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Old 05-05-2014, 14:54   #1
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Hailing Port and Tax Implication

Guys,
Does/could the hailing port have any impact on the sales/use tax owed?

Will Massachusetts want 6% from me if I write Boston on my boat, even if the boat doesn't enter Mass, for a year let's say.
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Old 05-05-2014, 15:04   #2
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Re: Hailing Port and tax implication

Nope. Sales and use tax is based on where you register and use your boat.
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Old 05-05-2014, 15:08   #3
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Re: Hailing Port and tax implication

Can't say for sure, but our boat is coast guard registered with a home port in MA but the boat is and has been since purchase in St. Lucia. We don't plan on having it in MA until 2017. Haven't been hit for any taxes to date and I don't believe we own any with it not being here at all.

Not sure what will be required in 2017 though, so if anyone knows that, I'm sure both GalaxyGirl and I could benefit from knowing future implications of bringing an already registered boat in.
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Old 05-05-2014, 15:12   #4
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Re: Hailing Port and tax implication

There have been hundreds of posts on boat documentation and Florida boating taxes which bled the subject to death.

The answer is: read the CG documentation website and read about the state tax laws that apply to where you are going to be.

The simple answer to GG's OP is no.
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Old 05-05-2014, 15:18   #5
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Re: Hailing Port and tax implication

The "hailing port" required for documented vessels is only used to aid in identification of vessels with the same name. (From the USCG Documentation Center FAQ) As stated above, sales and use taxes are a local issue.

So like ReMetau says above... Nope
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Old 05-05-2014, 15:26   #6
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Re: Hailing Port and tax implication

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Can't say for sure, but our boat is coast guard registered with a home port in MA but the boat is and has been since purchase in St. Lucia. We don't plan on having it in MA until 2017. Haven't been hit for any taxes to date and I don't believe we own any with it not being here at all.

Not sure what will be required in 2017 though, so if anyone knows that, I'm sure both GalaxyGirl and I could benefit from knowing future implications of bringing an already registered boat in.
This Mass tax issue I'll admit is very confusing to me, but I am under the impression that if the boat does not enter Mass for 6 months after purchase, than no tax is owed to Mass. I hope that is correct, because that's what I'm counting on
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Old 05-05-2014, 15:48   #7
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Re: Hailing Port and Tax Implication

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Originally Posted by GalaxyGirl View Post
Guys,
Does/could the hailing port have any impact on the sales/use tax owed?

Will Massachusetts want 6% from me if I write Boston on my boat, even if the boat doesn't enter Mass, for a year let's say.
Ask your former US Senator & now Secretary of State John Kerry how well yacht hailing port documentation worked out for him. If you're trying to avoid paying the state sales tax, it's probably not a good idea to be posting your intentions on a public forum.

But to answer your question.... yes, Massachusetts, like California will want the sales tax if your final destination is Massachusetts. Just like with cars purchased in other tax free states like New Hampshire; Massachusetts still expects the sales tax and annual property tax which thank goodness is cheaper than in California. The only way to avoid it, will be to keep the boat out of Massachusetts if you have a Massachusetts land address.

I don't think it's fair, but that's the way it is. The rules might say 6 months or one year outside of Massachusetts/California etc in order to avoid sales or use tax, but again, these states are broke, so the officials are now looking at intent... which makes posting stuff online a very, very bad idea.
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Old 05-05-2014, 15:53   #8
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Re: Hailing Port and Tax Implication

My understanding (and I am not an expert) is that the Massachusetts sales/use tax obligation is based upon your intent to ever use the boat in Massachusetts when you purchase it. If you bring it into Massachusetts in the first 6 months, the state assumes that you intended to at purchase. I'm not sure if the rule is different for non Mass residents.

After the first 6 months the burden is on the tax people to show your intent. For example, you don't want to sign a contract for a marina slip or get on a mooring waiting list in Massachusetts during the first six months even if you don't bring the boat into the state. Probably not great to post intent on a discussion board either.

Using a Massachusetts hailing port may be a minor annoyance. I believe that the tax folks search the CG database. This happened to me on a Moorings charter boat I owned in Tortolla. It had Boston, MA as a hailing port even though it had never even entered the US. I got a letter from Boston looking for property tax (not sales tax). They accepted my explanation and went away.
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Old 05-05-2014, 15:57   #9
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Re: Hailing Port and Tax Implication

Speaking of personal property taxes, I've heard of San Fransisco county for one sending letters to boats with a SF hailing port asking for property taxes. Even if the boat is not currently in California. In California you have to show you pay property tax somewhere. Out of the country, its still due. So that could matter too, depending on how aggressive the tax man is. Needless to say, they are pretty rabid out here in California.
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Old 05-05-2014, 16:04   #10
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Re: Hailing Port and Tax Implication

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Using a Massachusetts hailing port may be a minor annoyance. I believe that the tax folks search the CG database. This happened to me on a Moorings charter boat I owned in Tortolla. It had Boston, MA as a hailing port even though it had never even entered the US. I got a letter from Boston looking for property tax (not sales tax). They accepted my explanation and went away.
I'm waiting for that letter from our town as it is CG registered in MA, but has never been here and won't be until 2017 at the earliest.

One thing is certain - finding answers on the MA Gov websites is near impossible.. They clearly want people to screw it up so they can charge the fees.
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Old 05-05-2014, 16:08   #11
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Re: Hailing Port and Tax Implication

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One thing is certain - finding answers on the MA Gov websites is near impossible.. They clearly want people to screw it up so they can charge the fees.
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Old 05-05-2014, 17:19   #12
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Re: Hailing Port and Tax Implication

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One thing is certain - finding answers on the MA Gov websites is near impossible.. They clearly want people to screw it up so they can charge the fees.
I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the Mass Department of Revenue to put up a web guide about how to use loop holes to avoid paying a tax. Unlike your situation, most people reading that web site should be paying.
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Old 05-05-2014, 17:32   #13
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Re: Hailing Port and Tax Implication

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Originally Posted by GalaxyGirl View Post
Guys,
Does/could the hailing port have any impact on the sales/use tax owed?

Will Massachusetts want 6% from me if I write Boston on my boat, even if the boat doesn't enter Mass, for a year let's say.
How would they know if you wrote Boston on your boat if you never took it to Massachusetts? If you have other documentation listing a connection to Massachusetts that may be a different story.
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Old 05-05-2014, 17:35   #14
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Re: Hailing Port and Tax Implication

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How would they know if you wrote Boston on your boat if you never took it to Massachusetts? If you have other documentation listing a connection to Massachusetts that may be a different story.
Guess I wasn't sure if the Coast Guard docs would somehow be sent to the hailing state.
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Old 05-05-2014, 17:41   #15
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Re: Hailing Port and Tax Implication

If you document your boat in lieu of state registration no sales tax is due providing you buy her out of state. You'll need to keep her out of the state, I believe for one year. Once you move her to Mass there could be a local "user" fee depending on where you keep her berthed/moored. Most of the towns on the north shore do have user fees, not sure about Boston.
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