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Old 12-05-2019, 05:31   #1
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where to register boat if going to use offshore?

OK guys, need some input here. We're debating where to register our boat to help avoid needless taxes, huge registration fees. We don't need to register it where we are purchasing as we are leaving that state shortly after purchase (FL).

Cayman Islands looks promising for registry for us for a number of reasons. Anyone have any experience registering here? They have an office in Ft. Lauderdale where you can get immediate registry and only main issue seems to be having to check in and out w/US customs if entering or leaving US. We are mostly going to be cruising in US waters or Caribbean.

Our home state of NY has incredibly high sales/use/registration fees so we're trying to avoid that, plus most of the time we're not going to be using it here as planning to be down south half the year.
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:07   #2
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Re: where to register boat if going to use offshore?

Have a look at registry in Belize. Its a very reasonable option.
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:13   #3
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Re: where to register boat if going to use offshore?

ok thanks. will look into it. boat is presently US Coast Guard registered so not sure if that will affect anything. Anyone know? So new to this offshore stuff so I'm sure I'm going to ask a bunch of silly questions!
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:36   #4
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Re: where to register boat if going to use offshore?

Sales tax applies where the purchase was made, with waivers if the vessel is promptly removed from the jurisdiction and not used in the jurisdiction of purchase. Use tax applies where the use of the tangible good occurs.

Registration requirements depend on the specific rules of the jurisdiction upon which your vessel lies, with temporary waivers for short periods of visitation.

Documentation with the USCG is different from State registration, in some States you will need to register a documented vessel.

Just check the rules of the places you intend to visit and stay for a period of time. Devil is in the details and your itinerary.
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:50   #5
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Re: where to register boat if going to use offshore?

Register the boat out of the US, and you'll need a cruising permit--which is issued annually, requires the boat to be out of the US for 15 days to allow you to apply again, and can be denied. You'll be in the US as a foreigner, so to speak, with an offshore flag.

OTOH NY is fairly rigid about sales and use tax. I've no idea what the current wording on that is, but if use tax is due (and it normally is due on the out of state purchase of any motor vehicle including a boat) then it becomes past due, with penalties, fines, and interest, if you are ever caught in NY waters with that boat. Even 20 years down the line.

Make real sure you don't miss something like that.
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Old 12-05-2019, 11:12   #6
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Re: where to register boat if going to use offshore?

Keep the US Documentation. You shouldn't need to register locally anywhere. Someone/something will need to own the boat. A RI or DE LLC can own the boat if you don't want to. I'd avoid offshore registry unless corporate/personal liability is an issue. It creates a headache without solving a problem.

Another option is the USVI. That'd give you US "privileges" without stateside headaches.
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Old 12-05-2019, 11:22   #7
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Re: where to register boat if going to use offshore?

USCG Document it, dont state register.
I had two expensive boats that I purchased (Annapolis and FL) I never paid sales or use tax, sailed them in the Caribe, returned to FL and sold them.
Boats for sale are (were?) excluded from being taxed in FL.
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Old 12-05-2019, 12:37   #8
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Re: where to register boat if going to use offshore?

Neither USCG documentation nor foreign-flagging gets a boat's owner out of having to state-register and/or pay sales/use taxes, property taxes etc

**if** your boat is in state X's jurisdiction for Y definition of time period.

All these regs vary **very widely** from state to state.

And are **only** to be ignored if the boat is **never** again in US waters.

You need to be aware of these regs for **every** jurisdiction you plan to visit, even if only for what you consider to be a short time.
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Old 12-05-2019, 12:55   #9
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Re: where to register boat if going to use offshore?

Basically you are buying a boat as a non resident, moving it out of state (or out of country) within the time allowed. Only returning it to sell.
The problem is if you are sailing it much in a state it needs a displayed registration sticker. If they stop you tell them you are simply in the process of moving the boat out .

So let's say you buy a brand new boat at the Miami boat show with the intention of taking it out of state. They don't require you to pay tax and if you dont pay tax you can't get a registration sticker... and it doesn't have the previous owner's sticker either. But you are allowed to move it.
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Old 12-05-2019, 13:01   #10
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Re: where to register boat if going to use offshore?

Many states use modern data mining and surveillance tech to identify boats that are violating their laws.

Not rocket science, and even old-school methods like human inspectors pay for themselves very quickly.

