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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.

rustyrusty 07-05-2010 06:41 AM

Florida extra tax on tax
There is no way the state will refund the tax. have a look at these, what do you think. half hour and there office will be open i hope i can get someone to commit to a decision.

hellosailor 07-05-2010 07:54 PM

Rusty, if you try to do things quickly and casually you will wind up screwing yourself.

Before you leave Oz, find out what papers you will need to import the boat and flag/title/register it, whatever you intend to do with it. Make sure you get those exact papers before you leave Florida, and make sure the seller (or broker or agent whoever you deal with) KNOWS exactly what you need, before you even leave Oz.

In the US "deregistering" a boat (or car, they are both usually treated as "motor vehicles") is unusual. The last owner registered the boat in his name, when you buy it you don't "deregister" it, you simply make your own new arrangements. The TITLE is what is important, not necessarily the registration.

You will need a proper TITLE to the boat, and you will need a "Satisfaction of mortgage" or "satisfaction of lien" to prove the previous lien(s) on the vessel have been paid off. Again, find one exactly what Oz will want, and make sure there is no misunderstanding about the papers you will need. You may need to have some of them "notarized" as well, again, find out what Oz wants and if there's any question about the papers--you don't hand over payment and complete the sale without them.

Most US state and federal offices have been closed here today (July 5th) for the 4th of July holiday weekend and will reopen tomorrow. If you need to spend an hour of international calling time to get answers on the phone--that's still going to be cheaper than going home without a boat, or rebooking your flight home. Skype or Google Voice both offer dirt cheap international calling if you don't have arrangements already made.

Get the facts direct from the right offices at both ends.

sailingdog 07-05-2010 09:37 PM

Also, try and get the answers in WRITING... via e-mail or FAX.

Brucerobs2 07-05-2010 10:52 PM

Out of State purchase

My parents purchased a Florida-registered boat last year from a private party. They reside in Georgia, but keep the boat in South Carolina. In their case, they had 90 days to get the boat out of FL waters, or would be liable for taxes. They did not have to "de-register" the boat. It was a little frustrating trying to research to this question at the time, but worked out fine as this is not an uncommon scenario. There were some paperwork requirements, but I don't recall it being particularly difficult.

As others have mentioned, you should definitely contact the State to get the specifics but you should be fine since you don't intend to register the boat in FL.

rustyrusty 07-06-2010 06:43 AM

Thanks for the info I am waiting for the office to open Tuesday night here. No wonder you have to gey rip off so much tax you are allways on holliday!! The problem is the document person in Florida insists that I have to pay tax. The owner isnt sure the shipper said no one has paid tax yet and the information on the net indicates that I will be due tax. I will get a bill of sale and a discharge or the loan. The added problem is the ship now wants to load early so I will miss this one and the next will be 3 weeks after I leave cant change my plans easy. So I will have a boat sitting in a marina in West Palm Beach cosying me money and liable for Tax?? if this is correct it looks to me like tax is due if they catch you. and the shippers dont get caught or they get exemptions from brokers Im not going to take the risk. And did I mention i cant get any insurance on the boat as well while it is sitting there. I have another option that is to take it to Savannah they ship from there that gets it out of Florida the great tax on Tax state. What sort of a trip would Palm coast to Savannah be dosent look much further. Anyway thanks for your input Ill take all your advise on board and let you know how we get on.

rustyrusty 07-06-2010 07:29 AM

Florida the tax state
Well if you buy a boat in Florida from a private person you are due 6% tax imediately if you sail into international waters and do the deal and come back to florida you are due tax imediately the 90 day grace is only if you have a exemption by a boat broaker so the value of florida boats just went down 6% unless you want topay 105 to a boat broker.

rustyrusty 07-06-2010 08:26 AM

Georga not much better
Just got off the phone 45 minits to be answered In Georga It is Tax exempt if it is sold by a georgen resident only. Now she said they will let you bring a boat into Georga and keep it there for one month then it is due for tax a little bit better than Florida Tax department who told me if i bring it in from international waters it is due for tax imediately no 90 days. So ill Buy the florida registed boat in georga and ship it from there or pay a ripoff blood sucking broker $2500 for doing nothing greet country USA They make the Tax law up as they are going along.

bljones 07-06-2010 08:39 AM

No one is forcing you to buy the boat.
If you find the tax law so onerous, spend your money elsewhere.
Ah, but the boats are so much cheaper in the US, aren't they?
The same boat in Oz would be how much more $$$$?
Is the broker's commission less than the 6% tax you are trying so hard to evade? Then it's worth the commission.

It sticks in my craw to listen to somebody ***** about a small part of the cost of a boat that he couldn't find and/or afford to buy back home.

eherlihy 07-06-2010 09:18 AM


Part of the reason that the broker receives his commission is that he knows the answers to these questions.

In this case, it seems that you have the option of transferring title in international water (which means that you have to figure out the logistics), paying the full sales tax, cancelling the deal, or use a broker.

