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Old 07-01-2012, 14:29   #1
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Time Out of Florida ?

Finally found my new/used boat.
There are allot of threads here about state taxes there.I understand the 3 months and out with the proper sticker from my broker.I have 11 weeks left for a work commitment so timing will be close and i really don't want the tax man chasing me.I believe in paying taxes for what you use so lets not have to many blasts about that.
My question is can i just head offshore and document with my GPS that i am outside of the state waters.Actually will use the 12 mile limit so will be outside the country.Then return for a month of refitting and a sail north?Without having the tax man chasing me down?
Thank You
Mark
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:17   #2
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Re: Time out of Florida?

Not understanding your question. Are you buying the boat in Florida and trying to figure out how to avoid the sales tax? Are you going to be keeping it in Florida after the 11 weeks? Or taking it there after the 11 weeks?
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:34   #3
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Re: Time out of Florida?

Mark, you can certainly do that BUT Florida requires all motor vessels to be registered, including your boat and often your dink if that has a motor. And in order to "come back" to Florida you'll have to have it registered somewhere, which in turn usually will require you to pay title and tax and registration fees.

So the only obvious flaw in your plan, is where will you register the boat before you bring it back to Florida? And what else will be required in order to do that? i.e. sales tax.

The possible good news is that if you pay Florida sales tax, most if not all other states would credit that against your tax liability in your home state, when you transfer the registration.
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:17   #4
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Re: Time out of Florida?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Mark, you can certainly do that BUT Florida requires all motor vessels to be registered, including your boat and often your dink if that has a motor. And in order to "come back" to Florida you'll have to have it registered somewhere, which in turn usually will require you to pay title and tax and registration fees.

So the only obvious flaw in your plan, is where will you register the boat before you bring it back to Florida? And what else will be required in order to do that? i.e. sales tax.

The possible good news is that if you pay Florida sales tax, most if not all other states would credit that against your tax liability in your home state, when you transfer the registration.

Am registering it in my currant state.ND,there is no sales tax on used boats here.And they will be happy to credit me on my next tax bill.If i buy a new boat...............Another thing i am told in order to get a 90 day sticker you have to pay the tax upfront and then prove you left.acepted proof is fuel/mariena recips from anothere state.
So i am stuck paying $1,400 to a state i dont live in but was planning on spending another $20,000 max on a refit.and a slip for 3 months.and meals ect.Looks like the state of flordia doesnt want that income.will be sailing north.
sorry for the rant
Mark
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:39   #5
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Re: Time out of Florida?

I'm still confused. You are buying it in Florida, but plan to register it in North Dakota? Are you planning to keep it in North Dakota?

You say that you're "sailing it north." Obviously you're not planning to sail it to North Dakota, so where do you plan to go?

You will find that most of the states on the east coast have laws that are similar to Florida. That is, if you stay for more than X number of days then you have to register the boat in that state. And when you register, if you have not paid sales/use tax on the boat in some other state, then you will have to pay that state's sales/use tax. I believe Delaware is an exception, but otherwise you are almost certainly going to have to pay the tax somewhere.
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:55   #6
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Re: Time out of Florida?

Your broker should really know all of this stuff. Here is the link to the state website: Official Website Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
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Old 09-01-2012, 08:23   #7
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Re: Time out of Florida?

Mark, taxes are taxing, pardon the pun, so rants are expectable. But it will get worse, as denver says, if you simply STAY in any state more than xx days, you'll have to reregister the boat and pay applicable taxes. That varies with the state. I think Florida wants your money if your vehicle (car or boat) is in-state more than 180 or 183 days in any calendar year. Some states, 183 days during ANY 365-day period. New York, your boat only has to be registered if it is "on the navigable waterways" more than 90 days in a year. Haulouts are exempted.

A North Dakota registration is going to get you closely examined by every tax agent that crosses your path, and they regularly look at boats and marinas. There's no convenient way from ND to the Atlantic, so right away they know your boat isn't living in ND and unless you're doing a world tour--they'll figure it should be registered and taxed someplace else, like wherever they find it.

If anyone really has figured out how to beat the tax men, they're being really clever about not sharing that.

One thing I've heard that is LEGAL, tax avoidance rather than tax evasion, is to have everything you can stripped off the boat before you buy it. Photograph the boat and the pile to substantiate that. Then you buy the boat, at a lower price, and buy the "personal effects" and used goods separately, which generally are tax exempt.

In theory you could probably buy the bare hull, no mast no sails no nothing, for scrap value. And then buy all the rest. I think the tax men know there's a certain amount of time and effort lost to doing that, so it isn't too popular either. But unless you substantiate it--they'll take either the book value, or the bill of sale value, whichever is higher, and it is up to you to prove them wrong. In tax court.
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Old 09-01-2012, 09:02   #8
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Re: Time out of Florida?

