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Old 21-06-2011, 15:59   #1
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Offshore purchase - When can I return?

I bought a used boat in San Diego and did an offshore purchase as we are planning on cruising Mexico for a year or so. So we're moving it to Mexico after 5 months in California. I believe we can't stay longer than 6 months in CA or we'll have to pay Use tax.

I've been trying to figure out how long we need to keep the boat outside of the good old USA. Can I cruise Mexico for a year then come visit CA or OR or WA for a few months? How long can you visit a USA state without being required to pay Sales or Use tax?
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Old 21-06-2011, 16:40   #2
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Re: Offshore purchase - When can I return?

As a Ca. resident in 2003 I bought Imagine in S.t Maarten. At that time the boat could not enter Ca. waters for 6 months, or it is taxed. You can look into documentation via CG, and go straight to the DMV. Ask for a supervisor, and ask them to bring out the big thick book with all the correct answers. There is an import tax without the CG docs too........i2f
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Old 21-06-2011, 16:54   #3
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Re: Offshore purchase - When can I return?

"How long can you visit a USA state without"
You may get yourself in a lot of trouble if you have to ask this.

VISITING has nothing to do with sales and use tax. Your state residency, and the state of the vessel's registration and title, will determine which state tax frules apply. And you should get that information first hand from whatever state you are a resident of, and where the boat will be registered or home ported.

AFTER that, most states have rules requiring the "domestic" reqistration for any motor vehicle (including boats) that is i nthe state for a period of 90 days. Sometimes 181 days in a year, sometimes 183 consecutive days even if they are in different years. You have to check. But as a "visitor" you'll have to keep moving unless you check the state registration requirements.

And of course, if a state decides you've been cheating on the taxes...they'll levy fines, penalties, and interest back to the date of purchase, and leave you to prove otherwise in tax court.
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Old 21-06-2011, 17:03   #4
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Re: Offshore purchase - When can I return?

From my recent experience of buying a boat in Ca, you only have 90 days from date of purchase to pay the tax to DMV. Although I never expect to return the boat to Ca, I had to pay the tax to be able to keep the boat there while prepping it. just a "heads up", as you mention that it's been there for 5 months & you will, presumably, be "clearing-out".
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Old 21-06-2011, 17:26   #5
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Re: Offshore purchase - When can I return?

1-is not a use tax--is sales(equalization ) tax.
2-after purchasing a boat in kali you MUST leave WITHIN 30 days of purchase or pay it. if you buy offshore, you MUST remain out for 1 full year, thankyou ahnold--he changed back from 90 days to one full year. nice guy. if tax unpaid, kali will lien your documentation and you will pay it one way or another--and their interest suxxxxx.
the bureau you want to contact is board of equalization. good luck. you are already overdue-- they will send you a notice in a coupla months.

i know this as i own 2 documented boats out of kali, san diego to be exact.
you do NOT pay the tax to dmv--they havenothing to do with documented boats in kali. state board of equalization does. they give you 30 days only to fix and leave or pay the damn tax. if you choose to leave, is one full year to remain out before returning to avoid the damntax. thankyou ahnold.
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Old 22-06-2011, 16:49   #6
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Re: Offshore purchase - When can I return?

Clear as mud, isn't it... I called the Consumer Use Tax department at the Board of Equalization and got the skinny from them. When I posted my question here I neglected to mention that I live in Seattle WA. So I am an out of state purchaser who bought a boat in CA, planning on moving it to Mexico.

According to the very nice person at the Consumer Use Tax department I can keep the boat in CA for six months. Then I gotta be out of here or pay the tax. For one year I must be out of CA at least 50% of the time. So I can cruise Mexico for a while then come back to CA.

But if I was a CA resident I can still keep the boat in CA as long as I'm keeping it here for a re-fit. Keep mechanic, yard, and mooring receipts and don't put over 25 hours on the engine meter. If the use is for repair then an offshore delivered boat can stay in CA. Once you are done... head south!
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Old 22-06-2011, 17:20   #7
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Re: Offshore purchase - When can I return?

Pretty much what you describe, from the FAX section of the CA Board of Equalization:

FAQ - Use Tax Exemptions or Exclusions - Board of Equalization

Gotta get outta town before six months...I would plan on staying out for at least the subsequent six months or second half of the year after you bought the boat...

Michael
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Old 22-06-2011, 17:25   #8
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Re: Offshore purchase - When can I return?

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Originally Posted by swvoltz View Post
Clear as mud, isn't it... I called the Consumer Use Tax department at the Board of Equalization and got the skinny from them. When I posted my question here I neglected to mention that I live in Seattle WA. So I am an out of state purchaser who bought a boat in CA, planning on moving it to Mexico.

According to the very nice person at the Consumer Use Tax department I can keep the boat in CA for six months. Then I gotta be out of here or pay the tax. For one year I must be out of CA at least 50% of the time. So I can cruise Mexico for a while then come back to CA.

