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Old 07-01-2019, 00:27   #31
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Re: Florida Use tax on USCG Documented boat purchased outside the US

I understand the laws/rules to be the following:
If FL resident, you will pay FL sales/use tax (same thing to you 6-7%) as soon as the boat gets to FL.
If you are not a FL resident, any amount you paid in other US taxing authorities will be credited towards the 6-7% (county dependent). This will be required at the 90 day point the boat remains in FL.
If you are not a FL resident AND the boat spent at least 6 months in US taxing authority location under your ownership (think another state or USVI) then you just need to register and pay for the sticker. Proof may be required such as fuel or slip receipts. So FL wants less than $200 vs many thousands if you owe sales or use tax. I had a tentative plan of keeping my boat in USVI for 180 days before going to FL. Now I don't want to bother to go to FL.

If US citizen you'll owe import duty (1.5-1.6%) as soon as it enters the US. Being registered in the US isn't the same thing. It's triggered when the boat arrives in US waters. This presumes it hasn't been paid before and it's not exempt. For example, a South African built boat is exempt IF the first owner 'imports' into the USA. If they fail to do so, the second owner would have to pay.

I'm not a lawyer, double check my info.
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Old 07-01-2019, 01:15   #32
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Re: Florida Use tax on USCG Documented boat purchased outside the US

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Not dependent on domicile state of the owner.

Based on where the boat is, for how long, even if the owner only visits for an occasional weekend.
The amount of grace period is dependent on resident or not. The OP said he was moving to Fla, so he will owe use tax.
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Old 07-01-2019, 04:29   #33
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Re: Florida Use tax on USCG Documented boat purchased outside the US

nited States, or District of
Columbia and is brought into Florida within six (6) months of the purchase date;

Take the boat to a low tax state, NH or RI. Sell it to yourself, after 6 months move the boat to FL.
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Old 07-01-2019, 06:25   #34
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Re: Florida Use tax on USCG Documented boat purchased outside the US

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Originally Posted by CSYChip View Post
If you paid sales tax in the former state that should exempt you as well.
I suspect this is the key factor.

The bullet points on the website cover typical scenarios and they assume you are bringing the boat from overseas directly to Florida. They don't cover if you import and pay the tax in another state first. The website bullet points are not the actual language of the law.

If you paid in SC and can provide documentation and it was a significant period of time, you are probably fine.

If you never paid the SC equivalent tax, expect them to want their pound of flesh.
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Old 07-01-2019, 06:25   #35
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Re: Florida Use tax on USCG Documented boat purchased outside the US

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AFAIK USCG documentation does not imply a physical import right? US citizens living overseas get US flagged all the time without importing into US territory land. . .
We bought a boat in Spain from a UK gentleman. USCG documented it but never state registered it nor imported it as it never left the EU. No issues.
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:38   #36
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Re: Florida Use tax on USCG Documented boat purchased outside the US

How about a documented private sale closing in legal US customs territorial waters outside of Florida state waters and then returning to Florida for 2 months.
Legal or no.
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:00   #37
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Re: Florida Use tax on USCG Documented boat purchased outside the US

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How about a documented private sale closing in legal US customs territorial waters outside of Florida state waters and then returning to Florida for 2 months.
Legal or no.

I think this would apply:


• The boat is purchased in another state, territory of the United States, or District of Columbia and is brought into Florida within six (6) months of the purchase date;


• The boat is purchased in a foreign country and is brought into Florida at any time"



Florida laws on use tax are to protect the tax agencies from loopholes just like the one in your scenario and in your case it's the 6 months part and the foreign country part of the rules. I assume Florida would rightfully argue that any area outside the US is "foreign". If you are just passing through then you might be able to get away with it. There is a waiver however if the boat is being actively worked on at a yard.
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:09   #38
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Re: Florida Use tax on USCG Documented boat purchased outside the US