I think the OP's point is there are several states, (including Florida), that are assault tax states, where you or your boat don't have to live in the state to be taxed, just spend more than 90 days there. His point is that 11 weeks is pushing the line.

My recommendation is you may be borrowing trouble, we have all heard the horror stories where someone was tax assaulted on their way from Mississippi to Georgia, and given a tax bill for the two weeks they spent in Florida, but these stories are somewhat rare, and usually the result of having an expired sticker from whatever state they were from.

SO to avoid trouble, register the boat legally and put the sticker on imediately for the state of your residence,...move the boat there as soon as possible. Be sure you document exactly WHEN, you purchase and move the boat. Don't leave the boat in one place, (in the water), in Florida long enough for the tax man to begin sniffing it out.

As has been pointed out; once you get the bill from the state, either they or a lawyer will get your money. Better is to avoid getting in legal trouble to start with.

Documenting, (at least get quotes), for a shipping order to the state you register it in as soon as you buy it. And show shipping order as soon as you see a taxy looking person sniffing around your boat. Once they submit the paperwork it is really too late.
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:51   #9
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Re: Time out of Florida?

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Originally Posted by capn_billl View Post
I think the OP's point is there are several states, (including Florida), that are assault tax states, where you or your boat don't have to live in the state to be taxed, just spend more than 90 days there.
I think you are confusing the sales/use tax with registering the boat. (And the OP may be, too, but his posts have been very confusing to me, so I'm not sure.)

If you keep your boat in Florida for more than 90 consecutive days, or more than 183 days in a one year period, then you have to register it with the state. The registration fee, however, is minimal. For a typically sized pleasure boat it will be $100 or less. I'd hardly call that an "assault tax."

Sales/use tax, on the other hand is the one that can run into the thousands. Almost all states will charge that in one way or another. Florida charges 6% with a cap of $18k (which makes Florida's tax a bargain if you are buying anything over $300k).

Buying the boat in one state and then moving it to another only changes who you pay the taxes to (and possibly how much), but it doesn't eliminate the need for paying the tax. That's because almost all states want you to pay the tax to them if you haven't already paid it, or the difference if you paid taxes in a state that charges less.

So, let's go through a couple of scenarios. Say you buy the boat in Florida and keep it there for more than 90 days; you will have to pay sales tax to Florida and you will have to register it with Florida. Say you buy the boat in Florida, but take it out of the state before 90 days; you will pay nothing to Florida, but will have to pay the sales tax for the state that you take it to, which may be less than you would have paid to Florida or it may be more. Say you buy the boat in Florida, within 90 days take it to a state that only charges 3% sales tax, pay the 3% and then 4 months later bring it back to Florida; just like most other states, at that point Florida is going to want 3% (the difference between their 6% and the 3% you already paid). Now, if you buy the boat in Florida, within 90 days move it out of the state, use it in another state for more than 6 months, and then bring it back to Florida, then you will not owe any additional sales tax to Florida. Any boat that you have owned and used for more than 6 months in another state is yours, as far as Florida is concerned, and they will not try to get any sales or use tax out of you for that boat.

Here's a link for a pretty good summary of Florida's laws concerning the sales/use taxes. http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/forms/2011/gt800005.pdf

I also have to say that, unless you are comparing it to one of the zero-tax states (of which there are very few) then I don't see how you can consider Florida an "assault tax" state. Their tax and registration laws are very much in line with most other coastal states.

In any case, unless you immediately move the boat to a zero-tax state, you are going to have to pay taxes to someone!
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:15   #10
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Re: Time out of Florida?

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I think you are confusing the sales/use tax with registering the boat. (And the OP may be, too, but his posts have been very confusing to me, so I'm not sure.)

If you keep your boat in Florida for more than 90 consecutive days, or more than 183 days in a one year period, then you have to register it with the state. The registration fee, however, is minimal. For a typically sized pleasure boat it will be $100 or less. I'd hardly call that an "assault tax."

Sales/use tax, on the other hand is the one that can run into the thousands. Almost all states will charge that in one way or another. Florida charges 6% with a cap of $18k (which makes Florida's tax a bargain if you are buying anything over $300k).

Buying the boat in one state and then moving it to another only changes who you pay the taxes to (and possibly how much), but it doesn't eliminate the need for paying the tax. That's because almost all states want you to pay the tax to them if you haven't already paid it, or the difference if you paid taxes in a state that charges less.

So, let's go through a couple of scenarios. Say you buy the boat in Florida and keep it there for more than 90 days; you will have to pay sales tax to Florida and you will have to register it with Florida. Say you buy the boat in Florida, but take it out of the state before 90 days; you will pay nothing to Florida, but will have to pay the sales tax for the state that you take it to, which may be less than you would have paid to Florida or it may be more. Say you buy the boat in Florida, within 90 days take it to a state that only charges 3% sales tax, pay the 3% and then 4 months later bring it back to Florida; just like most other states, at that point Florida is going to want 3% (the difference between their 6% and the 3% you already paid). Now, if you buy the boat in Florida, within 90 days move it out of the state, use it in another state for more than 6 months, and then bring it back to Florida, then you will not owe any additional sales tax to Florida. Any boat that you have owned and used for more than 6 months in another state is yours, as far as Florida is concerned, and they will not try to get any sales or use tax out of you for that boat.

