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Old 24-08-2015, 07:07   #1
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How long can I cruise FL without tax?

Hi All,

I'm not looking for specific tax advice on the internet, but I am a little confused by what I've found so far, and I'm sure that others here have had the same issue, so here goes:

Our boat is registered in Alaska, and sales tax has never been paid on it. Based on what I can find, we are only allowed 20 days per calendar year in FL before they come knocking for 6%?! It doesn't look like the 180 day exemption applies to us, we have owned the boat for years.

Does anybody know someplace where we can find some better info, or are we in fact limited to 20 days? I would think that we're missing something here, or am perhaps just hoping...

Thanks, TJ
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Old 24-08-2015, 07:26   #2
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Re: How long can I cruise FL without tax?

Interesting in seeing the responses to this! We have a boat in charter and have never paid taxes on it either - by the time we bring it to any place in the US it will be 6 years old.. Florida will likely be the first stop in the US as well.
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Old 24-08-2015, 07:32   #3
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Re: How long can I cruise FL without tax?

Check the FL Dept of Revenue and the FL FWC websites if you want the information direct.

I researched this issue very carefully when I purchased my last boat as I was working in New England and was a dual resident at the time.

Bottom line, if you are a legal resident of another state, you buy and use the boat outside of outside FL, and later move to Florida then, even if you become a FL resident, you do not pay the FL sales and use tax. You will have to register the boat in FL if you're here over 90 days but that is only $100-$200 or so.

Depending on your situation you might have to wait at least six months before you can bring the boat to FL and be exempt from the tax.
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Old 24-08-2015, 07:32   #4
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Re: How long can I cruise FL without tax?

http://dor.myflorida.com/Forms_libra...t/gt800005.pdf

You have to register your boat in Florida if planning to stay >90 days. Registration fees apply (be aware, some counties have a surcharge on top of state fees - call any county tax collector's office to get a quote).

http://www3.flhsmv.gov/dmv/proc/fees/fees-04.pdf

Since you've owned your boat more than 6 months, no sales or use tax are due.
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Old 24-08-2015, 07:48   #5
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Re: How long can I cruise FL without tax?

Thanks, everyone. We are not planning to spend over 90 days, but maybe a couple of months. Good info.
TJ
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Old 24-08-2015, 08:02   #6
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Re: How long can I cruise FL without tax?

The best advice is to contact the Fl tax office as someone already stated.

Some of the statements made here are contrary to what that office has stated in written documentation.
Our boat is in Rhode Island although we reside in Florida. Having never paid sales tax on the boat as it was purchased in RI, Fl sales tax is required if we keep the boat here longer than 90 days. There are some exceptions to that requirement, however, they are limited and the only RELIABLE advice whether your situation is exempt is not clear.
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Old 24-08-2015, 08:56   #7
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Re: How long can I cruise FL without tax?

I would add that if you paid sales tax in another state that amount is a credit against FL sales tax, if you plan to stay > 90 days IMHO.
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Old 24-08-2015, 09:55   #8
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Re: How long can I cruise FL without tax?

Been there too. SkipMac is Correct. Russ
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Old 24-08-2015, 10:10   #9
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Re: How long can I cruise FL without tax?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Check the FL Dept of Revenue and the FL FWC websites if you want the information direct.

I researched this issue very carefully when I purchased my last boat as I was working in New England and was a dual resident at the time.

Bottom line, if you are a legal resident of another state, you buy and use the boat outside of outside FL, and later move to Florida then, even if you become a FL resident, you do not pay the FL sales and use tax. You will have to register the boat in FL if you're here over 90 days but that is only $100-$200 or so.

Depending on your situation you might have to wait at least six months before you can bring the boat to FL and be exempt from the tax.
Spot on...the key is that you did not buy the vessel with the intent of transferring it within florida waters nor did you have that intent within the first 6 months before entering Florida. After six months you are golden.
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Old 24-08-2015, 10:33   #10
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Re: How long can I cruise FL without tax?

You have until the catch you, which in reality could be indefinite. If you move around the chances are far less than sitting along the ICW.
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Old 24-08-2015, 11:08   #11
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Re: How long can I cruise FL without tax?

What if you sail over 12 nautical miles off shore before your 90 days is up?
You have effectively left the country and your 90 day cycle should restart when you return.

No?
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Old 24-08-2015, 11:34   #12
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Re: How long can I cruise FL without tax?

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
The best advice is to contact the Fl tax office as someone already stated.
I would disagree. The employees at the tax office are experts in managing queues and in filling out forms. They are NOT experts at understanding the tax law. On one occasion, I personally sat down with a supervisor at the tax office, pull up the relevant laws on his computer, and showed him that he was mistaken about the taxes that I owed.

Links have been provided above, to official State of Florida documents, that explain everything you need to know about Florida's sales/use tax on vessels.

Bottom line for the OP, having owned and used the boat in another state for more than 6 months, there will be NO sales or use tax due to Florida when you bring the boat here.

After 90 days in the state you have to register it, but the registration fees are very modest. Unless you own a mega-yacht it will be less than $200, and possibly quite a bit less.
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Old 24-08-2015, 11:41   #13
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Re: How long can I cruise FL without tax?

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
I would disagree. The employees at the tax office are experts in managing queues and in filling out forms. They are NOT experts at understanding the tax law. On one occasion, I personally sat down with a supervisor at the tax office, pull up the relevant laws on his computer, and showed him that he was mistaken about the taxes that I owed.

Links have been provided above, to official State of Florida documents, that explain everything you need to know about Florida's sales/use tax on vessels.

Bottom line for the OP, having owned and used the boat in another state for more than 6 months, there will be NO sales or use tax due to Florida when you bring the boat here.

After 90 days in the state you have to register it, but the registration fees are very modest. Unless you own a mega-yacht it will be less than $200, and possibly quite a bit less.
I agree. I worked as an assistant attorney general, early in my career, and quickly learned that for every clearly written law we had, our various counties had found ten different ways to interpret it.
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Old 24-08-2015, 12:50   #14
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Re: How long can I cruise FL without tax?

Quote:
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What if you sail over 12 nautical miles off shore before your 90 days is up?
You have effectively left the country and your 90 day cycle should restart when you return.

No?
No, its a total of 90 days in florida not 90 consecutive days.

In the end, we ended up using St. Brendan's isle and registering as floridians. As such, our state income taxes went away. Registering our boats in Florida ended up saving us lots and lots of dough.
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Old 24-08-2015, 13:14   #15
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Re: How long can I cruise FL without tax?

Be careful about using St. Brenden and calling yourself a resident. If Florida still has the "wealth tax" they will tax your holdings.

We used St Brenden for our mail while cruising the pacific and they were great. But, if you make it your "residence" Florida can tax you.
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