It becomes necessary with tax courts for the **owner** to provide check-in/out records, timestamped logs, receipts etc to prove innocence, if you can't they can just seize the boat, chase you legally across state lines, etc
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Old 12-05-2019, 15:50   #11
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Re: where to register boat if going to use offshore?

we'd looked at registering in DE also. Part of the issue is the taxes in NY are insane! So that's the main issue...tired of being taxed out the butt for every little thing they can nail us for. We will probably have it in FL for part of the year as I have family there but want to be able to sail around as well. USVI sounds like a possibility as would like to keep my residency as US
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Old 12-05-2019, 17:38   #12
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Re: where to register boat if going to use offshore?

I think FL is 89-day limit, not sure about how long elsewhere to reset and start over, maybe limited days per year.

And if NY is your domicile, likely better to keep the boat away entirely.
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Old 14-05-2019, 08:47   #13
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Re: where to register boat if going to use offshore?

Normally 90 days as stated. From the Florida web site "Effective July 1, 2009, a nonresident purchaser may purchase a boat of 5 net tons of admeasurement or larger (a qualified boat) exempt from tax and keep the qualified boat in Florida for a period of 180 days under certain conditions, rather than 90 days as previously allowed". The "certain conditions" require a bunch of stuff, including a $425 fee. State tax and registration laws are complex. If the purchase is large enough, get an attorney. Before I bought my last boat and used an attorney for an "offshore delivery" I got some really wrong advice from the forums.
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Old 14-05-2019, 09:10   #14
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Re: where to register boat if going to use offshore?

Quote:
Originally Posted by snoozy814 View Post
we'd looked at registering in DE also. Part of the issue is the taxes in NY are insane! So that's the main issue...tired of being taxed out the butt for every little thing they can nail us for. We will probably have it in FL for part of the year as I have family there but want to be able to sail around as well. USVI sounds like a possibility as would like to keep my residency as US
All motorized vessels operating on Florida’s public waterways must be titled and registered. Chapter 328, Florida Statutes, designates that FLHSMV is responsible for issuing vessel registrations and titles. Applications for titles and registrations must be filed at a county tax collector or license plate agent office. Owners have the option of registering their vessel for either one year or two years.

A purchaser of a new or used vessel has 30 days to title and register that vessel. During this 30 day period, the owner must have proof of the date of purchase aboard the vessel. Operating an unregistered vessel after 30 days is a second-degree misdemeanor.

Exemptions from Titling
Non-motor powered vessels less than 16 feet in length.
Vessels owned by the U.S. Government, the State of Florida or its political subdivisions.
Federally documented vessels. Because federally documented boats have been titled by the Federal government.
Vessels used exclusively on private lakes and ponds.
Amphibious vessels which have been issued a vehicle title by FLHSMV.
Vessels used only for demonstration, testing or sales promotional purposes by a dealer or manufacturer.
Vessels issued valid registration certificates and numbers by other states or countries, provided the vessel is not stored or operated in state waters more than 90 days.

Applying for Vessel Title for In-State and Out-of-State Vessels

A vessel not exempt from titling must be titled at the same time it is registered.
To issue a Florida Certificate of Title for a new or used vessel purchased in or outside of Florida, the owner of the vessel must bring the appropriate titling fee and the following documents into a tax collector or license plate agent office:

New vessel – Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO) or its equivalent statement of builder, or if the vessel is purchased in a state that does not require an MCO, the proof of ownership is an executed dealer’s bill of sale. The proof of ownership must include a complete description of the vessel, including manufacturer’s name, year, type, hull material, propulsion, fuel, use of vessel, hull identification number and length.

Used vessel currently titled in FL – Florida title accurately completed for transfer to purchaser.

Used vessel currently titled out of state – Out-of-state title accurately completed for transfer to purchaser.

Used vessel from a state that does not require title – Current registration from that state and a bill of sale from the current registrant. Bill of sale must include complete description of the vessel including manufacturer’s name, year, type, hull material, propulsion, fuel, use of vessel, hull identification number and length.

Vessel Titling Fees
The following fees are assessed when applying for a Florida Certificate of Title in addition to registration fees and any applicable sales tax:

$5.25 titling fee (for electronic title) or $7.75 (for paper title) or $11 (expedited (fast) title).
Additional fee of $1 to record each existing lien.
Additional titling fee of $4 is required for vessels previously registered outside of the state of Florida.

