique” compared to cars these days. Naturally aspirated 3.0 V6. No ability for an internet connection. No cameras on it. Apart from old-school cruise control, no “driver assistance” whatsoever.

    I love the old bucket of bolts. I wish that I could get at least one of its feet back out of the grave but that’s not looking good at the moment.

    • When I lived in MD, they also had “Street Rod” tags. Never fully scoped it out, but reckon kinda like antique tags. I knew it was a workaround when I saw an old beat up truck w/Street Rod tags on it, with a magnetic sign on the door for the Landscaping Co. (i.e. “Jack’s Landscaping” or some such)

      The inner Bernie Sanders in me (and everybody has a little bit of inner Bernie Sanders), gets a little peeved about seeing someone “get one over” on the system, b/c the system *will* be fed. Resulting, more by me, b/c that guy is “getting one over”. YMMV of course

  3. Eric,

    While hanging Q plates on an old Camry may look fugazy to AGWs, you can get away with it if you have an older, classic American car. Good candidates would be either an old Dodge Dart, or its mechanical twin, the Plymouth Valiant. Both were made in huge numbers; both have lots of parts available; both were good, daily drivers; and both are freatured at classic car shows.

  4. The wife and I formed an LLC in Montana . No tax ID as it is only a holding company. We have Montana tags on the vehicles. In Montana, any vehicle over ten years old is permanently registered…and no safety inspections…We have traveled and lived in several states over the years and the holding company has worked wonderfully….

    • Hi Blues,

      I’d like very much to know more about how one goes about doing what you’ve done. It’d be very helpful to me and many here if you’d be willing to share some details…

      • Eric, once one understands and internalizes the fact that government (at what ever level) is simply a gang of thieves and murderers writ large, the rest follows naturally.

        Of course they always want their “Piece of the Action”. That’s part of the scam. When you have established a system that allows the winners of popularity contests to extort… I mean “tax”… endless amounts of money from the productive, whats not to like? Couple that with a government run “educational” system and mass media that glorifies the Gang, and you have a system that will produce trillions of ill gotten gain, generation after generation.

      • Will be happy to, Eric….might be a lengthy post, though. It is not difficult at all. Cost was about 1k through an attorney that specializes in LLC’s. The savings after that as well as the lack of headaches has been well worth it. Might be more easily explained via phone….?

          • “Tax responsibilities”? You mean one has a duty to pay the Gang a “piece of the action”? Odd, I’ve always seen it as extortion, based on thinly veiled threats from their enforcers.

      • It’s very well known now and the clovers are having government stomp on it because it was how people who own cars costing 6 and 7 figures would avoid property taxes on cars in states that have them.

        People living in Chicago would run out of state plates if they could find a way and the city doesn’t take kindly to it once it becomes aware. Cops seeing the same car in the neighborhood for a prolonged period of time means ticketing is coming.

        That said out in the suburbs I’ve had co-workers and a neighbor who ran Canada plates for years without issue.

        Go figure.

        Guess it’s all about if one gets chosen for enforcement.

    • You guys are late to the party. Some states are now hiring private companies, like Municpal Tax Services who go around with plate readers…and like the red light camera scumbags…they get to keep a sizeable portion of what they “recover”.

      C’mon…some of this stuff worked in the past…but now with the interwebz, by the time it becomes popular enough for us to see it…they are well aware of it too, and are shutting it down. Try driving in lower NY with an NC or FL plate…

  5. Eric, from what I’ve seen lately, if one wants to try the farm-use/antique thing, they should opt for regular insurance (Which may be impossible in some if not all states now, if you have such a tag) because even the insurance co.s are starting to ‘crack down’- and checking the mileage on vehicles so tagged and stipulating how many miles a year such vehicles can be driven without voiding the coverage- and if you ever get into an accident- even if it’s not your fault [Injured people sue…and lawyers are expensive!] they LOOK for reasons to invalidate your policy if it looks like they will have to shell out for legal defense or a big pay-out.

    The fuzz in most states are cracking down on this too. Commuting to the grocery store or office in your shiny pick’up, or that 92 Cavalier that they see around town when the next car show is 6 months away and the car rather than getting closer to show quality is deteriorating…..is just going to increase one’s chances of encounters with the armed goons- even if you ultimately ‘get away with it’, is it worth the scrutiny/encounters?

    IMO, this is not the hill to die on. For the vast majority of us (or for anyone, really- other than out-right criminals) driving is the one thing we do which puts us in a position of being interfered with by the armed goons. When we drive, we do so on the so-called “public property’ which is patrolled by the goons who are just looking for even the slightest infraction (real or imagined) to intserfere with us and collect some revenue for their lord. Of all things, when it comes to driving, this is where we want most of all to just blend in and be as invisible as possible, and not give them excuses to cull us from the herd.

    This is where it pays to look like a German and not a Jew, even if you are a Jew and not a German.

