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Old 19-01-2008, 21:39   #16
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It sure seems the picture is very different that first glance in this thread would seem. It appeared initially that Florida is charging sales taxes (what? 7% or more) on any boat that comes into FL waters.

Reality is they do not, have a realistic and fair method for dealing with all this and no draconian taxation nightmare is playing out.

Good thing too... if I ever do boat through coastal FL I would hate to have to play miscreant.



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Old 19-01-2008, 23:33   #17
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Free trade...

Does the United States not have some sort of free trade agreement that would make taxing transients illegal?

Under Section 92 of the Australian Constitution trade between states must be free.
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Old 20-01-2008, 01:15   #18
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Just for the record, does anyone know what the State of Florida considers the limit of their jurisdiction (1 Mile off shore?) and the Federal waters (3 miles?) & International waters 7 miles? and eez 200 Miles? How about it?

I grew up in South Florida, still visit family there, but can feel my back getting up reading about this... this... #$*^%&**
<oops ezzzeee>
I think it is just another case of state government greedily overreaching for the money of visitors, who apparently gov thinks are rich without bounds.

Go sieze some drug boats, autos and homes and sell them for your money. Leave the most docile of peoples (sailboaters) alone, to float through navigable waters without harrassment, for pity sakes.

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Old 20-01-2008, 08:58   #19
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The territorial jurisdiction of the state of Florida has been held to extend three miles from the Atlantic coastline of Florida into the Atlantic, and nine miles from the Gulf coastline of Florida into the Gulf of Mexico. United States v. States of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama & Florida, 363 U.S. 1, 129, 80 S.Ct. 961, 1030, 4 L.Ed.2d 1025 (1960).
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Old 20-01-2008, 09:29   #20
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First: I live in Florida. Second, the powers that be don't much care what I think. Third, you're never going to successfully beat the tax man. Maybe some little victories here and there but in the end he / she will get ya. But; and this is a big but; in FL if your boat is over a certain age you can provided you paid your tax somewhere and it was more than the FL amount, you can register your boat as an Antique. We did and I almost hesitate to say that the registration fee is a whooping; approximately $4.00. Yes that is four dollars. I asked when I registered it that way if there was any resrictions to the use of it (like antique cars aren't suppose to travel so far etc) and the tax collector said none.

For all of you this won't be an answer but for some with classic boats, or some good ol' boats this might help to ameliorate the situation.

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Old 20-01-2008, 09:54   #21
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I made my comment based on the following, from the link to the TX site you posted:
Quote:
Title

Do I need to have a Texas title for my boat?
Effective January 1, 1994, all motorboats and all outboard motors must be titled. Also sailboats 14 feet and over in length must be titled.
  • All motorized boats, regardless of length;
  • All sailboats 14 feet in length or longer or any sailboat with an auxiliary engine(s); and
  • All internal combustion (gasoline/diesel powered) outboard motors must be titled.
Exempted vessels — USCG Documented vessels, all (non-motorized) canoes, kayaks, punts, rowboats, or rubber rafts (regardless of length) when paddled, poled, or oared and sailboats under 14 feet in length when windblown.
Vessels that are currently registered and not titled must be titled when transferred. Sailboats 14 feet and over will be registered and titled as owners become aware of these requirements. Currently owned untitled outboard motors must be titled when transferred.
Now maybe its an "ambiguity"....but they used the word "all" and then cited "Exempted vessels" making it appear that the USCG Documented vessels are exempt from the requirements, as well as certain other vessels.

If, per TX law, USCG Documented vessels are "exempt", then therein lies the difference.....FL does not permit an exemption to registration or the sojourner's permit, unless the boat leaves FL waters by a certain date after entering. Maybe the people in TX are as confused as some of the people in FL? I am referring to the "registration people"....as we have some offices that know little or nothing about the sojourner's permit, and I experienced the fact that most of their people in FL knew nothing about the "Antique Boat" exemption that reduced fees to about $4.00 a year.

Here is a link to a tax office in FL that shows the registration fees, and cites the "Antique Boat" fees of $2.25....yes... $2.25, and they add a buck or two for "administrative fees".... I think mine was actually about $4.25 on the last boat. I think the "only" hook...is that you have to be a "Florida Resident"....and they even give you an "Antique Vessel" sticker that goes on the boat as well.

