Originally Posted by Fstbttms
Something doesn't smell right here...
No need to be mean.
You kind of have things wrong, too. From what I've ascertained over the last week is that ALL products sold, regardless of their value
are subject to a tax to the state. A "use" tax. The "state of California Board of Equalization exists to collect this tax, wherever they can
. Coming from Oregon where there is NO SALES TAX, it's becoming clear to me why people complain.
If you buy a boat in CA, you have a choice of registering it with the US Coast Guard or the State of California. This is why you see some vessels with ID numbers printed at the bow, and some with just the name and home port across the stern.
If you register with the coast guard, like I did, then you never receive a tax bill from the state. Register through the state (DMV) and guess what... they collect the bill for you, right there at registration time. That said...you are due a tax to the city where the vessel is berthed ALSO which is what I think you all are referring to. It usually is between $100-200.
Hearing other's talk about their purchase and paying a tax to the state, I got curious. I decided to inquire if I had an outstanding bill.
The inquiry resulted in a NIGHTMARE, much like what I would assume would be the worst collection agency on earth. As it turns out the State of California Board of Equalization has no way of tracking sales registered to the coast guard. However when I contacted them and made them aware of the sale, they sent my case to their in-house "collections department" which i clearly stated I would be happy to pay to resolve the mistake...my mistake.
This turned in to back and forth, outrageous gouging fees and penalties in the THOUSANDS which I now must contest. It's like the vultures came out and they're just tacking any amount on with the hope I will just pay it.
I determined what it should legally be, paid the bill in full, and now have received yet another penalty. It's amazing the stress that has come of this, endless emails and phone calls, review of all the original sales documents, contacting the seller and going through his documents, just a royal pain.
The fact is had I not reported it the state would never known the sale took place. They do not track coast guard documentations. Had I gone offshore or up to Oregon and brought the vessel back it would still be subject to the local yearly tax, which is completely understandable, but not the sales tax.
My point is I will never recommend someone purchase a vessel in California. Without a doubt it has some of the most beautiful weather, people, and sailing but the outright money grab was enough to convince me to buy elsewhere.