    Also, a good lesson from actual criminals- and the ones who tend to avoid spending lots of time in the clink- The piece of wisdom I have noticed that they all tend to universally offer, is: “Only do one illegal thing at a time”. E.e. If you’re going to rob a bank, make sure that no lights are out on your car; that you don’t speed, etc. as you don’t need to give them a reason to notice you or to pull you over, which may likely get you caught.

    In the same vein, I tend to speed (and for some reason, I have an inkling that you may do a mile or two over the limit too 😀 ) so we don’t need to give them any additional encouragement to mess with us- especially in a situation like where we may only be doing 5 or 10 over the limit, and they see us, and may just decide to wait for a better catch if nothing else looks amiss/we don’t fit any profile for a good pay-off…but give ’em an additional reason…just something to question…and they’re pulling you over and at the very least giving you a ticket.

    I was in that scenario just last week. Bear in mind, I’ve never been over in the 20 years I’ve lived here in KY- despite the fact that I often do 90-100 on two-lane highways. So I’m about 4 miles from home last week, coming home from shopping…I was doing about 80 in a 55 and just coming up on a slow-poke in front of me, and hitting my brakes as it looked like the slow-poke may be looking to turn- when all of a sudden the local state pooper pulls onto the road from a grassy area behind some brush, and he was right on my tail. I’m thinking “Oh great..any minute those lights are going to come on” [I don’t do well with pigs]….get a mile down the road to the where I turn onto the road I live on, and no lights…but the guy with the funny hat is still right on my bumper…and proceeding to follow me right odwn my road..a mile…two miles… I kept my speed to about 50- which is about what a normal person would normally do on my road- and just drove strictly by the book and played it cool, making like I didn’t even notice the prick. Half a mile before I get to my place, he turns off!

    Bear in mind, this wasn’t just random…as the ‘guy’ was right on my bumper the whole time…not like he was just going somewhere and happened to be behind me. What likely happened, is that as he was following me, he probably ran my plate..saw that I was totally clean…and figured since he had no real reason to stop me (Not even speeding, as by the time I ran up on the slow-poke, and where he first saw me, he could never have gotten a radar reading. Thank goodness that slow-poke was there- else I have been going at least 25 over the limit) he’d save it for bigger fish. Guarantee you though…had I had a janky antique or farm tag or anything else that looked amiss…he would have stopped me.

    Also, I VA. I imagine you’re getting stopped regardless…but for everyone else in the rest of the states…..

    Hey, who was that mass murderer (Dahmer, maybe?) who got caught with corpses in the bed of his P’up because he was driving with a light out? Uncle uses these roads like a giant net…don’t be a fish that gets caught, just to save a couple of hunnert bucks…

      • Nunzio, I wish there was at least an EDIT function on here! I wish I could correct typos that I don’t catch until after I post something on here.

          • Even when I proofread, it’ll still end up having mistakes! (I used to at least be semi-eloquent when I’d write; now I can’t write or speak! }.

            Someone on Gregslist is giving away a monkey. I gotta see if it can do proofreading! [Reads corrected monkey version: “It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times?! Stupid monkey!”].

            • The same thing happened in school when I’d do assignmens in MS Word. Once I printed out an assignment, then the mistake would SLAP me in the face! I think it’s because, with hard copy, people just take it more seriously. I also wonder if there’s something about the screen that hypnotizes us or otherwise prevents us from seeing mistakes?

              • Once one makes a mistake, they tend to repeat it. I briefly worked on the phone bank for a firearms and reloading equipment company as a tech advisor. If I sold something the customer would occasionally read their CC number wrong. Several times. I would then ask them to read it backward, and the problem went away.

                • We’re asll getting so used to all of this techno-lodgy too, that we tend to use our on brains less. I still tend to do a lot of things with pen and paper….but I keep waiting for the little red line to appear under words that I think I’ve misspelled!

                  Not that you can trust these spell-checker thingies though- it keeps saying that I’m spelling ‘fambly’ wrong! [Collective voice of entire EP Autos community: “Dear goodness! He’s using a spell-checker?! o: ” ].

                  Now, if only they had a grammar, syntax and punctuation checker! When I was a li’l tyke, I had a set of those wooden blocks with the letters of the alphabet painted on ’em…. Must’ve been from the bargain bin or something, ’cause there was no block with a period- so my creations would just sprawl on forever…… Then I got my first set of ellipses…..

    • And this is why I have to keep everything perfect.
      I’ve been selected for enforcement way too much in my life. Things other people get away with, get enforced on me. People think I’m crazy because I do this because they get away with it. It’s like these idiots who claim they are good drivers because they never got a ticket. These people almost entirely drive horribly and commit vehicle code violations left and right but no cop ever selects them. I get cops following me right on my ass, sometimes further back for blocks or miles clearly looking for a reason to pull me over and occasionally they have just made one up.

  6. ‘And thus, an “inspection” is unnecessary – as regards “safety.”’ — eric

    You shoulda seen my face after registering my vehicle in a new state, after fleeing from an eastern regulatory hell.

