Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: New Orleans Louisiana
Thanked 115 Times in 109 Posts
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Re: State Registration of Documented Vessels
I have been dealing with this a lot lately as more and more states are starting to require registration even if you are documented. At this point I highly doubt a court would toss the laws since they have been in force for so long, but if anyone want to pay to challenge them I would be happy to take the case.
What lead us to this is that many boaters would never pay sales taxes on their boats, by buying them in one state, but claiming they were removing it to another. Then documenting the vessel. Since no one informed the nominal 'home' state that a boat had even been sold no one knew they were owed sales tax. To close this loop hole states started requiring registration in addition to documentation, and the USCG doesn't really care, so long as the states only apply it to recreational vessels.
The reality is that the cost to challenge the law is much higher than the nominal fee it costs to register, so there is no point in challenging it. Unless of course you haven't paid sales tax, in which case taking something to court is a really bad idea. You might win on the registration issue, and end up in jail for tax evasion.