Join Date: Jul 2002
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taxes,state boat registration
Your best source of information is a tax collector''s office in each state you''re considering (temporarily) placing the boat. What better source of info on which to base your planning, I know not.
Almost all States now require annual registration of documented vessels, as this process is how they enforce tax liability. Each tax collector can explain the details in their State. In Florida, you have 90 days (verify this with your broker) to remove the boat from the State before incurring tax liability. So some folks use a legal residence in Delaware when purchasing the boat, seeking to avoid state tax liability. Put another way, they pay several hundred dollars in fees for a Delaware corporation in order to avoid several thousand dollars in tax liability. Yes, this is still done - often, according to one broker of high-end boats with whom I recently spoke.
Ask the tax collectors in other (not FL) states if you are required to register your vessel after purchasing it with Delaware residence. Ask them what the fine is if you fail to do so (e.g. thinking you may leave that non-FL state shortly after the purchase). You may find you don''t feel the need to address state registration of your documented vessel until you return from your cruise...provided you are comfortable staying outside the legal requirements.
USCG documentation stands outside the state process.
OTOH you can choose to remain in Florida after the purchase, not pay tax, and take your chances. The consequences of that are probably much higher and, if staying in Florida is your preference, I''d talk to the broker about completing the transaction in e.g. St. Mary''s City, Georgia - right across from Fernandina Beach, FL.
It''s a little complicated and I''m not covering some of the nuances. Your broker''s office should be up to speed on this and, above all, talk to the tax officials in the states of interest to you.