Updated: Oct 26
When Gary Koppelman got his first side-by-side utility terrain vehicle, he had no idea of the nightmare ahead to have it legally registered.
A resident of Pennsylvania and founder of Street Legal SXS, Gary was given a 4-seater Polaris SXS in exchange for some work for a friend a couple years ago. Immediately, he began working on the machine and preparing it for some gorgeous mountain drives.
However, those drives were sporadic because of the effort it took to enjoy his new hobby.
“I made it a point that any free time I had, I hit the trails, which only ended up being once every other week. I had to travel with the trailer 2 hours to the mountains, ride for 5 to 6 hours, and then come back another 2 hours,” Gary said. “Imagine, this machine has a base price of $30,000, and you put thousands in accessories in, and the next thing you know, you can only ride it twice a month. I thought, there’s got to be more to this.”
Since his enthusiasm began to grow, Gary has upgraded to a Can AM Maverick x3 and learned how to legally register his vehicles without moving to a new state.
Registering Street Legal SXSs
Gary said he knew the vehicles could be driven legally in Arizona, but he didn’t want to leave Pennsylvania just to have a legal vehicle. Then, he heard South Dakota was an option for legally registering side-by-sides. So he and his friend pulled the trigger on the $100+ registration fee.
About six months later, Gary’s friend was pulled over and told that while his registration was legal, he was also required to transfer the registration to his home state within 30 days.
Since that hadn’t happened, he was breaking the law.
How to Register UTVs in Montana
Next, Gary went looking into Montana, where side-by-sides with proper modifications are street legal. Without being a Montana resident, Gary could legally establish a personal asset holding limited liability company (LLC), sell the machine to the LLC, and procure Montana tags and registration permanently without having to transfer it to his home state. The same process works for registering recreational vehicles in Montana.
The one additional step, Gary said, was to insure the machine in the state where it is housed, which his insurance companies confirmed was indeed doable and legal.
However, his first attempt with an agency backfired. His first registration came back listing his category and body type as a “motorcycle”, which was inaccurate. When Gary explained the mistake, he was told he was responsible for fixing the error himself.
Eventually, Gary found LLCTLC. He was finally on the way to legal registration and tags for his SXS quadricycle.
“That’s why we endorse the whole LLCTLC process — it’s hands-free so we don’t need to be there. It’s done in three weeks, and you’re legal,” Gary said. “It’s also a tax-free state for vehicles if you’re buying and registering- that helps to pay for your Montana registration.”
How LLCTLC Can Help
Regardless of where you live, you can open an LLC in Montana. Having your own LLC allows you to make purchases like side-by-sides, RVs, boats, and other vehicles. As Montana LLC owner, you can purchase your vehicles without sales tax. You can also save on permanent registration fees compared to other states because Montana doesn’t charge property tax or use taxes for registration of side-by-sides.
For example, if you lived in Virginia and your sales tax rate is 8%, purchasing your $4,000 SXS through the state of Montana will save you $320.
LLCTLC works as your registered agent throughout the process, navigating every step of the way for one flat fee. We’ll handle the LLC setup, the paperwork filing, and the registration.
Since your LLC is a “resident” of Montana, you can enjoy the benefits of Montana vehicle registration without having to leave your home!
A Group for SxS Enthusiasts
During his registration journey, Gary has been building a Facebook group of enthusiasts with 9,000 members and growing daily. The group has multiple posts an hour: some with photos or videos of people excited to show off their new machine, and some to ask questions and get help legally riding.
The group, Gary said, is also filled with law enforcement officers. They’re not looking to arrest you though, they’re looking to help. While some keep their profession under wraps, many comments throughout the group are officers openly offering advice, asking questions, and explaining how laws work to newbie enthusiasts.
Members are moving beyond the computer screen, and will be hosting the first Street Legal SXSs Road Rally for Charity to benefit the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House. After Gary was diagnosed with cancer in June, he began working on a charity ride to help honor many of the group members with children in local hospitals as well.
The group will ride from the Eakins Oval in downtown Philly across the bridge to New Jersey and along the coast on October 17. During the ride, the group will stop for breaks and engage in some friendly competitions with “fines” for charity, such as “last machine in the parking lot pays $20.”
Gary also said he is working on putting together a 2021 Can AM Maverick X3 X RS Turbo RR Smart-Shox from East Coast Cycle Center for “the ultimate SXS build project.” The machine will be completely outfitted for street riding, with a full enclosure kit, street tires, windshield, wipers, heating and (hopefully) air conditioning— the works.
The 2021 Street legal SXS Awareness Tour will then travel the country. They’ll be stopping in popular riding area parking lots to answer questions, show off the machine, and hopefully educate the public on the world of street legal UTVs and side-by-sides.