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Old 07-05-2014, 08:09   #16
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Re: Anybody fight CA over hailing port/Tax BS?

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
They're not the only state to do this. Galaxy Girl just posted a topic on this same issue.

Hailing Port and Tax Implication

Grow up, send them the paperwork and be done with it.
Actually she just asked it as a question, one of her many thousands. And the answer was that hailing port has nothing to do with it. However, the fact she lives in MA could bring a question at some point if she brought the boat there and/or failed to register it elsewhere.

Which adds another question for the OP. Did he register the boat in WA? If he bought it in WA, keeps it in WA, has it registered in WA, then he has no issue with CA, but that doesn't make their question unreasonable.

They're asking a simple question. States do so all the time. You should have a simple answer.

This won't be the first time he'll ever be asked to verify where the boat is kept or how long it's been somewhere if he does a lot of extended cruising. We have sort of the reverse situation on a boat purchased in WA. We may have to prove at some point that it's not been kept in WA for 60 days. It's easy. Registered in FL, although not yet there. WA 4/26-6/11, Alaska 6/12-7/16, Canada 7/17-7/25, WA 7/26-9/15, OR 9/16-9/24, WA 9/25-10/1, Canada 10/2 to ship. Then FL. So a question by the state of WA is expected and will be answered. Someone seeing the boat at the same dock on 4/26 and 9/25 could certainly ask. And the FL Hailing Port and Registration Sticker don't change that.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:25   #17
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Re: Anybody fight CA over hailing port/Tax BS?

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Originally Posted by DotDun View Post
Not true...



FAQs

I've witnessed hailing ports from Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, all locations that aren't even close to water big enough for the vessel displaying the port.
My point wasn't that the fact that the OP listed Hollywood actually meant anything other than it brought to someone's attention the fact that the boat may be in California, and if so then property tax might be due. It only sent up a red flag. (Especially since the boat had previously been in California.) The same red flag likely would not have gone up if he had listed the hailing port as Oklahoma City. Like I said, he just opened the can of worms. It's up to him to close it by answering their questions, and if necessary providing documentation.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:40   #18
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Re: Anybody fight CA over hailing port/Tax BS?

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Originally Posted by oldragbaggers View Post
My point wasn't that the fact that the OP listed Hollywood actually meant anything other than it brought to someone's attention the fact that the boat may be in California, and if so then property tax might be due. It only sent up a red flag. (Especially since the boat had previously been in California.) The same red flag likely would not have gone up if he had listed the hailing port as Oklahoma City. Like I said, he just opened the can of worms. It's up to him to close it by answering their questions, and if necessary providing documentation.
No can of worms, it's a tax collection system run amuck. My point is that USCG hailing port is not evidence enough for CA to simply send a tax bill as it's common knowledge that listed hailing port and vessel location are orthogonal to each other. It's CA's responsibility to prove the transaction happened within their jurisdiction, not the owner's responsibility to prove it didn't happen in CA. Innocent until proven guilty.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:42   #19
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Re: Anybody fight CA over hailing port/Tax BS?

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My point wasn't that the fact that the OP listed Hollywood actually meant anything other than it brought to someone's attention the fact that the boat may be in California, and if so then property tax might be due. It only sent up a red flag. (Especially since the boat had previously been in California.) The same red flag likely would not have gone up if he had listed the hailing port as Oklahoma City. Like I said, he just opened the can of worms. It's up to him to close it by answering their questions, and if necessary providing documentation.
I don't believe the hailing port is the root cause of his issue. I think it simply is that the boat was previously registered in California. And it also isn't a whole can of worms. It's a rather simple question seeking an answer.

Taxing authorities ask those questions all the time. I was required to provide documentation to the state of NC last year proving I did move completely to Florida on July 1, 2012 and documenting that I lived there when I made some money.

Why one wants to start a fight rather than answer a simple question is beyond me. State tax departments have a job, to collect all taxes due. They sometimes have to ask questions to determine if tax is due.

I moved a car to FL. Had to provide proof I'd owned the car more than six months. Simple. No sales or use tax due. Would they have been doing their job if they failed to ask me for proof?
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:23   #20
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Re: Anybody fight CA over hailing port/Tax BS?

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I don't believe the hailing port is the root cause of his issue. I think it simply is that the boat was previously registered in California. And it also isn't a whole can of worms. It's a rather simple question seeking an answer.

Taxing authorities ask those questions all the time. I was required to provide documentation to the state of NC last year proving I did move completely to Florida on July 1, 2012 and documenting that I lived there when I made some money.

