Join Date: Apr 2006
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Simon, the typical sales tax for motor vehicles in the US (and in most states a boat is classed as a motor vehicle) can run up to nearly 9%. That's local, county, and state taxes, with no applicable federal salzes taxes.
But the good news is that, as best I know, no jurisdiction charges you sales tax IF you are #1, not a state resident, and #2, the vessel is being removed from the state within 30 days. Sometimes you will have 90 days...you need to check in the state where you will be pruchasing the boat. Most states have a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or Department of Taxation and Finance (for sales tax in general) or other authority with a web site that can explain the terms to you. They should all also be available by telephone of course. And, if the seller is a licensed broker or motor vehicle dealer, they usually know the tax rules and can confirm them for you.
The biggest problem would be if you purchased a boat for export and then, for any reason, got stuck and didn't get it out before the time period tolled. In theory you'd have to pay tax at that point--but in practice, since you would not be registering it in the US, that might also slip by.
When dealing with bureaucrats and money, I find it is often safest to get your answers in writing, on letterheads, and then if someone else down the line says "That's wrong" you have official documentation to back up what you are expecting.
If "same same" used boats in Oz are selling for twice their US market value, I'm a gonna start buying boats in California and sailing West to sell them! It's hard to believe there is that big a price difference, without some government tariffs being a huge part of the explanation.
Last edited by hellosailor; 07-29-2006 at 06:12 PM.