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rustyrusty 07-03-2010 05:58 PM

Tax when buying in Florida foe export.
I am going to buy a boat in Florida Frorida registed I will be deregistering it and will within 90 days shipping it to Australia It is a private sale so no agent but are using a person to do the paper work like getting a origin of build and the morgauge sorted and the deregistration. I have been told that if it is a private sale you still have to pay state Tax unless you do the deal 3 miles out at sea that sounds a bit strange does any one know if that is true if through an agent no tax for 30 days private sail and you pay tax??

speciald 07-03-2010 06:36 PM

If you can provide a bill of lading, there should be no sales tax. Last year I bought 60k of furniture and household supplies in Florida and all the tax was refunded when I provided a bill of lading for shipment to St. Maarten. you will need to have the boat leave Florida unless you can get an extension for repairs or commissioning.

hellosailor 07-03-2010 10:01 PM

rusty, your best bet is to go to the State of Florida Dept. of Reveneue web site, and check out their exact regulations online.
One of many useful pubs they have available online.

Generally, if you are from ot of state and you are getting the boat out of state within 90 days (no excuses for 91 days) you won't owe sales or use tax on the boat, and there's no nonsense like taking delivery three miles out at sea. If a boat is within Florida waters for 90 days--they're going to want registration and taxes, with very few exceptions. Florida is full of "water cops" of varying kinds, all quite eager to writ summonses.

Follow the rules, sned them a written query if you have any doubts, and you should have no problems. And no need to make a sale on the high seas.

jordanship 07-04-2010 08:28 AM


You should consult with a professional documentation agent, but generally I think you have been told correctly. The 3 mile idea is called an "offshore closing." You can hop over to the Bahamas and close there. The key nuance is that this is a private sale. Only registered dealers with the Florida Department of Revenue can issue Florida Sales Exemptions. Here is how these work:

1. 90 day - To leave within 90 days, you get sales tax stickers from the registered dealer.
2. 180 day - To leave within 180, you get the stickers plus a new 90 day extension sticker from the dealer.

Do not try to circumvent the Florida DOR. They are a well run organization, and the fines are exorbinant if you are caught. Either pay the 6% tax, go through a dealer, or close in the Bahamas. Consult with a Florida documentation agent to make 100% sure. The rules change all the time.

rustyrusty 07-04-2010 02:00 PM

Bad Law Protecting Boat brokers sounds like.
So the price of boats in florida just went up 6+ percent and no one new it I have consulted a boat document person and they THINK you are right but the law seems to be writen poorly I have made a request from the State Tax office but they havent got back to me I get on the plane in 5 days and made arrangements to ship the boat at the end of the month If I lived in Florida I would be up in arms of a law that gave exclusive rights to Brokeres to sell boats tax exempt. And not citizens of the state. I thought Australian Law was bad if this is true it is Terrible stuff.

jordanship 07-04-2010 03:36 PM

The other thing you ought to do is pull the abstract and check for liens. Liens follow the boat not the person. So if the bank is not paid off, you will inherit that $100k note on the boat. Be careful. The 6% sales tax may be the least of your worries. Doc agents do not get paid for nothing...there are a lot of annoying details and stupid laws beyond the sales tax. On the other hand, brokers get paid for doing absolutely nothing (and are pure evil).

rustyrusty 07-04-2010 03:58 PM

Florida protection of brokers incomes.
I know he owes on the boat and we were going to sort that out OK. We have spoken to a person who will do the documentation for us but.
If we go out 3 miles and all that. What if the bank transfer is done in a bank in Florida is that a Florida deal and if we have the papers ready to sign for the deregistration and ownership to me we can date time and sign out side Florida. Transfering the money is the only thing. What is stopping the owner from registering as a boat broker. Is that a big deal i have been surching the Florida web site and you gues are screwed you pay taxes on taxes on taxes Ill never complain about Australian Tax law again. At least we only pay one time tax on an item when it is new 10% and thats that. You pay tax on it every time it changes hands 6%X6%X6%X6% what a rip off.

jordanship 07-04-2010 04:23 PM

And Florida is considered a tax haven in the US! I agree...taxes here are a rip off. At least we don't have VAT.

tomandchris 07-04-2010 04:25 PM

Rusty, call the Florida Sec. of State office and get the real answer. You will probably be put on hold for an inordinate amount of time ( hey, they are collecting those 6% and are busy) but you should get to a legal answer rather than one on a board. At the end of the day, even if you have to pay the tax, you will get it back when you prove you are taking it out of state.

The problem most states are having is that everyones law is different and some people spend more time figuring out how to save the sales tax then they do actually buying a boat. In the end they usually have to pay anyway.

So what type of tax will you have to pay when you get it home?

jordanship 07-04-2010 05:40 PM


At the end of the day, even if you have to pay the tax, you will get it back when you prove you are taking it out of state.
I have not heard of a state refunding the sales tax back because you took the yacht out of the state. How does that work? I know if you stay in the US and switch states, there may be reciprication, and you only pay the difference between the two sales/use tax rates.

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