Why one wants to start a fight rather than answer a simple question is beyond me. State tax departments have a job, to collect all taxes due. They sometimes have to ask questions to determine if tax is due.

I moved a car to FL. Had to provide proof I'd owned the car more than six months. Simple. No sales or use tax due. Would they have been doing their job if they failed to ask me for proof?
Difference: You are/were asking for something from FL and to avoid paying sales/use tax, you had to provide proof. No proof, you would have paid the higher fee. You were paying NC taxes and then stopped, they have the right to ask why you aren't paying your NC income taxes any more.

The OP has no dealing with CA AND the OP never stated the vessel was previously registered in CA. The OP explained to the CA tax collector the transaction took place in WA, that should have been enough, it's up to the CA to provide proof the OP is lying.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:32   #21
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Re: Anybody fight CA over hailing port/Tax BS?

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Originally Posted by IdoraKeeper View Post
This is an excellent strategy to use when you are done with a boat that's too old and worn out to sell. Put a California hailing port on it and send them a letter saying,"I am never gonna pay!". They will come seize the boat and voila! You are free of your old derelict.
I know this is a joke, but don't even think of it. They will seize everything you own.
They couldn't convict Al Capone as there wasn't enough evidence against him, so they imprisoned him for tax invasion, don't screw with the tax man
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:44   #22
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Re: Anybody fight CA over hailing port/Tax BS?

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Difference: You are/were asking for something from FL and to avoid paying sales/use tax, you had to provide proof. No proof, you would have paid the higher fee. You were paying NC taxes and then stopped, they have the right to ask why you aren't paying your NC income taxes any more.

The OP has no dealing with CA AND the OP never stated the vessel was previously registered in CA. The OP explained to the CA tax collector the transaction took place in WA, that should have been enough, it's up to the CA to provide proof the OP is lying.
The OP didn't state much of anything. But there is strong evidence it was previously registered in California. Previous owner lives in CA and used hailing port in CA. And for the OP to simply state he bought it in WA isn't enough. It is not up to the state to prove he was lying. It's up to him to answer their simple question and not verbally with "trust me" but send them copies of documents. The OP isn't even answering our questions. The OP doth protest too much, methinks.

If I get questioned today in Washington over how long the boat has been here, should I just answer verbally and refuse to provide any documentation of that? Tell him he has to prove I've been here longer.

Sometimes people just prefer ranting to a very simple solution. That's their choice. But it can lead to trouble. With tax authorities it generally goes like this:

Tax Authority: Contact, asking for information.
Respondent: Fail or refuse to provide information.
Tax Authority: Repeat request
Respondent: Ignore
Tax Authority: Charge and shift burden of prove to respondent based on their failure to provide requested information.

Works this way in civil court too between two people.

Person A: Makes claim against Person B in writing.
Person B: Ignores
Person A: Files in Small Claims Court
Person B: Fails to show up in Small Claims Court
Person A: Wins Judgement by default

Key questions of OP remain. Where does he reside and did he at time of purchase? Where has boat been kept since purchase? If he lived in Washington, boat was purchased in Washington, boat has been kept in Washington, then it's really simple to answer. I don't know if that's the case or not.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:48   #23
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Re: Anybody fight CA over hailing port/Tax BS?

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Originally Posted by DotDun View Post
Difference:

The OP has no dealing with CA AND the OP never stated the vessel was previously registered in CA.
I wondered about that but thought maybe everyone else knew that the Zorro actor had lived in CA...
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:56   #24
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Re: Anybody fight CA over hailing port/Tax BS?

Wa state is entirely different. I asked to register a boat there and they would not do it unless the boat was actually in the state. What does CA law state? Can they tax you for a boat that is not in the state?
I mean.... in theory they could just start sending tax bills to everyone who has a boat registered in the country asking all to prove they are somewhere else...?
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:04   #25
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Re: Anybody fight CA over hailing port/Tax BS?

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Innocent until proven guilty.
Not when it comes to taxes.
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:08   #26
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Re: Anybody fight CA over hailing port/Tax BS?

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Originally Posted by BandB View Post
The OP didn't state much of anything. But there is strong evidence it was previously registered in California. Previous owner lives in CA and used hailing port in CA. And for the OP to simply state he bought it in WA isn't enough. It is not up to the state to prove he was lying. It's up to him to answer their simple question and not verbally with "trust me" but send them copies of documents. The OP isn't even answering our questions. The OP doth protest too much, methinks.

If I get questioned today in Washington over how long the boat has been here, should I just answer verbally and refuse to provide any documentation of that? Tell him he has to prove I've been here longer.

