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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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  #21  
Old 01-27-2011
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The original question referred to establishing and maintaining a legal residence. I've lived overseas for the past 12 years using only a post office box and a friend's phone number in CONUS as my official abode and haven't had a single problem except with Barnes and Noble, which won't sell ebooks to overseas IP addresses, and there are ways around that. The IRS and credit card companies don't care. It's been a non-issue for me. Don't worry about it.
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  #22  
Old 01-28-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Don't know about the reporting, but my excise/use tax on my boat is less than you're paying in registration fees.
Are you referring to your personal property tax? Use tax in MA would be 5% of the value of one's boat, IIRC.
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  #23  
Old 01-28-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willyj41 View Post
How and where do liveaboards, who does not own or maintain a shoreside residence, establish a legal residence for the purpose of 1)Taxes, 2)Voting, 3)Driver's licenses, 4)Car registration, 5)Boat documentation, 6)Phone/internet service, 7)Mail, 8)etc.?
Since you don't have a residence ashore, IMHO you get to choose any one of the 50 States. This is our situation too. A short trip to the State of your choice to apply for drivers license and voter registration is all that's required in conjunction with setting up a mail forwarding service anywhere in that State (and if applicable vehicle registration; some States get cranky if your plates and drivers license don't match). A good mail service will forward your mail to wherever you happen to be. The mail service is important since that becomes your official address (ie, domicile for tax purposes). The issue gets a bit more complicated since again IMHO you should register your boat somewhere and display a sticker (even if USCG documented). This avoids hassles. I believe that you can register the boat in a different State than your domicile based upon other considerations such as your cruising area (which may be totally different than your domicile). I suggest using a hail port that matches your State registration and USCG documentation (ie, not your domicile). That way everything is consistent. PM me if you have questions about how we selected our domicile. There are some good sites that list all taxes in each of the 50 States and as mentioned previously, full-time RVers face many of the same issues and a study of the RV site referenced can provide valuable information. Hope this helps.
Pete

Last edited by prroots; 01-28-2011 at 05:45 AM.
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  #24  
Old 01-28-2011
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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Are you referring to your personal property tax? Use tax in MA would be 5% of the value of one's boat, IIRC.
No, the annual excise/use tax on the boat is set by the town that the boat is kept in. Where I keep my boat, the fee is based on the length and age of the boat and has very little to do with the value of the boat. You're confusing the annual use/excise taxes for the one-time SALES TAX, which btw, is now 6.25%, not 5%.
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  #25  
Old 01-28-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
No, the annual excise/use tax on the boat is set by the town that the boat is kept in. Where I keep my boat, the fee is based on the length and age of the boat and has very little to do with the value of the boat. You're confusing the annual use/excise taxes for the one-time SALES TAX, which btw, is now 6.25%, not 5%.
I now understand the tax you are paying, which is based on the ownership of personal property, not the purchase of it.

I'm not confused with the use/sales tax. If you stay in MA long enough, they want use tax in excess of the sales tax you paid when you bought the boat. Since I'm in RI, I paid none. Therefore, I have to be sure not to stay in MA long enough to trigger their use tax. One time or not, I'll bet it is 100 times the annual excise/use/registration fees. I couldn't care less that they don't have a time triggered registration fee. By comparison, it would be peanuts.
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  #26  
Old 01-28-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willyj41 View Post
How and where do liveaboards, who does not own or maintain a shoreside residence, establish a legal residence for the purpose of 1)Taxes, 2)Voting, 3)Driver's licenses, 4)Car registration, 5)Boat documentation, 6)Phone/internet service, 7)Mail, 8)etc.?
In my previous post I failed to address the phone/internet issue you raised. I suspect most cruisers will have cell phones. As a (much less expensive) alternative we also have VoIP (voice over internet protocol). Basically, whenever we have an internet connection (eg, WiFi) we simultaneously have phone service via VoIP. It costs about 1 cent/minute to call anywhere in the US and slightly more abroad. You also pay $3-5/month for a dedicated phone number (to receive calls) depending on the area code you select. You are typically not charged for incoming minutes unless you exceed several thousand minutes per month. We use CallWithUs and Future-Nine. Both are very reliable. For further information here are their websites:
Build Your Own Service Plan
VoIP Phone Service | Internet Phone Service | Cheap VoIP Provider | Pay As You Go VoIP Service

Relative to the mail forwarding service, we try to setup a separate address (eg, with a family member) to receive bulky stuff such as magazines and catalogs. The reason for this is you must pay to have mail forwarded and the cost can skyrocket as the weight climbs. This has nothing to do with your domicile, but it is something you may wish to consider.

