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  #11  
Old 02-16-2009
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NH does not have a sales/use tax, so you will not need to pay a NH tax.

Mass does nave a sales/use tax and will want to get 5% from you, if they can claim it.

As a non-resident you can legitimately avoid the Mass tax, but apparently only if you take "possession" outside of Mass. If the boat is in a yard, you would need to have it transported out of state before/ at the time of the purchase. Your dealer should be well aware of how to play this game...Mass residents with Florida homes do it at the Mass car dealers...they buy a car...then drive off in the new car with a form from the dealer, where the dealer certifies the dealer delivered the car all the way to Florida.
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Last edited by sailingfool; 02-16-2009 at 10:38 PM.
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  #12  
Old 02-16-2009
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Have the owner move the boat to NH and buy it there.
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  #13  
Old 12-21-2011
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I have a sailboat that I purchased in Florida and sailed up to RI last year where I moored her. She is documented.

If I move the boat next summer to MA, will the state ask me to pay sales tax? I need not register her in MA (exempt as a documented vessel), so what if anything would trigger a requirement to pay sales tax?

Appreciate any insights...


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  #14  
Old 12-21-2011
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Originally Posted by billbalme View Post
I have a sailboat that I purchased in Florida and sailed up to RI last year where I moored her. She is documented.

If I move the boat next summer to MA, will the state ask me to pay sales tax? I need not register her in MA (exempt as a documented vessel), so what if anything would trigger a requirement to pay sales tax?

Appreciate any insights...


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Bill,

This is a good one, best of luck. I've been there myself.

I believe if you bring the boat into MA for 60 or more days, if and when MA finds that out, MA will say the use tax is due. If you can prove, conclusively by reference to contemporary documents and records, that the boat was not in the state for 60 days, you may be able to have the tax claim released. If you can't make that proof, you will need to pay the tax.

If you bring the boat into Massachusetts (MA) for 60 days, you would owe the use tax.

Should you not submit the use tax on/about the day you bring the boat to MA, when MA finds out the boat is/was in MA. MA will demand the use tax plus penalties and interest going back to the day that you purchased the boat. For anytime since your purchase date that you can conclusively prove the boat was not in MA, MA may forgo the penalty and interest for that period.

Now a key question - were you a resident of MA when you purchased the boat in Florida?

If you were, then I believe when you pay the MA use tax on bringing the boat into MA, MA will assess penalties and interest back to the date of purchase. I am not sure whether you can get out of the penalties and interest even if you can prove the boat was not in MA until the time you submitted payment, you would have to see a good tax accountant on this. Note most accountants dont know squat about boat matters...

So in net, if you are a MA resident, the question is not whether to pay the use tax, the question is the penalties and interest. MA assumes you are guilty and owe everything, only subject to your proving otherwise...
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Last edited by sailingfool; 12-21-2011 at 04:11 PM.
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  #15  
Old 12-21-2011
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bill, you really have two choices. Contact the Taxachussetts tax department and motor vehicle department, and get their written opinions and laws. That should be on a web site that you can dig up in 30 seconds or less.

Second choice, ask folks on the web or elsewhere, don't get the actual written laws and professional opinions, and you could wind up like one forum member did.

After 20 years he brought his "bought it out of state, never thought we'd be bringing it back" boat back into NYS waters. Shortly after got a bill for compounded taxes AND PENALTIES for the 20 years that had gone by since he SHOULD originally have paid use tax on the purchase of the vessel. Last heard of, asking forgivance with a tax lawyer in tax court, where "I didn't know" doesn't buy any.

Taxes can get VERY NASTY especially since the tax court can SEIZE THE BOAT and then very undemocratically, tell you that it is your problem to prove they are wrong. You rwally need to deal with the authorities directly, and your state citizenship and residence will be critical factors.
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Interesting. Thanks for the responses.

I am a resident of MA.

When I purchased my previous boat (also documented) I sailed her out of Rhode Island (was not even aware of the tax implications). However, we moved her to MA and sailed her out of Mattapoisett for three seasons. Nobody ever came after me for tax - and I wasn't aware I was dodging it. I even paid the local harbor tax...

Is there perhaps a time-frame that one owns a boat for after which if it's transferred to another state, tax is not liable?

It's not a big deal - we can certainly continue to moor in RI another year - we're headed off on a circumnavigation in 2013, so this shouldn't be an issue then!


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"Is there perhaps a time-frame that one owns a boat for after which if it's transferred to another state, tax is not liable?"
In a very few states there is. Again, that will be on your state web site.
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Originally Posted by billbalme View Post
Interesting. Thanks for the responses.

I am a resident of MA.

When I purchased my previous boat (also documented) I sailed her out of Rhode Island (was not even aware of the tax implications). However, we moved her to MA and sailed her out of Mattapoisett for three seasons. Nobody ever came after me for tax - and I wasn't aware I was dodging it. I even paid the local harbor tax...

Is there perhaps a time-frame that one owns a boat for after which if it's transferred to another state, tax is not liable?...
MA will want its use tax on any vessel brought into the state for sixty days, less any tax paid in a state with a reciprocity agreement.

The state now has the towns tied into checking for use tax. Towns all want their annual boat excise tax ( a minor amount), so the harbormasters, police and other agents look for the annual town mooring stickers on all boats in marinas or mooring areas. To get a sticker you need to have paid the annual excise tax which gets you and your boat details on the tax roles. I forget how the state closes the loop on boats on the excise tax lists and whether it has a record of a sales/use tax - whether they do it after the fact or as part of the excise tax application....
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Right - I had to pay harbor fees in Mattapoisett with the last boat - still nobody asked me for sales tax - implies there's a timeframe of ownership the trumps a state asking for sales tax.

I'll search through the state's tax website - but that's a task!
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Originally Posted by billbalme View Post
Right - I had to pay harbor fees in Mattapoisett with the last boat - still nobody asked me for sales tax - implies there's a timeframe of ownership the trumps a state asking for sales tax...!
The regulation for cars is still is six months, but the state changed it in 1991 to exclude boats from the six months..boats thus becoming forever...If you avoided a use tax after 1991, don't say anything more about it!
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