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Old 04-15-2009
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Avoid New Bern

I'd just like to recommend to all ICW cruisers to avoid the side trip to New Bern, NC. The town has, collectively, become very expensive, and seems to be, with a few exceptions, making it abudantly clear that they don't like cruisers. Here is the final nail in the coffin, however: we were there LAST January (2008), received a bill for property tax this (2009) spring on our boat, from both the City Of New Bern, and Craven County, NC, telling us property tax was past due. Our hailing port is Annapolis, we live in Easton, and pay property tax in MD on the boat. I called New Bern, and after much arguing, they agreed that if we could prove tax had been paid on the boat elsewhere, they would take us off their tax roll. Last week, I received another tax bill, this time also threatening attachment of the boat if they are not paid. I've discussed this with other cruisers, and found at least one other who has been exposed to this. But, here is the amazing part-the other skipper I spoke with anchored out while they were in New Bern! We were at a marina, so we knew how the tax people knew we were there, at least. The anchored out guy figures they must have local police going out and getting regisitrations, or even hull numbers, off of vessels! If I had a lot of time and money, I'd probably try to get this into a Federal court, as localities in 2 different states are involved. As it is, we will just make it a point to never allow one thin dime of our money to ever to be spent in New Bern again, right down to not even doing business with anyone who owns a Hatteras Yacht.
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Old 04-15-2009
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I'd try contacting BoatUS. They have a legal department that deals with this sort of thing. Are you a member?
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Old 04-15-2009
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All kinds of NC boaters try to avoid the tax due by putting different ports on their transom and being anchored out and trying to avoid the tax man by not engaging in marina contracts. As a result the boat tax guys wanna see PROOF that you are not paying a low tax or no tax elsewhere while keeping the boat in NC for the bulk of the year. This is true in MANY places in NC and just as true in VA from personal experience. We've had similar tales here from NY and California. Bottom line...they are gonna go after you as a bureaucracy...and "once is not enough". Send registered mail....keep copies...and keep fighting. Just don't think New Bern is unique.
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Old 04-15-2009
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BoatUS would probably be interested in the facts, so I'd contact them.
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Old 04-15-2009
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I'd be interested in how long the boat stayed in their juristiction. This seems like a trend where local governments are going after property tax on high value vehicles like boats and airplanes in several parts of the country. The information missing from the stories I've heard is the duration of these visits which result in a tax bill. Its a troubling trend for sure.
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Old 04-15-2009
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Isn't there a 90 days rule in some states? If you keep your boat there for over 90 days-you can be taxed.
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Old 04-16-2009
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nezperce333,

Have they changed in MD? I was under the understanding that in MD, you paid a stiff one time tax when you purchased/registered the boat, but annually thereafter, there was no property tax on boats in MD. In NC, you pay a relatively small tax when you purchase the boat and then a property tax every year at the same rate assessed against cars or houses. The marinas are required to submit to the tax office a listing of boats in the marina on January 1...that's how they know about you, and as others have said, they will expect tax to be paid. I have a couple of boats registered in NC that I keep in the adjoining county (where I pay the property tax on these items), but the local county doesn't know this and I get nasty notes from them every year saying they found that I haven't paid taxes on these NC registered boats...of course a note saying where I pay the taxes takes care of the situation after they check it out.
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Old 04-16-2009
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New Bern is a GREAT place to visit. What you are dealing with is happening all over it seems, I get this from reading here at Cruisersforum. I don't see how you can translate this to the entire town of New Bern not liking cruisers. How long did you have your boat there?

If it was a short time, perhaps a copy of the ships log, receipts etc showing you moved on, would be sufficient.

Chris
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Old 04-16-2009
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When you say all over do you mean just along the intra coastal because in the northeast this does not happen at all. I have nothing against that town/area but who in there right mind would want to deal with that harrassment.
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Old 04-16-2009
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You want to stay out of the whole southeast then nk235. Personal property tax is assessed annually everywhere.
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