Based on my research
(I am not a lawyer) I also believe the OP will not have to pay sales tax no matter how long he stays in Florida.
But it's important to understand the "intent to use" test mentioned earlier. This is the rule
used in Massachusetts
. Florida may or may not be the same but most state employees won't have a clue -- except the tax lawyers.
you owe a sales tax on any boat purchase
that you intend at the time of purchase to ever use
in the state. For the first six months of ownership
the "onus" is on you to show that you had no such intent at the purchase. After six months the onus is on the state to show intent. It's very hard for the state to overcome the onus hurdle after six months but it's possible.
There's no hard-and-fast rules. Here are things a court would consider?
Are you a resident of the state? Obviously, most people who buy boats plan to use them where they live. Most sales tax boat cases involve residents.
Does the boat have a dock
in the state? There's a Massachusetts case where a guy paid for a town mooring license
for a 42' boat (with no listed boat name or brand) in the the Massachusetts town where he had a summer house. At the same time he bought a 42' boat out of state. Even though he didn't bring the boat into the state for over six months, the court ruled that the mooring permit
proved intent to use the boat at the time the boat was purchased.
It's unclear to me if for sales tax purposes bringing the boat into the state for even ONE day during the first six months of ownership
might show intent if you are also a resident. You certainly don't want a piece of paper like a fuel dock
receipt or slip rental to document that the boat was in the state during the time that the onus is on you.
And certainly don't make your new boat's CG documentation
hailing port in the state. It's happened
This isn't a place where you want to look like you are gaming the system. It would be asking for trouble for a state resident to bring the boat into the state at six months and one day. With a juicy sales tax assessment possible, some tax department investigator could argue that you must have had intent and were transparently waiting out the six months. A court might agree.
Remember, I am a guy on the internet
so I might be wrong. And this is Massachusetts - so Florida might be different. And it has nothing to do with property taxes or registration fees
- which are usually low enough that it just makes sense to pay them.