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post #1 of 13 Old 02-27-2014 Thread Starter
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Sailboat as my office

I've come to a point in my adult life that I wasn't prepared for. I have worked for the federal government since I was 19, and here I am in my mid forties and I've found myself for the first time not having a clear path. I always knew without a doubt that I was destined to retire from the Feds, it's a good gig. I wanted a few extra bucks and started an app side business to help pad my retirement. Well, it's grown and grown without me even trying it. My wife and I have older children, and other than my government job, there is nothing holding me here.

In another few months I'll be completely debt free, and that includes my house. If my rates of return continue, I will be I great position to jump into a liveaboard to travel, while developing apps. Our plan is to do a great circle route where we cross the atlantic from Boston to Ireland and spend the whole summer exploring. When the summer dies down, cross the atlantic to the carribean for the winter, and returning to boston in May. I don't need solid internet connection all the time, only at regular intervals to upload information. During an atlantic crossing I can build several apps and have them ready. When i hit a port that I can use an aircard or wifi to upload what I need yo do. It seems doable, and my wife and are excited for the adventure.

Has anyone ever done this that can throw rocks? We aren't going to rough it too bad, looking at a leopard 44 with water maker and washer/dryer. We want to be comfortable and make our guests as well.

Any advice on US business tax implications.
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-27-2014
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Re: Sailboat as my office

Depending on your desire to limit capital costs you should know that you can get a full time internet and telephone connection for about $25,000 in hardware. Usage plans start at $100 to $1,000 per month for unlimited usage. Since this is a business venture all those costs would be tax deductible.

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post #3 of 13 Old 02-27-2014
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Re: Sailboat as my office

Do biz at dock.
At sea is ahelluvva time to not be tending to he biz of sailing..
Well....mebbe in the doldrums? is OK

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post #4 of 13 Old 02-28-2014
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Re: Sailboat as my office

We've been able to get internet connections on the boat in every port and most anchorages in the Windwards and Leewards. Some are great, some are unreliable and slow. We have a BadBoy radio antenna which works to pull the weak signals in.
We pay $40.00 to $50.00 a month when there isn't a free access point available, again from great to poor connections.
I have no doubt that it would be exactly the same in any European country, though probably more expensive, if I've been able to get acceptable internet on tiny islands like Union and Bequia.

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post #5 of 13 Old 02-28-2014
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Re: Sailboat as my office

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Originally Posted by deltaten View Post
Do biz at dock.
At sea is ahelluvva time to not be tending to he biz of sailing..
Well....mebbe in the doldrums? is OK
I wrote several chapters of a book on my recent passage from Cape Town to Grenada. It actually worked pretty well and would be easier on a catamaran. Trade wind sailing is generally pretty relaxed.

Back home on Lake Ontario after something over 36,000 nm circumnavigator. Not surprisingly there is a lot of stuff I want to get done on Ainia both cosmetically and functionally. Getting an early start so it will be ready to go for next summer (Lake Superior?).
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post #6 of 13 Old 02-28-2014
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Re: Sailboat as my office

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
We've been able to get internet connections on the boat in every port and most anchorages in the Windwards and Leewards. Some are great, some are unreliable and slow. We have a BadBoy radio antenna which works to pull the weak signals in.
We pay $40.00 to $50.00 a month when there isn't a free access point available, again from great to poor connections.
I have no doubt that it would be exactly the same in any European country, though probably more expensive, if I've been able to get acceptable internet on tiny islands like Union and Bequia.
I would add that in my experience WiFi (Called 'wiffie" in Europe) is frequently not available on the dock. You may have to go to the cruiser lounge or a local library. Also the pipes are small. When I was in Santa Cruz de Tenerife every boat seemed to be in the cruisers lounge for two to three hours in the morning and two to three hours in the evening. Response times could be measured in minutes. I got in the habit of going up to the lounge in the middle of the night. Then it was only me and response times, although not fast, were at least adequate.

With respect to transits - in general they are boring - particularly if single handing. Keeping a good watch just doesn't occupy that much time. About 50% of the time wave action made any serious use of a computer uncomfortable. In addition, make sure you have considered power usage. My gaming laptop (dual-quad, high end video, etc.) eats the batteries. I use a netbook while underway.

Fair winds and following seas
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post #7 of 13 Old 03-02-2014
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Re: Sailboat as my office

As far as taxes... Well, you can count on Uncle Sam wanting his cut. Surely you have already setup some sort of a business and are paying taxes. That won't materially change when you go cruising. Uncle Sam still wants his full share, even if you are earning the money outside of the country.
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post #8 of 13 Old 03-02-2014
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Re: Sailboat as my office

I personally have not done any of this but I certainly like what you plan . My dad back in the 80's started a rep. biz and claimed his boat as the office (the boat was a new Grand Banks 42) . He did the deprecation tax claim thing for 3yrs. after that he folded and had to sell the boat . The boat finally sold for around 250K . Uncle Sam's cut was something like 50K , because of the write off . But here I am talking about a dismal under taking and end to a dream . I'm not a dream killer ! You my friend are starting the American Dream !
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post #9 of 13 Old 03-02-2014
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Re: Sailboat as my office

"Any advice on US business tax implications. "
Are you talking about state and federal business taxes, actual taxes levied on a business or corporation?
Or did you mean US federal personal income tax implications?

Everything, state and federal, will depend on details including your state residency, where you actually are going to be located while working, how long you are out of the country, and how much income is involved. The IRS should have the usual excellent publications available online, call their toll-free number and they'll tell you exactly which ones to download.

If this is your first venture into being self-employed, you might want to speak to a tax accountant or CPA regarding setting up the business in general.
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post #10 of 13 Old 03-02-2014
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Re: Sailboat as my office

Consult with a tax accountant/attorney but just be aware any depreciation or maintainance expense you claim will go back to the IRS when the boat is sold.

I work from my boat, truck, while skiing or hiking and have worked from internet cafes including a memorable one in a small village in Spain, but I keep it simple and claim only one office location where I pay local taxes receive 1099's and take no depreciation for that location.

If your boat is a place of work rather than a place where you may at times work then that has an implication on insurance.

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