    ‘Where do I go to get it inspected?’ I inquired of the DMV lady, already bracing for the expected punishment.

    ‘It’s not required,’ she said.

    ‘Not even emissions?”

    ‘Not in this county.’

    I gave her the same look as a condemned prisoner, issued a reprieve just before being marched to the gallows.

    As ol’ MLK used to say, ‘Free at last … thank God almighty, we’re free at last!’

    • Exactly how many accidents are a result of poor maintenance? Hmmm? Not telling? Ain’t that curious when you are bilking millions of dollars out of people for their “safety”. Accidents are almost exclusively cause by inept drivers, yet the “licensing” of drivers deemed “safe to be driving” does nothing to exclude them. Which clearly means the whole fairy tale is purposed to extract funds, period. Well, that and remind you who is boss. Many years ago, licensing a vehicle was promoted as a means of protecting it from theft. Since the state no longer wishes to spend much time and resources looking for stolen cars, they don’t bother with that anymore.

      • You should see the scam they have going on Long Island (for decades now). As if the egregious NY yearly inspections aren’t bad enough…any time a car is involved a serious or fatal accident, it is always “impounded for a safety check” (All vehicles involved- regardless of fault; could be a brand new car too).

        This not only takes the involved cars out of commission for who-knows-how-long, but guess who gets to pay for towing and “storage”?

        In my 59 years, I have never heard of one case where any impounded vehicle was found to be mechanically defiicient and thus the cause of the accident.

        I’ll tell you one thing: I would NEVER live in an inspection state again. Those yearly inspections would always result in the private ‘licensed’ shops who do the inspections ‘finding’ stuff wrong that wasn’t wrong….and what could you do about it? Or, you end up spending money to pass emissions or getting the check-engine light to go out, while that money could have been used for something like better tires down the road or some other much more important need which could affect safety…but instead, you had to spend those hundreds to satisfy some stupid test criteria…like the kids who are tasught to pass tests but who are deprived of actually learning anything in doing so.

        • Hey Nunz!
          Every time I take either of my two cars for the annual saaaaaaaafety inspection the guy always scams me for wiper blades. Really irritating but I figure it’s just part of the cost of living here in Taxachusetts. I just make sure to take my good snow blades off before going and put them back on afterwards. Also unplug the ABS module that I re-connected just long enough to get the sticker.

          • Hi Mike,

            One of the things I’ve always loathed about these “inspections” is having to allow some geek o handle your vehicle. It’s not like bringing it in for service – where you have say. When it comes to “inspections,” they have say. You get to stand there – outside – while the geek applies his air gun to your formerly chromed lug nuts. I’m glad I stopped dealing with this several years ago…

          • Hi Ya, Mike!

            Ha! You’re lucky. When I lived in NY, they’d always manage to find something more substantial than mere wiper blades. A “brake hose” was very common. To this day I still remember the hassle and dread of the yearly inspections…. If nothing else, it would have been worth the move to KY just to get away from that! 20 glorious years of no inspections now…and yet, somehow, I’m still alive! (It helps too that they keep the roads here in KY in good shape…unlike the surface-of-the-moon roads in NY which destroy your vehicle- I’ll bet it’s the same or worse there in Massoftwoshits too!)

            • Hi Nunz!
              You got that right re:potholes, some of them could swallow a VW bug. I think the tire companies are on league with the DPW, pay them off not to fix them. Yearly inspection is a giant pita, couple years back got whacked for a catalytic converter; the reading was right on the edge of passing and the sob wouldn’t fudge it to pass. Now all that stuff is connected to the matrix of the DMV, when I get the renewal papers from the insurance mafia they already know the mileage and if I go past the date when the sticker expires I’ll get a nastygram from the DMV reminding me to get it ASAP. The cops are eagle-eyed too for spotting expired ones, probably a great source of revenue.
              If I ever do escape Taxachusetts not having to get inspections will be top of the list for a new location.

      • “Exactly how many accidents are a result of poor maintenance?”

        Less than 2% were due to equipment failure was the only figure I’ve ever seen and those were almost entirely single vehicle accidents. This also includes defects that were in the car as manufactured.

        There is no difference in the rate of these for states with inspections compared to those without inspections. It accomplishes statistically nothing with regards to the safety others.

    • Yes, Jim, this idea “inspection” is alien to me, save for the emissions inspection, which I never did until I moved to the city. Then, if you own land elsewhere, you simply register your vehicle to that address, and you can shine on emissions as well.

      Had to do that with my S10, but the truth is, soon I’ll move, and all of my vehicles will be emissions (test) free!

    • Every single thing the govt claims is for safety is really rent seeking for someone.

      They have no ability to enforce all these “safety” mandates on everyone all the time. They count on fear to keep us in compliance & the $$ rolling to their friends.

    • When I took up residence in the centennial state, first thing to be removed from my PA tagged car was the inspection sticker. I didn’t even wait to transfer the registration to Colorado. It was due but the plates were still OK for a few more months, so I took care of the expired sticker.

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