But if I was a CA resident I can still keep the boat in CA as long as I'm keeping it here for a re-fit. Keep mechanic, yard, and mooring receipts and don't put over 25 hours on the engine meter. If the use is for repair then an offshore delivered boat can stay in CA. Once you are done... head south!
dang-you had a nicer soul than did i--i was told by them i could only keep this boat in kali for 30 days repairing it before i had to leave or pay taxes-- ty....now i have a bone to pick with kali AGAIN..... ty
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:37   #9
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Re: Offshore purchase - When can I return?

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
dang-you had a nicer soul than did i--i was told by them i could only keep this boat in kali for 30 days repairing it before i had to leave or pay taxes-- ty....now i have a bone to pick with kali AGAIN..... ty
Will we EVER not have a bone to pick with California?

I've paid enough money to that damn state, taking care of their citizens, without "living" there and without using many of their "services". Glad I helped pay for other people's children to have a sub-standard education... But I digress...its been good to me in some ways, too. I met my sweetie there.

We are researching this tax thing as we speak...trying to figure out what is best. I'm a Florida resident, here the tax is 6%, or what we've been quoted on the boats we are looking out. BoatUS has some info, but looks like we'll have to contact each state. Buying overseas is an option too, I wonder about Mexico or Guatemala? We've seen several cruisers there that would be of interest to us when we're ready to buy.

Between the CATS and the TAXES, the cruising is starting to stress me out!
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:15   #10
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Re: Offshore purchase - When can I return?

just make sure the cats are taken to vet for full checkup and shots within 10 days of leaving and all paperwork is ina safe place --with you--and dont come back into us for a year after buying one of the 153 boats for sale here in mazatlan/la paz/guaymas..... goood luck.... my mainemix now is soaked--it rained nicely last night and he has soggy pants LOL.. do yours like to play in rain?????
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:30   #11
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Re: Offshore purchase - When can I return?

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just make sure the cats are taken to vet for full checkup and shots within 10 days of leaving and all paperwork is ina safe place --with you--and dont come back into us for a year after buying one of the 153 boats for sale here in mazatlan/la paz/guaymas..... goood luck.... my mainemix now is soaked--it rained nicely last night and he has soggy pants LOL.. do yours like to play in rain?????
We actually have two Maine's....Stella (diva girl) and Mongo (da MAN!) Mongo loves water, he always climbs in the bathtub or shower after we get out and plays in the water, or goes out on the lanai when it's raining. He's so sweet. Stella can't be bothered with such nonsense. Girl pets really are a pain...I do love her though. She'll love the boat life...she likes being waited on.

Ok so I really think we have a plan...for cats AND boat. Our launch date is Nov 2014. I'll send the man to Hawaii (NO sales tax on boats AND a US state) in Dec 2013. He can spend 6 months there and get residency for him and cats, I'll enjoy conjugal visits!! We buy the boat in Mexico in late spring/summer 2014, are residents of a sales tax free state, can get USCG docs. We avoid US sales tax, cats live in "rabies free zone" and thus...we can import them into New Zealand when we stay there a year. I think it's brilliant!!
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:32   #12
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Re: Offshore purchase - When can I return?

awesome plan....sounds like it will work out nicely---
funny how we name our big guys big guy names..lol.. bubba, mongo....lol awesome cats.....
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:52   #13
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Re: Offshore purchase - When can I return?

I seriously think it would work...if the research I've done is accurate... Now if the Mexico brokerages do all the paperwork, etc, from the "US" then it might be an issue. That's a question I'll have to take up with them. I don't want to "cheat" and risk the wrath, but certainly would like to figure out how to get around it legally. The offshore delivery (3 miles offshore) sounds brilliant also! The amount of money we're talking about just to pay a state when I plan on leaving for 5 years is enough to finance a years cruising!


Zee---I won't hijack the thread any longer with cat talk but I put some pics up in my profile album of them. Would love to see Bubba. Mongo is 18 lbs, Stella a petite 10 lbs.
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:58   #14
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Re: Offshore purchase - When can I return?

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Originally Posted by DiverChick71 View Post
I seriously think it would work...if the research I've done is accurate... Now if the Mexico brokerages do all the paperwork, etc, from the "US" then it might be an issue. That's a question I'll have to take up with them. I don't want to "cheat" and risk the wrath, but certainly would like to figure out how to get around it legally. The offshore delivery (3 miles offshore) sounds brilliant also! The amount of money we're talking about just to pay a state when I plan on leaving for 5 years is enough to finance a years cruising!


Zee---I won't hijack the thread any longer with cat talk but I put some pics up in my profile album of them. Would love to see Bubba. Mongo is 18 lbs, Stella a petite 10 lbs.
the broker here in mazatlan is a fella from usa--he takes care of the papers....
bubba is only 16 pounds-- stunted growth in babyhood from bad kat food-- fancy feast was recalled then for melamine....oops--pix on his facebook page --bubba daboatkat....LOL
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