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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd just like to recommend to all ICW cruisers to avoid the side trip to New Bern, NC. The town has, collectively, become very expensive, and seems to be, with a few exceptions, making it abudantly clear that they don't like cruisers. Here is the final nail in the coffin, however: we were there LAST January (2008), received a bill for property tax this (2009) spring on our boat, from both the City Of New Bern, and Craven County, NC, telling us property tax was past due. Our hailing port is Annapolis, we live in Easton, and pay property tax in MD on the boat. I called New Bern, and after much arguing, they agreed that if we could prove tax had been paid on the boat elsewhere, they would take us off their tax roll. Last week, I received another tax bill, this time also threatening attachment of the boat if they are not paid. I've discussed this with other cruisers, and found at least one other who has been exposed to this. But, here is the amazing part-the other skipper I spoke with anchored out while they were in New Bern! We were at a marina, so we knew how the tax people knew we were there, at least. The anchored out guy figures they must have local police going out and getting regisitrations, or even hull numbers, off of vessels! If I had a lot of time and money, I'd probably try to get this into a Federal court, as localities in 2 different states are involved. As it is, we will just make it a point to never allow one thin dime of our money to ever to be spent in New Bern again, right down to not even doing business with anyone who owns a Hatteras Yacht.
 

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I'd try contacting BoatUS. They have a legal department that deals with this sort of thing. Are you a member?
 

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All kinds of NC boaters try to avoid the tax due by putting different ports on their transom and being anchored out and trying to avoid the tax man by not engaging in marina contracts. As a result the boat tax guys wanna see PROOF that you are not paying a low tax or no tax elsewhere while keeping the boat in NC for the bulk of the year. This is true in MANY places in NC and just as true in VA from personal experience. We've had similar tales here from NY and California. Bottom line...they are gonna go after you as a bureaucracy...and "once is not enough". Send registered mail....keep copies...and keep fighting. Just don't think New Bern is unique.
 

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BoatUS would probably be interested in the facts, so I'd contact them.
 

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I'd be interested in how long the boat stayed in their juristiction. This seems like a trend where local governments are going after property tax on high value vehicles like boats and airplanes in several parts of the country. The information missing from the stories I've heard is the duration of these visits which result in a tax bill. Its a troubling trend for sure.
 

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nezperce333,

Have they changed in MD? I was under the understanding that in MD, you paid a stiff one time tax when you purchased/registered the boat, but annually thereafter, there was no property tax on boats in MD. In NC, you pay a relatively small tax when you purchase the boat and then a property tax every year at the same rate assessed against cars or houses. The marinas are required to submit to the tax office a listing of boats in the marina on January 1...that's how they know about you, and as others have said, they will expect tax to be paid. I have a couple of boats registered in NC that I keep in the adjoining county (where I pay the property tax on these items), but the local county doesn't know this and I get nasty notes from them every year saying they found that I haven't paid taxes on these NC registered boats...of course a note saying where I pay the taxes takes care of the situation after they check it out.
 

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New Bern is a GREAT place to visit. What you are dealing with is happening all over it seems, I get this from reading here at Cruisersforum. I don't see how you can translate this to the entire town of New Bern not liking cruisers. How long did you have your boat there?

If it was a short time, perhaps a copy of the ships log, receipts etc showing you moved on, would be sufficient.

Chris
 

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When you say all over do you mean just along the intra coastal because in the northeast this does not happen at all. I have nothing against that town/area but who in there right mind would want to deal with that harrassment.
 

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NK235...They don't. They generally walk the docks and take pictures in January and review marina records. If you stayed the summer in the state...they'll come after you. Some places have a 90 day rule.
They do NOT go after people just passing through. You will note that the OP says he was there in January. What he doesn't say is how long he was there. My experience in a marina in NC is that we did not have ONE single boat pull up to our docks in the month of January. No one GOES to New Bern in January. Betcha the devil is in the details...but VERY few boats are on the move in NC from December to March.

Flybyknight...agree with you. Wish Delaware had some decent sailing instead of being power boat country!
 

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NK235...They don't. They generally walk the docks and take pictures in January and review marina records. If you stayed the summer in the state...they'll come after you. Some places have a 90 day rule.
They do NOT go after people just passing through. You will note that the OP says he was there in January. What he doesn't say is how long he was there. My experience in a marina in NC is that we did not have ONE single boat pull up to our docks in the month of January. No one GOES to New Bern in January. Betcha the devil is in the details...but VERY few boats are on the move in NC from December to March.

Flybyknight...agree with you. Wish Delaware had some decent sailing instead of being power boat country!
Cam - Didn't mean to sound rude or bad about NC. Was just going off what the OP said but your right - its all probably in the details. Have a good weekend.:)
 

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from what I read of the OP, NC is charging him AGAIN THIS YEAR and he has't been there this year. They will let him off the hook if he shows he is paying property taxes elsewhere. But there are a LOT of states where there is NO property tax collected. Seems only MD, VA, NC & SC do it. The New England states, the Great Lakes states, Florida don't do it.

