Reward for lost Kraken!
Join Date: Apr 2006
Thanked 141 Times in 138 Posts
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"What about buying that same boat then getting it USA Federal (USCG) documented but leaving it outside US waters or at least CA?"
That would be crossing the line from tax avoudance (which is legal) to tax evasion, which is a crime.
A USCG documented vessel must have a US home port and, if your state tax authorities are simply feeble-minded clerks, they will collect the list of documented vessels every year to make sure that sales/use/property or other applicable taxes are paid on them.
Not to mention, being US documented puts you under the protection of the US flag. You can contact the Vessel Documentation Center to find out what that buys you.
By the way, no matter what the flag is? If you bring a foreign-flagged vessel into the US, you will be bringing it in under a cruising permit, with limits on it. And if you have US paperwork on it? Keeping it in most states for some period over 30 days, will bring the local taxmen around looking to check out where the owner lives, and whether the vessel has to be registered in that state--regardless. 60 days you might get away with--but a seasonal marina rental? Probably will come with a tax bill.
Easier to pay up, and don't mess with Caeser. Tax men physically *arrest* boats, and then you've got to figure out how to buy it back.