As an aside, I wonder if the OP has lost interest in this thread since it has drifted pretty far afield from his original question!? Personally, we would like to help since we have previously addressed the very same issues.
Hope this helps.
Pete

Last edited by prroots; 01-28-2011 at 06:23 PM.
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  #27  
Old 01-28-2011
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As people who are actively cruising, have been for several years and plan to continue, I cannot give advice on the subject, but here is how we handle it:

Drivers License and voter registration in the state we started from - Hawaii

Car registration - who needs to own a car while cruising? We rent one as needed.

Street address for USCG Boat Document, anything else that requires a street address and mail - UPS Store. We have first class mail only forwarded. The cost is minimal and we never get junk mail.

In the 21st century one must have email and phone service.

Cell phones: We use TracPhones. Cheap, disposable. Cost about $20 for each phone plus $150 a year for minutes for both (We don't talk much and never txt)
Going out on limb here, but we think if you feel you have to yak on the phone and txt while sailing between ports, you might as well stay home.

For email we have our own domain(s) supported by our web sites. So far, the web sites have generated sufficient revenue to pay for the domain registration and hosting, just barely. We have always been able to find free internet access where ever we have been. Free email is available from Google, Hotmail etc. and may be a better solution but we like the control we have with our arrangement through Network Solutions.

Taxes, use fees etc. on the boat - Keep moving
The question was about cruising was it not?

If you are cruising, We think your boat should be documented. I don't mean to give advice here but being a documented vessel has saved us a lot of grief. In Hawaii, for example, documented vessels are exempt from state registration.

This is what works for us. It may or may not work for you.
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  #28  
Old 01-30-2011
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Per prroots post - cheapest option for phone at this point is Google Voice. Free dedicated phone number (you pick from their extensive list), free calling to any US telephone #, free unlimited inbound calling, free voice mail (which transcribes voice mails to text and e-mails them if you'd like), and discount per minute calling to most worldwide countries - and no monthly fee. If you don't want to have to keep a computer on at all times and you have some form of an ethernet network running within your vessel, you can purchase the OBi110 ATA which has an ethernet port on one side and a port to connect to a regular phone on the other. It then connects to Google Voice and allows you to use a regular phone with the Google Voice system.
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  #29  
Old 01-30-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by labatt View Post
Per prroots post - cheapest option for phone at this point is Google Voice. Free dedicated phone number (you pick from their extensive list), free calling to any US telephone #, free unlimited inbound calling
Thanks for the news; it sounds great. I wonder how they make their money? It's worth stating that the two VoIP providers I've mentioned have stood the test of time which is worth something. Also, the two I've mentioned support generic SIP-based ATA's whereas it seems Google requires a specific one. This allows you to switch providers without changing your hardware if the need arises. Google Voice reminds me somewhat of MagicJack which was incredibly cheap, but based upon anecdotal evidence isn't very reliable. Having said that, it will certainly be interesting to see how things develop. For those wishing to stay current with VoIP things, this is my favorite site:
VOIP Tech Chat forum | DSLReports.com, ISP Information
Pete

Last edited by prroots; 01-30-2011 at 07:06 PM.
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  #30  
Old 01-31-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willyj41 View Post
How and where do liveaboards, who does not own or maintain a shoreside residence, establish a legal residence for the purpose of 1)Taxes, 2)Voting, 3)Driver's licenses, 4)Car registration, 5)Boat documentation, 6)Phone/internet service, 7)Mail, 8)etc.?
I came across this site which details the taxes in each of the 50 States. It may help make the best choice:
http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxe...our-state.aspx
Pete
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