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Old 05-04-2013, 13:43   #1
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Documentation Vs. State Registration

Would anyone care to share their thoughts on the pros and cons of vessel documentation vs. state registration. I live in Massachusetts. I am in the process of closing on a 30 ft. sail. I don't expect travel in international waters any time or soon and maybe never. Other than that, are there other considerations I need to be aware of? Thanks
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Old 05-04-2013, 13:59   #2
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

It looks like Mass does not require the registration of documented boats. From the Mass.gov website:

Quote:
Boats exempt from registration requirements include those that do not use motors, and documented vessels (large boats that are issued a marine document and registration through the U.S. Coast Guard).
So I'd document the boat, avoid the recurring registration fees, and keep those ugly numbers and sticker off my bow.
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Old 05-04-2013, 14:01   #3
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

Documentation is free to renew. If there is an outstanding mortgage or maritime lien on the vessel, when submit your documentation paperwork, the USCG will notify you.
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Old 05-04-2013, 15:19   #4
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

Documentation is the only way to go ! state registration continues to cost you yearly or in whatever way your state sets up there way of billing ! here in Louisiana its every 2 yrs. it just seems to us to be a better system, to fed document the vessel, if not for the money, the to keep those ulgy letters and numbers of the bow !! just our 2 cents
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Old 05-04-2013, 15:23   #5
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

Taxachusetts? Document. You will save $ in long run.
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Old 05-04-2013, 16:07   #6
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

If you want to go any foreign country other than Canada you will need to be documented, and I am not so sure about Canada anymore.
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Old 05-04-2013, 16:11   #7
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

State registration will get you into Canada and the Bahamas with no problems, and many other places too. There are only a few real sticklers out there for documentation. But, it does grease the process if all your paperwork looks perfectly ordinary and above board. A lot of state registrations are nothing more than a paper wallet-sized card--not very impressive when clearing in.
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Old 05-04-2013, 19:02   #8
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

Documentation does not allow you to avoid taxation. The USCG sends a list of documented boats to the local tax assesor, so if you State wants tax money they will get it.

In the OP's case, the only question would be is it cheaper to document the vessel (about $150 dollars) or register it with the State and pay the annual registration fee (About $60). If you go through a Boat Title COmpany they will charge about $100-150 to do the paperwork for you.

If you own your boat over two years, you will save money by Documenting it with the USCG.

Here is the link to the USCG National Vessel Documentation Center.
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Old 05-04-2013, 19:13   #9
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

Of course documentation does not allow tax evasion, it does however allow one to avoid registration. Massachusetts was very aggressive in past years making sure documented boat's owners paid either the state sales tax or water use fee.

The Department of Taxation chased me for sales tax on my sailboat some 10 years after I purchased it; had it documented in Delaware. I responded to the their letter with a phone call telling them I would be happy to provide copies of my paid sales tax receipt if they would kindly mail a stamped addressed envelop to me. About six months later I got their envelope into which I stuffed copies of my paid receipt, mailed it back to them. Never heard more about it.
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Old 05-04-2013, 19:26   #10
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

Quote:
Originally Posted by foggysail View Post
Of course documentation does not allow tax evasion, it does however allow one to avoid registration. Massachusetts was very aggressive in past years making sure documented boat's owners paid either the state sales tax or water use fee.

The Department of Taxation chased me for sales tax on my sailboat some 10 years after I purchased it; had it documented in Delaware. I responded to the their letter with a phone call telling them I would be happy to provide copies of my paid sales tax receipt if they would kindly mail a stamped addressed envelop to me. About six months later I got their envelope into which I stuffed copies of my paid receipt, mailed it back to them. Never heard more about it.
Can you keep your boat in Mass., or do you have to berth it in Delaware to void the Mass. taxes?
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Old 05-04-2013, 19:56   #11
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Re: Documentation Vs. State Registration

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Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
snip

If you go through a Boat Title Company they will charge about $100-150 to do the paperwork for you.

If you own your boat over two years, you will save money by Documenting it with the USCG.

Here is the link to the USCG National Vessel Documentation Center.
The paperwork is easy. No need to pay anyone to fill it out with info they'll get from you in another form anyway.

The other benefit of documentation is that it will be easier to sell your boat to someone from another country, e.g European. If you have a high value boat it opens up your market. Foreign buyers might have a hard time getting a title in their own countries if all you can give them is a bill of sale and state registration. Some states, such as CT, don't even issue titles for boats.
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