Boat Titles & Reg.

Here is a link to a forum article that has the actual documents and explanations with requirements.....I will be filing mine come this August when my current "registration" expires..and save some bucks.....

Florida Antique Vessel Reg
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Old 20-01-2008, 11:14   #22
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If your boat is more than 30 years old you are entitled to "antique vessel status". My fee was $4.25. But, and this is a biggie for power boats, the engines must be the original engines that came with the boat. You have to attest to this on the application.

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Old 21-01-2008, 05:29   #23
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The old title vs. registration issue. The title mentioned in the section above is different from the registration (tax) of the boat required by the state. Once a boat is documented the title is invalid and as such they are exempted by the state, but taxes and registration are still due. Like Florida, if a boat is registered (taxed) in another state there is a 90 day grace period before registering it in Texas. Beyond that it sounds like Florida has gone one better by allowing vacationers to stay longer than 90 days with the Sojourners pass. From that point of view they seem to be making accommodations to cruisers, not penalizing them. I have to admit that the Putnam county website linked above seems to use the registration/title language in a very confusing way.

It sounds like Florida needs to take care of a couple of minor issues since they are the major east coast arrival point and some of those boats may have been out several years. But when should Florida begin to register boats in their waters?
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Old 21-01-2008, 11:27   #24
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Quote:
Does the United States not have some sort of free trade agreement that would make taxing transients illegal?
Not applicable because there is no federal tax involved here and there is no restraint of trade. You find the issues of trade restrictions don't get interpreted from the specific back to the general. You can't abstract anything you want as restriction of trade. It's almost exactly the opposite - you can't. So a US trade agreement means nothing concerning a FL tax under any situation you might imagine.

It was also mentioned in the Marcos Island anchoring case and was totally dismissed too even though Marcos Island eventually lost for other more appropriate reasons. In that case 10 reasons were cited and only three were valid the rest were thrown out. But you only need one to win.

Quote:
I have to admit that the Putnam county website linked above seems to use the registration/title language in a very confusing way.
It's pretty common here too

If you forget about the word registration it's a lot easier as it gets used on both sides of the fence. Title is ownership and the rest is just taxes. With USCG documentation there is no title document that exists any place. Only the certificate of documentation is a real piece of paper and it expires every year.

State registration is just as convoluted. I sold my documented boat this past year with a dinghy. In VA an 8 ft dinghy is not issued a title because it's too small. I have to fill out a title transfer when I sold it even though one does not exist. If I fail to transfer the non existent title I have to pay personal property tax until I'm dead or lie and say the boat was destroyed.

It's all just ownership and taxes. The paperwork is just the game you have to play to get from one to the other.
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Old 21-01-2008, 20:39   #25
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let me get this straight, if I buy a boat in Mexico or North Carilina, I will still have to pay sales tax to register it in Florida? As I understand it, there is no sales tax on used boats in N.C. and if you "buy" the boat offshore (8 miles) in Mexico, there is no sales tax.
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Old 22-01-2008, 05:23   #26
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Jerryhartlein,

Quote:
if I buy a boat in Mexico or North Carilina, I will still have to pay sales tax to register it in Florida?
There is no sales tax when you buy a boat outside the sate of Florida it's called "use tax". Different name same tax. Florida really does not care where you buy your boat. They feel you should be free to buy it any place you like for the best price. They are perfectly happy to wait until you bring the boat home and then collect the tax.

Quote:
if you "buy" the boat offshore (8 miles) in Mexico, there is no sales tax.
You have to come home some time. If you bought the boat and never came home that would work as far as Florida is concerned. It may not work when you come back to shore some place. "You owe the tax when you show up." is the better way to look at it. If you moved around enough you might effectively beat the system but there are ways you could still loose as well. You are going to need to establish a title at some point and that usually means there is a paper trail to you.
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Old 30-01-2008, 17:05   #27
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Originally Posted by jerryhartlein View Post
let me get this straight, if I buy a boat in Mexico or North Carilina, I will still have to pay sales tax to register it in Florida? As I understand it, there is no sales tax on used boats in N.C. and if you "buy" the boat offshore (8 miles) in Mexico, there is no sales tax.
There is only one possibility that I can think of that "may" allow you to avoid paying sales tax to FL....if you are a Florida Resident. You could buy the boat elsewhere, as in elsewhere that does not impose sales tax...like Delaware, and title the boat to a "Delaware Corporation" that you have set up, and then possibly after leaving the boat "outside" of Florida for at least 6 full months....bring it to FL. That might work, but I'm thinking that the possibility strongly exists that FL's Department of Revenue is going to have a problem with that scheme...as the paper trail is going to turn you up, and in that event....they may try to hand you your head in a basket for tax evasion.....

