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Old 16-06-2010, 12:26   #1
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Registering in Florida

We bought our boat 2 years ago in texas and have been cruising now for 2 years, without residing more than 30 days in any one state. We are now in florida and want to stay a while to restock the cruising kitty.

My question is, when we left we didn't register the boat in any state, just USCG documented and left. Now that we are planning on staying in florida for some time are we going to have problems registering? Are they going to require that we pay taxes on the boat being that we don't have proof of registration from another state?

Thanks,
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Old 16-06-2010, 13:05   #2
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Originally Posted by worthken View Post
We bought our boat 2 years ago in texas and have been cruising now for 2 years, without residing more than 30 days in any one state. We are now in florida and want to stay a while to restock the cruising kitty.

My question is, when we left we didn't register the boat in any state, just USCG documented and left. Now that we are planning on staying in florida for some time are we going to have problems registering? Are they going to require that we pay taxes on the boat being that we don't have proof of registration from another state?

Thanks,

Yes. Florida will require you to apply for and purchase a Florida registration and display the sticker on your boat. You will have to pay sales tax to Florida unless you have proof that you paid it already to another state govt. The Florida Marine patrol, a branch of the Fl Highway Patrol routinely patrols the anchorages and marina’s looking for boats like yours (missing any registration sticker) and boats with expired stickers. They will cite you if and when they find you, Quoting from the state regulations (below link):

Operation of an unregistered vessel after
30 days is a second-degree misdemeanor.

You can register your vessel at any Florida county tax collector's office. I'm fairly sure you will have to provide a valid title and/or bill of sale. Here is a link to more info:
Official Website Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
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Old 16-06-2010, 13:15   #3
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You will have to pay sales tax to Florida unless you have proof that you paid it already to another state govt.

Are you sure on the sales tax? Isn't there a time limit?

from: FL Dept Rev - Use Tax on Out-of-State Purchases

"Items you purchase and use in another state, territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia for 6 months or longer before bringing them into Florida are not subject to use tax."
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Old 16-06-2010, 13:16   #4
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My experience was this.

I registered an inflatable dinghy in Florida a year and a half ago. The registration fees were very reasonable. In order to legally avoid having to pay Florida Sales Tax, all I had to do was prove to them that I had purchased the dinghy outside of Florida and more than six months prior to the date on which I was registering the boat. The manufacturer's certificate of origin and a bill of sale was sufficient proof.

The boat was purchased in Virginia and immediately taken to the Caribbean. It had never been registered anywhere. The fact that I had paid sales tax in Virginia had no bearing on the Florida tax issue. Because I had purchased it outside of Florida and had owned it for more than six months, there was no Florida sales tax liability. Florida's sales tax is higher than Virginia's, so if I had been subject to the sales tax, I would have had to pay Florida the difference.
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Old 16-06-2010, 13:23   #5
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Hud is correct on the sales tax issue. I researched it very carefully as I was buying a boat out of state but am primarily a FL resident. I checked all pertinent state websites and confirmed all with several phone calls to Dept of Revenue and Dept of Natural Resources offices.

If the boat is purchased out of state with the intention of using it out of state and is used out of state for min 6 months you are not liable for FL sales tax. Be careful and be prepared to document the details.

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Old 16-06-2010, 14:12   #6
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To enlarge on the subject, what's the procedure if you cruise Florida for 6 or more months but you and your boat are not residents? Is there a need for registering your boat and/ or paying any fee? People have warned us that there may be. thanks
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Old 16-06-2010, 14:38   #7
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worthken,
If your having maintenance performed on the boat(is not specific on who does the maintenance, only where)in a boat yard, the 90 day limit is set a side. Once the boat is in the water or able to sail again, you have 20 days to get it out of Florida's waters. Proof of leaving can be a fuel slip from another state then you may enter again. Also, if your boat is 30 years or older, you can register it as an antique vessel and the registration isn't much for 3 years. As most county people who register the boat do not know about the program, one must educate them, but it can be done.
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Old 16-06-2010, 16:04   #8
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To enlarge on the subject, what's the procedure if you cruise Florida for 6 or more months but you and your boat are not residents? Is there a need for registering your boat and/ or paying any fee? People have warned us that there may be. thanks
AFAIK, yes, you have to register your boat in Flordia if you are staying more than 90 days. Yes, it's a pain, but the price isn't outrageous (even though they went up ~60% last year). My 43' cat is ~$200/yr for registration (less than 2 nights slip fees in Key West). Put the sticker on your boat and anchor out for free!
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Old 16-06-2010, 16:08   #9
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To enlarge on the subject, what's the procedure if you cruise Florida for 6 or more months but you and your boat are not residents? Is there a need for registering your boat and/ or paying any fee? People have warned us that there may be. thanks
Hi Stacy,

FL will want their pound of flesh if you stay in the state more than 90 days and they notice. If you are moving around they may not figure it out but if you stay in one marina or the same anchorage for 6 months they will probably catch you.

The requirement is to pay the state of Florida boat registration fee, but it's not much. Have not yet registered the sailboat but I think for 42' boat the cost is under $100. Registration good for a year, renew in the month of the owner's birthday.

For some it seems to be a horrible intrusion but at the end of the day it's not much money and the extra revenue from all you tourists helps keep my tax bill lower.
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Old 16-06-2010, 16:11   #10
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If your boats vintage don't forget to ask for vintage registration, its only around $5. Must be 30 yrs old with original power.
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Old 16-06-2010, 16:14   #11
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1) You don't have to prove you paid another state's taxes only that you have purchased the boat in another state more than 6 months ago and have an out-of-state registration that you will have to surrender when you get a Florida registration.

2) If the boat is documented - you do not have to display the registration number on the bow.
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Old 16-06-2010, 16:41   #12
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thanks for the info!
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Old 17-06-2010, 05:58   #13
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Florida Boat Sales Tax Cap
Florida Bill CS/SB-1752 was signed by Governor Charlie Crist on May 28 as part of the larger "Jobs for Florida" Bill.
The cap limits the 6 percent state sales tax on a boat purchase, or the use tax for currently owned vessels to $18,000 ($300,000 purchase price), which lawmakers hope will help the state save marine industry jobs and ultimately increase sales tax revenue.

Governor signs Florida boat tax cap into law

Boat sales tax cap passes Florida state legislature - Legal & VAT Issues - SuperyachtTimes.com
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Old 17-06-2010, 06:10   #14
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Quote:
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1) You don't have to prove you paid another state's taxes only that you have purchased the boat in another state more than 6 months ago and have an out-of-state registration that you will have to surrender when you get a Florida registration...
Just a small clarification, since the OP stated that his boat had no state registration, just the USCG documentation.

To register the boat in Florida, you do not have to show proof of registration in another state, just proof that you purchased it in a state other than Florida, and that the purchase was made more than six months prior.
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Old 17-06-2010, 07:34   #15
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I have looked into this a little. You should not owe "Use Tax" because you've owned the boat more than 6 months. You will be required to register the boat. Something to be aware of is that the state based registration fees are very reasonable but the state allows each county to add a fee of it's own, so the actual cost of registering the boat can vary quite widely. Some counties may be over $200 whereas others might be as low as $85 for the same boat. I have not been able to find a list of fees by county. A few county web sites will tell you but most will not. My guess is that their afraid people will go county shopping since a Florida registration is a Florida registration. Note that you do not have to have a Florida mailing address to register a boat in Florida.
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