Applying for Vessel Registration

Applications for vessel registration are to be filed with the county tax collector or license plate agent. When applying for registration, the owner must establish proof of ownership by submitting an executed bill of sale, a builder’s contract, a manufacturer’s statement of origin, a federal marine document or another document acceptable to the FLHSMV. If the vessel is required to be titled, the title must be issued prior to the issuance of the registration.

Exemptions from Registration

Non-motor powered vessels less than 16 feet in length.
Non-motor-powered canoe, kayak, racing shell or rowing scull regardless of length.
Vessels used exclusively on private lakes and ponds.
Vessels owned by the U.S. Government.
Vessels used exclusively as a ship’s lifeboat.
Vessels issued valid registration certificates and numbers by other states, provided the vessel is not stored or operated in state waters more than 90 days.
Vessel Registration Fees

Section 328.72(18), Florida Statutes, provides reduced vessel registration fees for a recreational vessel equipped with an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or for a recreational vessel when the owner possesses a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB).

Sales Tax

If sales tax on the total purchase price of the vessel has not been paid at the time of the registration, payment must be made along with the registration and titling fees. If the sales tax has been paid, a receipt for payment must be provided to the county tax collector or license plate agent processing the title and/or registration.

If the vessel is purchased through a vessel dealer, sales tax is due on the vessel, motor (inboard or outboard), trailer and all accessories. If the vessel is purchased though a casual sale (no dealer involved), sales tax is due on the vessel, inboard motor and trailer. An outboard motor and accessories maybe exempt from sales tax if they are separately itemized and priced on the bill of sale.
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Old 14-05-2019, 09:41   #15
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Re: where to register boat if going to use offshore?

Florida law as it applies to non-residents, such as the New Yorker status of the OP.

Specific guidance for boat dealers and brokers:

What is Taxable?

All boat sales and deliveries in this state are subject to Florida’s 6 percent sales and use tax, unless exempt. Generally, Florida boat dealers and yacht brokers must collect sales tax from the purchaser at the time of sale or delivery.
If a boat delivery is into a county that imposes a discretionary sales surtax, the dealer must also collect this tax. Discretionary sales surtax applies only to the first $5,000 of the purchase price.
You can get a Discretionary Sales Surtax brochure (Form GT-800019) and a list of surtax counties and rates (Form DR-15DSS) from our Internet site at Untitled 1.
Effective July 1, 2010, the maximum tax on the sale or use of a boat or vessel is $18,000. This includes both sales tax and discretionary sales surtax. For more information and detailed instructions on this maximum tax see Tax Information Publication number 10A01-07 issued on June 22, 2010.

What is Exempt?

Boats Sold to Nonresidents

A nonresident may purchase a boat tax-exempt if sold by or through a registered boat dealer or yacht broker. The nonresident must remove the boat from Florida.
The following requirements must be met:
• The purchaser must sign an affidavit stating that he or she has read the law and rules regarding the specific exemption claimed and will remove the boat from Florida.

A boat of less than 5 net tons of admeasurement must leave Florida within
10 days of purchase or immediately be placed in the care, custody, and control of a registered repair facility for repairs, additions, or alterations. The boat must leave Florida within 20 days after completion of the repairs.

If the boat is 5 net tons of admeasurement or larger, the purchaser may obtain a set of Florida Department of Revenue boat decals, which authorize the boat to remain in Florida waters up to 90 days after purchase. This 90-day period may be extended to 180 days with the purchase of a 90-day extension decal. You [the boat dealer / broker] can purchase decals from Revenue’s Boat Enforcement Unit to sell to your customers.

Within 5 days of the date of sale, the dealer must provide us with a copy of the invoice, bill of sale, and/or closing statement; and the original, signed, removal affidavit.
• Within 10 days of removing the boat, the purchaser must furnish us with proof that the boat left Florida. Receipts for fuel, dockage, or repairs purchased outside Florida are acceptable proof, if they identify the boat.
• Within 30 days of removal, the purchaser must furnish us with written proof that the boat was licensed, registered, titled, or documented outside Florida; or provide evidence that he or she has applied for such.
• This exemption does not apply to a Florida resident, an entity where the controlling person is a Florida resident, or a corporation where any officers or directors are Florida residents.
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