I'm no expert on the issues of New York
and states are different. Anyplace that the boat spends more than 90 days or so (it varies by state) curing the during the first six to 12 months after purchase
will think they deserve the tax. The state where you have legal
residence may claim the tax if the boat is in the state at all during this time (but each state has slightly different rules).
The fact that the boat was on the hard
probably won't help. A fellow in Maine
was just taxed on a boat that he brought to a Maine
boatyard immediately after purchase for a major refit
. Maine taxed him even though it was in the boatyard being rebuilt the whole time. He went to court and lost
. As you can imagine, the Maine boatyards
are a little upset about how this might impact their business.
If you paid the tax somewhere else, you are all set (you don't have to pay twice!). If you carefully documented that the boat was in Rhode Island
(which has no tax on boats), you have a good argument. But it sounds like neither applies to you.
Again - if you want to fight this, you really need a New York
tax expert not an internet
forum full of guys like me with just enough knowledge to be dangerous.