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Old 18-05-2014, 05:46   #1
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Questions before we move aboard

OK We've bought the boat, rented the house, ready to move 3000 miles to pick up the boat. The remaining niggling question is, what are the pros and cons of which state to declare as our residence. We can choose NY (our house), FL (our property) or WA where the boat will wind up to get her seaworthy.

Never having had these many options before, we're confused. Can anyone who's been out there a while give us some guidance? Thanks in advance.
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Old 18-05-2014, 06:40   #2
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Re: Questions before we move aboard

Redhead,

All good questions. Remember you will be paying property tax every year on the boat so if you can choose a jurisdiction with the lowest property tax that would be ideal. I think you would need to establish residency in that state to do so perhaps by having using a mail forwarding service there - but that is my impression and if anyone knows for sure please correct me.

One thing you may or may not be aware of that stung us was the "Use tax" that Washington state applies on boats that are brought here from outside the state. If you are in WA waters for appx. 60 days or more you will have to pay them a one-off 10% tax on the value of the boat based on the bill of sale - unless you can prove you paid sales tax elsewhere at the time of purchase.

Otherwise this is a great place to work on the boat plus it sits on the edge of the world's best cruising grounds.

Enjoy.

Dhillen
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Old 18-05-2014, 07:18   #3
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Re: Questions before we move aboard

Thanks Dhillen - The boat is north of Vancouver, so we have to decommission in Canada and recommission in US. We checked out Bellingham, WA and they seem to be very reasonable for hauling, lay-days, etc. If you know of any others within a days sail that don't cost the earth, please let us know.
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Old 18-05-2014, 08:53   #4
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Re: Questions before we move aboard

There are probably a number of reasons for picking a home state but no income tax is my personal priority.

A list of those states without any and on the coast is:
Alaska
Florida
Texas
Washington

Depending on your other tax liabilities you may want to see a specialist.

Regarding Washington as a home port they do have some of the strictest environmental regulations covering boats and their maintenance. You may want to research that too.
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Old 18-05-2014, 09:09   #5
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Re: Questions before we move aboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by kentobin View Post
There are probably a number of reasons for picking a home state but no income tax is my personal priority.

A list of those states without any and on the coast is:
Alaska
Florida
Texas
Washington

Depending on your other tax liabilities you may want to see a specialist.

Regarding Washington as a home port they do have some of the strictest environmental regulations covering boats and their maintenance. You may want to research that too.
In addition to state income tax issues I also consider whether the state has an annual tax on personal property. FL has no state income tax and no annual tax on personal property. Others also but FL is the only one I know of personally.
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Old 18-05-2014, 11:07   #6
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Re: Questions before we move aboard

There are two separate issues, where you register your vessel, and where you intend to keep it. If you plan on living aboard and staying in one place for more than 90 days odds are you will have to pay sales tax in that state regardless of where you bought the boat or where it is registered. You can Coast Guard document your vessel through a Delaware LLC ( about $350 ) and pay no sales tax, but if you then sail to Florida and dock the boat there for three months or more the department of revenue in Fla will want to charge you sales tax of 6-7% if you get caught. If you plan on buying the boat and staying in one place long term you should probably register the vessel and pay taxes on it in that state.
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Old 18-05-2014, 13:22   #7
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Re: Questions before we move aboard

I bought my boat in Washington State with no sales tax because we are Alaskan residents and intended to take the boat to Alaska.

I then had a major refit and re power done which took a total of 8 months.

Washington never hit me up for any tax, probably because we were not storing or using the boat in their fine state, we were having it worked on so we could leave the state.

If your boat is in Canada now, possibly you can take advantage of this. The reason I'm mentioning it is that the really nice cruising grounds appear to not be in Washington anyway, they are in Canada.
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Old 18-05-2014, 13:31   #8
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Re: Questions before we move aboard

If you do choose Washington (and I can't comment on taxes there) I would consider refitting in Port Townsend rather than Bellingham. Close to Canada, too. I've lived and boated In B'Ham for 20 years and while there are some skilled shipwrights there, they can be hard to find as many have retired. In PT, incredibly skilled folks in the marine trade are all over the place. Hourly prices are good, too.
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Old 18-05-2014, 13:50   #9
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Re: Questions before we move aboard

This is all terrific info. I'm making notes as fast as info comes in (call CPA, check out Port Townsend, maybe stay in BC). We must move the boat because it's in a harbour with a tiny TravelLift, no chandleries and one lumber yard/hardware store. Vancouver seems very expensive. Thanks to one and all, if you have any other input it'll be appreciated, believe me!
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