Sometimes people just prefer ranting to a very simple solution. That's their choice. But it can lead to trouble. With tax authorities it generally goes like this:

Tax Authority: Contact, asking for information.
Respondent: Fail or refuse to provide information.
Tax Authority: Repeat request
Respondent: Ignore
Tax Authority: Charge and shift burden of prove to respondent based on their failure to provide requested information.

Works this way in civil court too between two people.

Person A: Makes claim against Person B in writing.
Person B: Ignores
Person A: Files in Small Claims Court
Person B: Fails to show up in Small Claims Court
Person A: Wins Judgement by default

Key questions of OP remain. Where does he reside and did he at time of purchase? Where has boat been kept since purchase? If he lived in Washington, boat was purchased in Washington, boat has been kept in Washington, then it's really simple to answer. I don't know if that's the case or not.
You are assuming unsubstantiated information. Per the information provided by the OP, CA learned of the transaction via the USCG documentation center. And my point is the hailing ports listed in the USCG documentation db are not good enough evidence to accuse someone of tax evasion.

If you want to lay down for the tax collector, that's your choice. I'm all for adhering to laws, but I won't stand for abuse. Intimidation by authorities is pure BS, and I'll call it out any/every time I see it.
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:09   #27
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Re: Anybody fight CA over hailing port/Tax BS?

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Wa state is entirely different. I asked to register a boat there and they would not do it unless the boat was actually in the state. What does CA law state? Can they tax you for a boat that is not in the state?
I mean.... in theory they could just start sending tax bills to everyone who has a boat registered in the country asking all to prove they are somewhere else...?
This is different though given that it is Coast Guard Registration, not state registration. Which again is the main reason it seems California is going after him, because the hailing port is Hollywood, CA. It doesn't have to have anything to do with where the boat is, but its all California has to go on and it is somewhat reasonable to think a boat with a CA hailing port is located in the state. I'd at least be willing to be the percentage that are far out number those that aren't.

Still doesn't make it right though. If registration is a requirement in CA, then that should be adequate to catch any boats that reside in the state.
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:22   #28
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Re: Anybody Fight CA over Hailing Port/Tax BS?

Is the OP legally responsible to respond to inquires from a state that he doesn't live in and has made no transactions in?? California should have to show some cause. Name association is not cause.

The OP did all he needs to do he let the tax man know what the situation was. Why would he have to prove it?

Seems we have slipped through the looking glass.
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:36   #29
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Re: Anybody Fight CA over Hailing Port/Tax BS?

In california personal property taxes on boats are based on the boats location on January 1 at midnight. Move the boat out of state on Jan 2 and your still on the hook for the taxes for the whole year.

Also if a boat is registered in California but moved out of state, and not registered anywhere else, the taxes are still due to the state of california. Even if your in mexico. This was explained to me by the nice folks as the tax assessors office. Needless to say the find folks at the tax assessors office are a bit aggressive.

Its why I paid taxes to contra costa county for a few years after I left Marina Bay in Richmond. I had to show a tax bill from a different county, before Contra Costa would remove my boat from the rolls. For me just saying my boat was no longer in contra costa county was not enough, I had to show a tax bill from another county first.


The county tax assessors do check the CG web site for documented boats with hailing ports in CA. They WILL send you a nice letter demanding tax, untll you can show proof that you pay property taxes somewhere else. Got to love california. Mind you I do have a homestead exemption on my boat too, so its not all bad.
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:41   #30
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Re: Anybody Fight CA over Hailing Port/Tax BS?

Wow- a few issues here. From the original post-the boat was bought in WA, Olympia to be precise. Thus, the boat is in WA. He documented the boat, or it was already documented it and he made the appropriate ownership changes in the documentation. Per WA law, the boat had to have been registered in WA as well.

So, some asked how does CA get in on this? Many states routinely search the USCG database. Many states, especially CA, assume that a boat with a CA homeport is in fact in CA. Per CA law and their regs, they can make that assumption. Their jurisdiction derives from the physical location of the boat and/or the residence of the owner. So, with a CA homeport, they assume physical location in CA and assert jurisdiction based on that assumption and assess the tax. Right, wrong or indifferent, it is CA law. It then becomes the owner's burden to show them they are wrong. This is normally pretty easy to do, the OP has plenty of readily available documentation to show it. If you fail to do so, CA's assumption of jurisdiction and assessment of tax will stand and they will take measures to collect. That fight is not a pleasant one, it can be very expensive (especially given that this is a $6k boat) and it is one you need to avoid.

Call CA today, get from them a lost of documents they want, make sure you get a name to send them to, make sure you keep that name and phone # in your files, send it to that person, registered, return receipt. Should resolve the issue.
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