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Old 11-11-2013, 01:22   #1
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New (to me) Boat Registration and Refit Questions

In December I'll be purchasing a new (to me) boat.

I'll be purchasing the boat in Texas and I currently live in Tennessee, which is where I'll document the vessel. I have no plans to take the boat to Tennessee, but I've checked with my County Clerk about any TN tax that may be required and she has told me that I don't need to pay any TN Sales Tax. There is some work that I plan on completing shortly after taking position which include a quick bottom job and a little more intensive Teak Deck removal.

That being said, I have two quick questions that I would love to get some input on and both questions are somewhat dependent on each other, so bare with me.

First concern is where would I need to pay a Sales or Use Tax.

I believe that since the boat will be Documented in Tennessee, I have 90 days after the transfer to either register the boat in Texas and then pay the 6% Sales Tax or move the boat.

I'm considering spending NEXT winter in the Bahamas with a slow migration from Houston to Mobile/Pensacola area, then to Tampa, on to Key West, then up the Stream to Bimini by December 13/January 14 to settle in for the winter.

This comes to my next contemplation?

Would it be cheaper to get the Bottom Job and Deck Work done in the Clear Lake area in Texas, or in the Mobile/Pensacola?

You see where I'm going with this, right?

Now, Alabama has a Use Tax or 2%, but they also have the 90 day requirement before qualification, and FLA is 7% with a 90 day qualification as well, I think

So if I departed TX around the 90 day mark and transited to Mobile, did (or did not do any of the work there depending on $$ of work) I could bounce between Florida and Alabama to complete the deck work, then proceed south where I would then be out of the country for the next several months.

Is it true that there is an exemption of sales tax if I own the boat for a year?

I hope I made it clear enough to solicit some advice.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:09   #2
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Re: New (to me) Boat Registration and Refit Questions

Get USCG documentation and keep moving within each States time limit and avoid State taxes. Once out of the Country as long as you have a legal registration, somewhere, nobody cares, however like us you need to go from country to country within their time limits.
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:31   #3
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Re: New (to me) Boat Registration and Refit Questions

Thanks Moondancer, But if I come back to Texas or Mobile or Florida, or any other state, do I then have to pay a Use Tax?

Say I do pay the Texas Sales/Use tax, then after the Bahamas I end up in SC and decide to leave the boat there for a year or two. Would I then be required to pay their 5% Use tax? Or is there a period of time (a year or whatever) that I'm exempt from a sales or use tax and would only have to pay a registration fee?

Getting my info from here...

BoatUS - Government Affairs - State Boating Information Home
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:34   #4
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Re: New (to me) Boat Registration and Refit Questions

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Pete.
Congratulations on your (soon to be) new boat!
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:56   #5
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Re: New (to me) Boat Registration and Refit Questions

Road Island has 0% boat sales and use tax. Not sure if your registered home address and the state in which you have your drivers license governs where you may register you boat. Search past threads - I think this was covered here previously.
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:21   #6
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Re: New (to me) Boat Registration and Refit Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor_Pete View Post
Is it true that there is an exemption of sales tax if I own the boat for a year?
Yes, no, maybe. It all depends on the state. Bring the boat back to Florida ten years later and they are still going to want you to pay a use tax. Florida will only exempt you from use tax if you have owned and used the boat in some other state or territory of the U.S. for more than 6 month--time outside the country doesn't count. Many states have similar sorts of restrictions, but you have to check each state.

Also, a point of terminology. You do not "document" your boat in any particular state. Documentation is a federal thing. Yes, you have to pick a hailing port, but that means almost nothing to anyone. The Coast Guard doesn't care where you pick, doesn't care if either you or your boat has ever been there, doesn't even care if there is any water for a boat there. All they care about is that you make the hailing port someplace in the U.S. Make it Winona, KS if you want to--100 miles from the nearest lake of any decent size. The Coast Guard doesn't care.
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:24   #7
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Thanks for the responses. For clarification, I didn't mean to imply that I was Documenting the boat IN Tennessee, but rather using my home address in Tennessee as it's home port of record.
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