Florida's sales and use tax laws are very "inclusive" and really don't allow for any "wiggle room"....especially where FL residents are concerned.

The only real way to avoid the sales tax would be to establish residency elsewhere...like Delaware, buy the boat, keep it out of FL for over 6 months, then bring it to FL. However, the pitfall there is that you would then be liable to Delaware for income taxes, et al. Its a "catch 22" situation.

Thats why, when we bought our trawler a few months ago, I had a closing agent in FL do the paperwork, and required our FL based broker to show the deal as originating in FL....and made sure that the sales taxes got paid on the boat. Having owned businesses in FL.... I am quite familiar with the revenue/tax people in FL, and have no desire to end up at their mercy.

But remember....even though you have to pay a sales or use tax in FL as a resident....there is no income tax paid to FL, nor are there "property" taxes paid on a boat in FL....so its a "one-time" issue.
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Old 30-01-2008, 20:01   #28
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Quote:
The only real way to avoid the sales tax would be to establish residency elsewhere...like Delaware, buy the boat, keep it out of FL for over 6 months, then bring it to FL.
If you can establish a corporation then it becomes a business and subject to the other side of the fence. When the corporation no longer exists all the asests of the corporation fall to who ever gets it as 100% federal income. You'll owe federal income tax on the value of the boat and then owe the value of the boat as FL use tax too. Things can be worse.

If you can keep the boat in DE such as In Summit North Marina in Bear, DE (I bought a boat there) and never bring it to FL for more than 6 months you can avoid the sales tax. The sailing on the C & D canal sucks only slightly more than the Delaware River.
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Old 30-01-2008, 21:13   #29
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I agree with Pogo

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I think it is just another case of state government greedily overreaching for the money of visitors, who apparently gov thinks are rich without bounds.
To make things fare the Florida government (and all the other states that charge sales "use" tax on visiting boats) aught to charge the snow birds who drive down in there RV's every year! Why discriminate against just boaters?

I guess its just not enough that visitors buy fuel, food, souvenirs, ,etc etc...... The tax's are like icing on the cake.
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Old 30-01-2008, 21:50   #30
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Originally Posted by Tom C View Post
I agree with Pogo

To make things fare the Florida government (and all the other states that charge sales "use" tax on visiting boats) aught to charge the snow birds who drive down in there RV's every year! Why discriminate against just boaters?

I guess its just not enough that visitors buy fuel, food, souvenirs, ,etc etc...... The tax's are like icing on the cake.
In my opinion, this isn't just a Florida issue. When an economy turns down significantly, tax revenues shrink. Every city, county, state and even the Federal Government will suffer from diminished tax revenues for the foreseeable future. And only the Federal Government has the (self-granted) right to run a deficit - every other governmental entity must balance their revenue collection and spending.

Thirty years ago in California, we passed Prop. 13, the so-called People's Initiative to Limit Property Taxation. When I first came to Southern California from Colorado in late 1975, I was astonished by how clean and new everything seemed, and I was particularly impressed by the roadways. I had never been on such well-maintained, smooth roads. Of course, it took a lot of money to keep them that way.

When Prop. 13 came along a couple of years later, I was among those naive people who believed that when the revenue was reduced, the state would be forced to trim its bloated workforce, but the level of services and the maintenance of infrastructure like the roadways I loved would continue - a magical, Utopian, increase in productivity.

Of course, as a much older and, I hope, wiser taxpayer, I know now that that isn't how it works. The workforce didn't decrease - far from it. But the services and infrastructure sure changed. All those butter-smooth roadways began to resemble those in poorer areas of the country, and areas where the climate took a heavy toll on the infrastructure.

So I now know that when times get tough, those who are our "public servants" will use every tool at their disposal to extract as much as they can from the public they serve. From their point of view, it's a question of survival.

TaoJones
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