Tax on boats brought to Florida from RI? - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-02-2006 Thread Starter
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Tax on boats brought to Florida from RI?

We are planning on buying a 1996 Freedom sailboat in R.I. One of the appeals is that there is no sales tax on boats bought in Rhode Island. We will be keeping the boat in R.I. for 10-11 months.

Although I had called our county tax collector a month ago and been told that boats, like cars, were exempt from the 6% tax if they had been owned for longer than 6 months, I have been urged to double check. Below is what the FL website says about cars:

Motor Vehicle Registration

Florida''s 6 percent use tax applies to and is due on motor vehicles brought into this state within 6 months from the date of purchase. Use tax does not apply if a like tax equal to or greater than 6 percent has been lawfully imposed and paid to another state or District of Columbia.

It is presumed that a motor vehicle used in another state, territory of the United States, or District of Columbia for 6 months or longer before being brought into Florida was not purchased for use in Florida. To qualify for exemption from use tax, you must provide documents to prove that the vehicle was used outside Florida for 6 months or longer

However, I just went to Florida''s website for boaters and found this:

Initial Registration And Titling

Applications for vessel registration and title certificates are to be filed by the vessel owner with the county tax collector''s office . . . . If the sales tax on the total purchase price of the vessel has not been previously paid, the vessel owner must pay the tax along with the fees listed above. If the sales tax has already been paid, then the vessel owner should furnish the county tax collector with a valid receipt indicating where the sales tax was paid and that it was paid in an amount equal to or greater than the applicable sales tax.

Now, I don''t know whether the phrase "if the sales tax has already been paid" means in FL or means anywhere else. But this is a bit daunting.

Does anyone have any experience in this area. Anyone out there a FL broker who can help me? Our broker is based in MA and is not sure who FL works.

Thanks so much, Faith.
Faith Andrews Bedford
Faith Andrews Bedford
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-03-2006
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Tax on boats brought to Florida from RI?

Faith, you need to talk to someone in an upper level of the office that collects sales tax for Florida, and get a clear answer, in writing. If a Florida broker gives you an answer on this forum, he could be giving you a right or wrong answer. If he''s wrong, and the tax collector insists that you owe the tax, it''s too late for you to do anything but pay it, because you will have already bought the boat. You''ll have no recourse against the person who gave you the advice, because it was free advice.

Actually, if the upper level state employee gives you bad information, you could still be required to pay the tax, but if you get the information from an upper level state employee, there''ll be a greater likelihood that it will be good information, and if you get it in writing, then, any lower level employee will probably go along with it, because people usually defer to their superiors. Suppose you buy the boat and attempt to register it in Florida, and the local registrar says you have to pay the tax. If you show him your letter from an upper level employee in the department, saying you don''t have to pay the tax if you owned it for more than 6 months, then the lower level employee probably won''t dispute his superior''s opinion.

If I were you, I''d call the appropriate office in Tallahassee, and find out who is the in-house expert on boat sales taxes. There''ll be one person who knows all the ins and outs of that type of tax. Explain the situation to that person, and ask for a letter, outlining the conditions when you are exempt from the tax.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-03-2006
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Tax on boats brought to Florida from RI?

Faith, see my suggestion under Buying a Boat.

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post #4 of 9 Old 02-07-2006
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Tax on boats brought to Florida from RI?

If you never paid any sales tax you have to pay FL the whole use tax. They call it use tax when you did not buy it in the state but it''s the same thing as sales tax<g>.

The break they give you is if you paid sales tax some place (and can prove it) you don''t pay it again so long as you paid as much as FL would have charged you. Most states will do this too.

Basically moving to FL means you can''t dodge the sales tax no way no how. No state will let you do it either unless of course they have no sales tax.

FWIW, FL is very strict about it. They want the money. If you buy a boat in FL you have a limited amount of time to prove you left the state and don''t owe them. An odd way to look at it but they like it.
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-08-2006
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Tax on boats brought to Florida from RI?

I am to assume the boat is NOT documented??
document if possible.. then keep the boat up north for awhile.

you know IF you do not truck the boat, but come down the icw that can take awhile.. bring it to the chessie, leave here for two months.. two mos in RI, two months here. then slowly come south but then the 6 mos period will be up.
we brought a documented boat in direct from LA. where there is no sales tax also.
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-08-2006
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Tax on boats brought to Florida from RI?

I am to assume the boat is NOT documented??
document if possible.. then keep the boat up north for awhile.

you know IF you do not truck the boat, but come down the icw that can take awhile.. bring it to the chessie, leave here for two months.. two mos in RI, two months here. then slowly come south but then the 6 mos period will be up.
we brought a documented boat in direct from LA. where there is no sales tax also.
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-08-2006
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Tax on boats brought to Florida from RI?

One other thing. If you find that Florida exempts boats that were kept outside of Florida for six months, then document that fact. Keep dated marina receipts, credit card statements and any other written proof of the boat''s location during the preceding six months. Ask your marina manager to provide a notarized statement of the date when your boat arrived and left his marina. Even if your boat is exempt, you''ll probably have to pay the tax if you can''t prove that you''re entitled to the exemption.
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-18-2006 Thread Starter
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Thank you. Those are all good ideas. We shall take them to heart
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-22-2006
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Document the vessel and put her in a home port with no tax LA for example they look at documentation as good on boats Florida wants you to drop the DOC and regester or pay a use tax every year. Once you regester your boat your documentation is no longer valid this is a stickey thing to deal with on a legal level. Federal law over local and state.
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