So stay away from the Southeast states in the winter, screw them
 

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"They will let him off the hook if he shows he is paying property taxes elsewhere."
xort, that would be illegal in all 50 states and probably considered criminal extortion, misfeasance, and abuse of office--all likely state and federal felony offenses.
A state can't simply send you a tax bill and say "prove you don't live here", they have to have some initial basis for venue and jurisdiction.
Since we don't have all the original facts (how long the boat was where) there's no point in speculating, but if things were really so simple--there'd be an eager lawyer (or AG) and a tax man going to jail.
 

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xort

I don't think MD charges an annual tax. Our C22 is titled and was kept in MD for a number of years (2001-2005). At that time, as I said earlier, we paid a significant tax when registering the boat and never were assessed or required to pay an annual property tax. The boat is now in NC (where I do pay property tax), but I never get a bill from MD....I question whether the original poster actually pays an annual property tax on the boat in MD. Anyone from MD who knows what the real deal is there now?
 

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MD does not have an annual tax but it does have a sales/use tax that applies ONE time if you use the boat in the state for 90 days....
Boating Law - Boat Tax 2007 Maryland Overview from Waterway Law

Lots of exceptions and fine points...so read the article if your boat will be in MD for 90 days or more. Here's a state by state East coast overview:

From Boating Law - Vessel Sales Tax - From Waterway Guide 2008
State
Sales tax on boats? Personal property tax?
Alabama 2% No
Connecticut 6% No (but higher registration fees)
Delaware No No
District of Columbia No No
Florida 6% No
Georgia 4% + local Yes
Maryland

5% No
Massachusetts 5% Yes
Maine 5% Yes
New Hampshire $10 to $1761.40 depending on size and propulsion with some exemptions No
New Jersey 7% Fee based on value of boat
New York 4% plus local No
North Carolina 3% with $1,500 cap Yes
Pennsylvania 6%-7% No
Rhode Island No No
South Carolina 5% with $300 cap Yes
US Virgin Islands No No
Virginia 2% capped at $2,000 Yes
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
from what I read of the OP, NC is charging him AGAIN THIS YEAR and he has't been there this year. They will let him off the hook if he shows he is paying property taxes elsewhere. But there are a LOT of states where there is NO property tax collected. Seems only MD, VA, NC & SC do it. The New England states, the Great Lakes states, Florida don't do it.

So stay away from the Southeast states in the winter, screw them
That's correct, the last statement I received from them is for 2009, not 2008, and I have not been there at all in 2009. What they appear to be trying to do is to simply carry the property forward from year to year. I will most likely not ending up paying them for 2009, once I have proven to them that the boat has not been there, but even the billing seems unjustified.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
New Bern is a GREAT place to visit. What you are dealing with is happening all over it seems, I get this from reading here at Cruisersforum. I don't see how you can translate this to the entire town of New Bern not liking cruisers. How long did you have your boat there?

If it was a short time, perhaps a copy of the ships log, receipts etc showing you moved on, would be sufficient.

Chris
The boat WAS there for 5 months in 2008. As far as the town not liking cruisers, it is pretty easy to see- The Sheraton Marina literally doubled its rates a couple of years ago, and raised minimum LOA footage billing for slips to 40 feet, in slips which were actually only 30 feet in length. The city is now writing tickets to boats who overnight at Union Point (town docks). To be fair, that was always the policy there, but they used to be laid back about it, give warnings, etc. I have spoken with a couple of people who tied up, went into town to spend money at the hardware store (nice, and an exception to the town disliking cruisers), then restaurant and bar, to come back late and find an $85 ticket on their boat. Same Police who wrote the ticket are unable to keep panhandlers out of the downtown area, though. Incidentally, when I complained to the manager of the Sheraton about the increase in rates (I have been through there MANY times before), his INITIAL response was "Why don't you just leave?" -there had been no real confrontation or anything of that nature. We did leave, and went across the river to BridgePoint marina, which is less convenient to downtown, but more reasonably priced and friendlier. Had I spent ONE night at The Sheraton, the bill would have been $125. for a 30 foot boat. At the time, they charged $4./ft./night plus $5 for hookup. I also encountered a general lack of friendliness in New Bern, not like it used to be. Also it is expensive, at least for The South: we wanted to spend a night in a hotel while the boat aired out from some fresh varnish, and The Comfort Suites there quoted us $149.95 plus 13% (!) tax for a regular room, or $199.95 plus 13% for a suite. We stayed in the BridgePoint hotel, by the marina, which was a bit rundown, but clean, at $90. plus tax. The hotel rates, of course, do not reflect anything against cruisers, just an example of how expensive New Bern has become. New Bern USED to be a great place to stop, but over roughly the last couple of years, as far as I am concerned, it has gone downhill. Used to be, they liked boaters, now they only want people who are looking for a $500K condo, and the type of tourists who want $200./night rooms, $30. fish dinners, and $6. vodka tonics.
 
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