If you investigate using a broker, I believe that you could arrange with a local brokers, for a reasonable fee (say 2-3% of a realistic sale price for this vessel), to handle the transaction. You should be upfront and tell the broker why you are doing this. Your position to the broker is that you have already lined up the seller and buyer, and there will be no effort required on the broker's behalf other than handling the paperwork. If the first broker doesn't agree, then the second one will.

This requirement is a bone thrown to the brokerage community by the Florida Tax Collectors (or more likely the legislature), to help these guys stay in business. Like it or not, brokers do preform a useful service.

You should be happy that you are getting a good deal on a boat.

donradclife 07-06-2010 09:38 AM

There is something missing here. How does the state of Florida even know the boat has been sold?? You are not asking for Florida registration, and you are not working through a broker who is required to tell them. By the time they think a tax is due, you and the boat will be in Oz.

tomandchris 07-06-2010 10:16 AM

Don is correct. The tax is not due if they don't know it is being sold, and you are not telling them it is. They will catch you if you stay, but you are not staying.

Now to a couple of your other rants. Quit your *****ing! If you don't want to buy here buy at home and suck it up.
Having worked in more than the US I can assure you we have a hell of a lot less Holidays than most European and Asain countries. They just seem to be a conflict for you. Tough!

I cannot imagine trying to do what you are doing without some representation here in the states to do the paperwork. Find someone to do the docmumentation for $200-50o US $ and make it simple on yourself. If not you will have the same issues we would have if we were buying the boat in your country. We are very similar to you....we don't like being asked questions so you can ***** about our country, our state, our holidays, and our laws. We do that ourselves just as you do at home.

Suck it up and deal with it or pass on the deal.

jordanship 07-06-2010 10:19 AM

The bridge tenders watch and record every boat that comes or leaves. That is where I think they catch people. They always do. Do not assume no one will notice. I agree with those who have said to walk away. Put this on hold until you have sorted it out. Calm down. Or just follow what the doc agent says and pay the tax. The 6% cannot be such a big deal? Do not get into some type of weird deal with a Georgia brokerage. Enjoy the boat!

sailingdog 07-06-2010 10:43 AM

While bridge tenders watch and record each vessel that passes their bridge, I seriously doubt they have anything to do with the state tax division. The bridge tenders have no idea what the provenance of any given boat is, who owns it, when it was sold or bought, or anything like their information is likely of very little use to the Florida DOR. :rolleyes:


Originally Posted by jordanship (Post 619865)
The bridge tenders watch and record every boat that comes or leaves. That is where I think they catch people. They always do. Do not assume no one will notice. I agree with those who have said to walk away. Put this on hold until you have sorted it out. Calm down. Or just follow what the doc agent says and pay the tax. The 6% cannot be such a big deal? Do not get into some type of weird deal with a Georgia brokerage. Enjoy the boat!

jordanship 07-06-2010 01:08 PM

sailingdog, that makes me think...why do the bridge tenders take down the vessel names? They must be keeping track for some reason.

hellosailor 07-06-2010 01:44 PM

Probably for some terribly mundane reason like "What was the name of that boat that just went through? I think they hit the lights on the bridge."

"They make the Tax law up as they are going along." Actually the tax laws are debated, considered, put into effect and widely published and known by the folks who live there. Florida has a lot of megayacht business and the big news is that they actually just capped the sales tax at $18,000 on the sale of boats, which may sound like a lot to you but that's chump change for a twenty million dollar yacht versus six percent.
Sounds like you've got a case of sour grapes because you didn't do your homework when you went shipping halfway around the world. Now you'll have at least five parties involved in your taxes, fees and regulations: Florida, Georgia, the US and Oz, and your locals down there.
If the Georgia ship leaves early, what are you going to do? Pay Georgia taxes, and try to keep moving the boat? This could end badly if the timing gets too tight and there are any delays.

primerate84 07-06-2010 02:19 PM

If you think the US has too many holidays, try getting anything done in France (or anywhere in Europe) during the summer!

GregStreeb 07-06-2010 04:32 PM

Deleted as advertising in violation of forum rules.

rustyrusty 07-06-2010 06:41 PM

You are a touchy lot well im sorry i ruffled a few feathers.I know you are hard working race of people who dont have many hollidays. I will be paying my 10% GST on the boat when it gets to Australia So dont worry I pay my dues. But that will be the only time tax will be due. I have engaged a document person who is able to do the paperwork and I am happy with that. What I are not happy with is the 6% tax which was intended to go toward the maintenance of waterways ect in florida which i will never be using. As far as protecting the boat brokers interests, I dont agree with any sort of protection in buisness we have a registration system for trades in Australia it has ment that a tradesman must have a licence to perform his trade that is good to protect the public agains shonky workmanship but in many cases it has caused an increase in the cost of building far beyond what it shoud be. I rather like free enterprise with less government intervention.

bljones 07-06-2010 09:56 PM

I'm not touchy. I just don't like whiners. HTFU.

tomandchris 07-06-2010 10:07 PM

Rusty, not touchy but protective. If we were pissing on Australia we should expect the same from you.

You can find a work around. Many brokers will do the paperwork for a price even if they do not sell the boat. Let your seller find one for you if he/she wants to sell the boat.

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