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Minimizing Taxes; Hailing Port
I studied state taxation over 30 years ago, and will explain it as best I remember it.
You pay a sales tax when you make a purchase of personal property and use the property in the same state. If you buy the property in one state, but sign an affidavit swearing that you will remove it from the state where you purchased it within X number of days, then you donít have to pay the sales tax. However, when you take the property into another state, and use it there for more than X number of days, you have to pay a use tax. In other words, when you buy a boat, you either have to pay a sales tax where you buy it, or a use tax where you use it. The authorities usually catch you when you register the boat, because theyíll ask you to show proof that you paid sales tax at the time of purchase. If you donít have a receipt showing that you paid sales tax, then you have to pay the use tax.
The hailing port has nothing to do with sales or use taxes. It is one factor, however, in determining the state in which you must register the boat, and some states only charge small annual registration fees, while others charge annual registration fees, and they also assess hefty annual personal property taxes on boats, motor vehicles and RVs. Generally you must register the vehicle in the state where you will use it. If you live near a state line, and there is a significant difference between the annual taxes assessed by your state and by the neighboring state, you might decide to moor your boat in the state with the lower taxes.