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Old 31-03-2015, 20:37   #1
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What's meaning of," not for sale to U.S. citizens while in U.S Waters" ?

I've noticed this headline added to some boat listings I see online. Most boats are either in Florida or the nearby Caribbean islands.

What does this mean? Why is it necessary if a boat is out of VAT waters?


Is there a 'work around' for U.S. citizens? I'm curious, as some of these boats are of interest to us.
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Old 31-03-2015, 20:53   #2
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Re: What's meaning of," not for sale to U.S. citizens while in U.S Waters" ?

I've wondered about this myself.

I may be wrong here but from what I can tell, I think some people would rather finalize the closing off-shore to avoid having to pay extra fees/taxes.
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Old 31-03-2015, 20:57   #3
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Re: What's meaning of," not for sale to U.S. citizens while in U.S Waters" ?

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Originally Posted by JulieMac View Post
I've noticed this headline added to some boat listings I see online. Most boats are either in Florida or the nearby Caribbean islands.

What does this mean? Why is it necessary if a boat is out of VAT waters?


Is there a 'work around' for U.S. citizens? I'm curious, as some of these boats are of interest to us.
Go to ... http://www.multihullcompany.com/Arti...sident_Mean%3F
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Old 01-04-2015, 06:07   #4
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Re: What's meaning of," not for sale to U.S. citizens while in U.S Waters" ?

As the link explains, it is a way for the seller to avoid paying U.S. import duty. Of course, if you want to keep the boat in the United States, the import duty eventually has to be paid. So if the seller doesn't pay it, guess who does?
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Old 01-04-2015, 07:53   #5
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Re: What's meaning of," not for sale to U.S. citizens while in U.S Waters" ?

One way to possibly cut the effect a little comes to mind if you're buying an older boat that needs work. What if one was to buy a boat with the import duty hanging over it, of course using that for a lowball offer since you do want to take it to the US. And buy a boat that needs work. I think you have something like 90 days in Florida before they start going for your throat. If, within that 90 days, you take the boat apart, strip the interior, the electronics, etc. couldn't you effectively reduce the value of the boat in a yard, substantially? To the point of not being seaworthy, even. If you then imported it based upon that reduced value, would that save you some import duty and satisfy all legal requirements?

We did a version of that here. Had an appraisal survey done while the boat was stripped, and supplied that survey to Customs for evaluation purposes.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:28   #6
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Re: What's meaning of," not for sale to U.S. citizens while in U.S Waters" ?

For those following this thread, I understand the Not for sale part.., but what about the VAT being paid or unpaid ?
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:06   #7
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Re: What's meaning of," not for sale to U.S. citizens while in U.S Waters" ?

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
As the link explains, it is a way for the seller to avoid paying U.S. import duty. Of course, if you want to keep the boat in the United States, the import duty eventually has to be paid. So if the seller doesn't pay it, guess who does?
Standing at my local auto tire place, and there stands a great big hulk of a gentleman helping his wife's best friend . . .he's a retired customs agent.


Off the record, on the fact . . . he says US customs is no complicated mess. Pay 2% on the receipt. Everything and anything, 2% No receipt? It's up to the customs officer, and the fair ones look things up. Show the receipt, pay 2%.


What's the problem? You fly a black old fashion quarantine flag? No? Pay the 2% off your receipt.


Believe it or not, foreigners don't understand that. Lots of Americans try to get around that. Simple: Pay 2% of what's on the receipt.


Argue? Sure. If you enjoy that. In the end, pay 2% You have examples otherwise? Okay. Just pay 2%
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:13   #8
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Re: What's meaning of," not for sale to U.S. citizens while in U.S Waters" ?

The import duty on boats is only 1.5 % and the documentation fees are reasonable. State sales tax would be the big number.
The VAT is for Euro boats. If the VAT has been paid then I believe you can keep a boat in the eurozone forever regardless of where it is flagged. US citizens are only allowed there 90 days but they are trying to change that.
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:58   #9
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Re: What's meaning of," not for sale to U.S. citizens while in U.S Waters" ?

It would seem to me, given the above discussion, that paying the low customs duty would be the way to go, and then attempt to register (and use) the vessel in a tax-friendly state. On the East Coast, those are Rhode Island and Delaware (no sales or use tax). Also, NC and SC are friendly as they have low tax caps. You can see all the pertinent info on BoatUS.com/government affairs/state information.

But, if you are a resident of a state and it has a sales & use tax, you will be responsible to pay it upon sailing into it's waters, even if you registered the boat in a tax-free state. Also, lengthy stays in states may require registration there. The BoatUS site explains this as well. Once you register, expect a visit from the tax man, if they find no record of your paying tax in their state.
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:51   #10
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Re: What's meaning of," not for sale to U.S. citizens while in U.S Waters" ?

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It would seem to me, given the above discussion, that paying the low customs duty would be the way to go, and then attempt to register (and use) the vessel in a tax-friendly state. On the East Coast, those are Rhode Island and Delaware (no sales or use tax). Also, NC and SC are friendly as they have low tax caps. You can see all the pertinent info on BoatUS.com/government affairs/state information.

But, if you are a resident of a state and it has a sales & use tax, you will be responsible to pay it upon sailing into it's waters, even if you registered the boat in a tax-free state. Also, lengthy stays in states may require registration there. The BoatUS site explains this as well. Once you register, expect a visit from the tax man, if they find no record of your paying tax in their state.
Except some states have a time period of ownership, after which you no longer have to pay the sales/use tax, whether you've paid it somewhere else or not. I called and asked the Maine tax folks about this before I bought my boat. They do have a requirement that you "use" the boat out of state, not just store it until the time period expires. In my case, because of the location where I bought my boat, the time of year, condition of certain boats systems, my wife's training status at her new job, and length of the waiting list to get a mooring in our local harbor, it was impractical for us to sail the boat to Maine right away anyway and we wanted to enjoy cruising in places we won't be able to reach during summer vacations once we eventually get the boat to Maine. The fact that the time period for paying Maine sales/use tax will have expired by the time we finish cruising points further south and get the boat to Maine is just a happy coincidence. In Maine, the time period is one year but in Massachusetts I believe it's only 6 months.
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Old 02-04-2015, 11:14   #11
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Re: What's meaning of," not for sale to U.S. citizens while in U.S Waters" ?

In Florida it is also six months, but (and this is a very relevant "but" in this case) the six months has to have been spent in the jurisdiction of some other taxing authority of the United States. So, six months using the boat in Delaware, and then bring it to Florida--you owe Florida no use tax. Six months using the boat in the Bahamas, and then bring it to Florida--you will have to pay Florida the use tax.
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