Here's a link for a pretty good summary of Florida's laws concerning the sales/use taxes. http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/forms/2011/gt800005.pdf

I also have to say that, unless you are comparing it to one of the zero-tax states (of which there are very few) then I don't see how you can consider Florida an "assault tax" state. Their tax and registration laws are very much in line with most other coastal states.

In any case, unless you immediately move the boat to a zero-tax state, you are going to have to pay taxes to someone!
An excerpt from the state issued publication:
"Florida recognizes valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting boaters for a period of 90 days. An owner who intends to use his vessel in Florida longer than 90 days must register it with a county tax collector. However, he may retain the out-of-state registration number if he plans to return to his home state within a reasonable period of time. "

I relocated my boat from Maryland last year. If I had planned to go back to Maryland, just maintaining a current Maryland registration would suffice to avoid registering in Florida. Lots of folks spend the winter here and keep their home-state registrations. Since I was permanently residing here, I did the Florida registration (about $85 if I recall correctly) and in addition, since the vessel was Documented, I did not have to apply numbers to the hull.
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Old 09-01-2012, 13:23   #11
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Re: Time out of Florida?

There are two, totally separate issues with buying a boat in FL or keeping a boat in FL.

1. Sales or use tax. If you buy a boat in FL you have a deadline to remove that boat from the state or you will owe 6% min (varies by the county) sales tax on what you paid for the boat. Does not matter where you live, where you will eventually keep the boat, where you register the boat or even if it is USCG documented. Buy a boat in FL and you have to remove it by the deadline which I believe is currently 90 days. You can get that time extended if the boat is in a yard or marina for repairs and you document it. I don't believe that leaving the state waters for a day will count. A non FL resident that brings a boat to the state that was purchased and used outside of FL will not be liable for FL sales tax. The law on this may have changed and there may be a 6 month minimum ownership outside FL requirement to be exempt from the sales tax.

2. Registration. Any boat that stays in Florida past the deadline (I think again 90 days) must register the boat in the state of FL. It does not matter how long you have owned the boat, your permanent residence, where the boat is currently registered or if the boat is USCG documented. This is not expensive, maybe $100-$200 depending on the size and age of the boat.
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Old 09-01-2012, 13:42   #12
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Could you have a Delaware LLC buy the boat and register it with the Coast Guard as a Delaware boat (no sales tax) and get it out of the State of FL within 90 days; then wait 6 months and bring it back and avoid (not evade) the FL tax? It seems like that might work if you are willing to get it out of FL within 90 days and then keep it out for 6 months. If that does work, would one need to register the vessel in FL if they plan to keep it FL long-term following the 6 month out of state period but with no tax due? This seems so easy that there must be a law against it!!! Anyone know if this is permitted or not?
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Old 09-01-2012, 15:00   #13
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Re: Time out of Florida?

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Could you have a Delaware LLC buy the boat and register it with the Coast Guard as a Delaware boat (no sales tax) and get it out of the State of FL within 90 days; then wait 6 months and bring it back and avoid (not evade) the FL tax? It seems like that might work if you are willing to get it out of FL within 90 days and then keep it out for 6 months. If that does work, would one need to register the vessel in FL if they plan to keep it FL long-term following the 6 month out of state period but with no tax due? This seems so easy that there must be a law against it!!! Anyone know if this is permitted or not?
What skipmac said is correct. Also, when you register an out of state purchased boat in Florida, the Florida tax collector will want to see proof of sales tax paid in another state. I had to show my bill of sale to them so they could see I had paid the tax 13 years prior. Thus, I had only to pay a registration fee which is based on boat length. The references to the florida tax website should have all of your answers. If not, call the tax collector, but don't necessarily believe what they tell you.
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Old 09-01-2012, 15:08   #14
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Re: Time out of Florida?

http://www.flhsmv.gov/dmv/FFFVO.pdf will clarify much of, but not all of, the issues discussed herein.
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Old 09-01-2012, 15:12   #15
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Re: Time out of Florida?

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2. Registration. Any boat that stays in Florida past the deadline (I think again 90 days) must register the boat in the state of FL. It does not matter how long you have owned the boat, your permanent residence, where the boat is currently registered or if the boat is USCG documented. This is not expensive, maybe $100-$200 depending on the size and age of the boat.
FWIW, A foreign documented vessel that obtains a US CBP cruising license is exempt from the Florida registration requirement. Of course, the US CBP cruising license has it's own requirements, but there is no cost (yes, free!).
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