I have been sailing the Caribbean and US east coast since then.
If this is true then it seems you have established it in the US and I would think you should be ok. I bought a boat in FL, moved it out of state before 90 days, returned and registered it in FL after several months and just told the tax person at the office that.
Sales/use tax was waived.
They never asked for proof I had even moved the boat out of state, but you should have receipts showing fuel purchase or etc on the eastern seaboard.
This was Brevard County
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:17   #39
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Re: Florida Use tax on USCG Documented boat purchased outside the US

Thanks you all for the guidance. To answer some questions, yes the boat came back into the US but never stayed in one state very long. My home state is South Carolina, and I have a house there. The boat passed through SC several times, which I suppose SC would say triggers tax for SC since I am a resident. I did not pay any tax nor register the boat there. (SC sales tax is only $300, but they do not register documented vessels. SC property tax is the killer there, and is about $4500 for my boat...per year))

We have been cruising the southern Caribbean for the last year and a half after sailing the east coast and have documents to demonstrate that.
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:26   #40
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Re: Florida Use tax on USCG Documented boat purchased outside the US

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Thanks you all for the guidance. To answer some questions, yes the boat came back into the US but never stayed in one state very long. My home state is South Carolina, and I have a house there. The boat passed through SC several times, which I suppose SC would say triggers tax for SC since I am a resident. I did not pay any tax nor register the boat there. (SC sales tax is only $300, but they do not register documented vessels. SC property tax is the killer there, and is about $4500 for my boat...per year))

We have been cruising the southern Caribbean for the last year and a half after sailing the east coast and have documents to demonstrate that.
FL doesn't know where, or how long, your boat has been. When my boat was out of FL it was on the hard being worked on, so not registered. "I took it out because it needed a total rebuild"
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Old 12-01-2019, 15:21   #41
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Re: Florida Use tax on USCG Documented boat purchased outside the US

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Originally Posted by biohead View Post
Thanks you all for the guidance. To answer some questions, yes the boat came back into the US but never stayed in one state very long. My home state is South Carolina, and I have a house there. The boat passed through SC several times, which I suppose SC would say triggers tax for SC since I am a resident. I did not pay any tax nor register the boat there. (SC sales tax is only $300, but they do not register documented vessels. SC property tax is the killer there, and is about $4500 for my boat...per year))

We have been cruising the southern Caribbean for the last year and a half after sailing the east coast and have documents to demonstrate that.
If your plans are the same as in the OP to become an Fla resident and to keep the boat in Fla then you will be liable for use-tax. Since you have not paid any sales tax in other states the credit for those doesn't apply. The tax is capped at $18k and should be 6%. How long the boat can be Fla before you get caught is just an open question.
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Old 12-01-2019, 19:37   #42
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Re: Florida Use tax on USCG Documented boat purchased outside the US

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
If your plans are the same as in the OP to become an Fla resident and to keep the boat in Fla then you will be liable for use-tax. Since you have not paid any sales tax in other states the credit for those doesn't apply. The tax is capped at $18k and should be 6%. How long the boat can be Fla before you get caught is just an open question.
I believe biohead is the OP. I'd say there is enough money at stake that the local tax office has plenty of incentive to pay attention. I sure wouldn't bet on it slipping their notice.

Washington State has a similar system of in lieu property tax on vehicles and boats. They have people walking the docks and driving through residential streets and apartment parking lots writing down license numbers. They collect owner information for unregistered or out-of-state registered boats from the marina office. And when they catch you they go after the in lieu tax, back registration fees, interest, and fines. They definitely make it worth their trouble.
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Old 13-01-2019, 03:36   #43
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Re: Florida Use tax on USCG Documented boat purchased outside the US

I'm standing by my first reply #2
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Old 14-01-2019, 09:23   #44
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Re: Florida Use tax on USCG Documented boat purchased outside the US

I expect there are ways to use a boat without owning it. I have seen many ads that say "LLC owned"...
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Old 14-01-2019, 09:24   #45
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Re: Florida Use tax on USCG Documented boat purchased outside the US

I expect legally all that means is that the LLC owes the sales/use tax?
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