My Dad is in the market for a yacht to sail back to Australia (from California).
My Dad is a New Zealand citizen, and Australian resident.
I am an Australian citizen, and a US permanent resident (currently living in California).
We have a few questions re purchasing a yacht.... I hope you can help us out.
1. When my Dad (a New Zealand citizen, Australian resident) buys a used (not new) yacht in California, will he need to pay Sales Tax on top of the listing price?
It depends on how long he stays in California with it.
2. What other Govt fees are incurred when buying or registering the used yacht?
It depends on where he is registering the yacht.
3. Can the yacht be registered in my Dad's (NZ citizen) name? Or is it smarter to register the yacht in my name (I am a US permanent resident)?
If registered in my name, will I have to pay Sales Tax?
Yes, you SHOULD register the yacht in your dad's name IN NEW ZEALAND or OZ. As a foreign citizen, you or your father can only state register the boat in the USA, which is not recognized in international waters. You need to be a US Citizen to USCG Document the boat, which is the only form of US boat titling that is recognized internationally. If you register the boat in California, you will probably need to pay sales tax on it.
4. If the yacht is to be registered in my Dad's name, how long can he keep the yacht in the US?
It depends. He'll need to get a cruising permit for it...and again, if he leaves the boat in California long enough, he may have to pay taxes on it.
5. If the best option is to register the yacht in my name (a US resident), what fees and process do we need to follow to then transfer registration to my Dad before he sails back to Australia?
What fees do you need to pay to register the boat in Australia??? AFAIK
, the state of California and the US Government do not charge fees to transfer the registration. However, it is probably wiser and simpler to register it in Australia to begin with.
6. Does the money spent on the yacht from the purchase date to the export date (such as repairs, new sails, etc) qualify as Sales Tax free? Can the Sales Tax money be reimbursed upon export? If yes, how is this done?
I doubt it... since you're having the work done in California.
YMMV and you'll probably want to talk to an attorney that specializes in marine law both here and in Oz to get the details and paperwork done properly.