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Old 13-11-2012, 08:17   #1
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U.S. Boat Registration...

I admit I have absolutely NO idea what I'm doing.

I bought a boat in Florida, I'm in Colorado, I'll shortly sail it out to the carib and won't be back in the U.S. for a couple of years.

The broker told me I had 90 days to get it out of FL or I'd have to register it there.

Do I just register it there? Register it in CO? Don't register it at all?
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Old 13-11-2012, 08:19   #2
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Re: U.S. Boat Registration...

It's the sales tax you have to worry about. If you've already paid FL tax, just register it there.
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Old 13-11-2012, 08:28   #3
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Re: U.S. Boat Registration...

and what if I haven't? Check tax rates on vessels between the two states and go with the smaller?
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Old 13-11-2012, 08:32   #4
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Re: U.S. Boat Registration...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sentientcj View Post
I admit I have absolutely NO idea what I'm doing.

I bought a boat in Florida, I'm in Colorado, I'll shortly sail it out to the carib and won't be back in the U.S. for a couple of years.

The broker told me I had 90 days to get it out of FL or I'd have to register it there.

Do I just register it there? Register it in CO? Don't register it at all?
Make sure the vessel is registered with the USCG with you being the new owner.

As for the state, you will want to register it with your state of residence. If you register it in FL, you will be required to pay the taxes there, which may be higher than your state (no state income tax so the taxes may be higher).

You must get it out of FL within 90 days to prevent the taxes.

If you do not register it, when (or if) you come back, you may be faced with a situation that could get complicated. Like trying to transfer a title of a car which you bought 4 years ago.

The vessel will eventually need to be registered in what ever state you keep it (if you keep it in the states). This is due to the boating laws of the states. It gives them a reason to charge for the sticker.

Wow.....that was a lot.

James L
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Old 13-11-2012, 08:32   #5
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Re: U.S. Boat Registration...

If you haven't you've got 90 days to get out of FL.
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Old 13-11-2012, 08:37   #6
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Re: U.S. Boat Registration...

Thanks for the help guys.

So if I don't register it, and sail it out of FL before the 90 days, can I sail into the Bahamas/carib without any registration or will that be a problem?
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Old 13-11-2012, 08:41   #7
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Re: U.S. Boat Registration...

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Originally Posted by sentientcj View Post
Thanks for the help guys.

So if I don't register it, and sail it out of FL before the 90 days, can I sail into the Bahamas/carib without any registration or will that be a problem?
It will be a problem. You don't need a documented (USCG) vessel to go to the Bahamas but you should have, at the least, a State registration.
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Old 13-11-2012, 10:06   #8
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Re: U.S. Boat Registration...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sentientcj View Post
Thanks for the help guys.

So if I don't register it, and sail it out of FL before the 90 days, can I sail into the Bahamas/carib without any registration or will that be a problem?
If you are working with a Yacht Broker, the Marine Title Company should register or document the boat for you as part of their fees.

If the vessel doesn't leave Florida within the 90 day grace period, then you will be subject to 6% sales tax on the vessel's purchase price, up to a maximum tax of $18,000.

You should probably document the boat using your Colorado address and get it out of Florida within 90 days of purchase to void sales tax.

Remember, in most states, the boat is also subject to use tax in whatever state it spends more than six months in.

Here is a link to a fact sheet from the Florida Department of Revenue explaining Sales Taxes on Boats purchased in Florida.
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Old 13-11-2012, 10:44   #9
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Re: U.S. Boat Registration...

I spoke to a lawyer about this and his advice was to pay the state tax/fees/whatever somewhere. Since I live in Florida and will probably be sailing it there (even if I am planning to go to the Bahamas within 90 days as you are) paying the 6% sales tax seems like the thing to do.

There are a lots of stories about states finding out about boats being bought by residents or boats being sailed into their waters and going after the boat owner for back taxes. Another thing to keep in mind is where you will be keeping the boat. Any boat imported into the Bahamas has a 10% tax (hope I got that right). If you keep the boat in Florida for 180 days a year, even if it is registered in another state you get hit with user fees; and most states are the same or worse. Nothing against CO, but I doubt you boat will ever be in the state.

Some folks set up a corporation in DE and register the boat there, but again if the state you keep the boat in thinks you are trying to pull a fast one they will hit you for back taxes.

Perhaps the most important consideration is how much tax you will be paying to FL, or where ever, and how expensive it will be to try and avoid paying the tax. Probably for under $US10k taxes trying to avoid paying may mean you will have some state tax collector looking for you, and in some cases more than one state may come after you.
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Old 13-11-2012, 12:02   #10
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Re: U.S. Boat Registration...

Here is a topic I know a LOT about. Yes, by all means get it out of FL before the 90 days are up.

I have a large sailboat, documented, purchased in NC in 2009. NC doesn't charge sales tax on used boats sold to out of state owners so I got a pass.
I stayed there for a year and a half, no problem. No sales tax and no property tax.

Headed for FL...slowly, savoring the trip...and stopped in GA. Same deal, very lax enforcement, so much so that nobody takes it seriously. I did register it in GA (for 44ft boat $150 for three years) just so I wouldn't have to deal with FL water cops who pounce when you sail across the border. They totally don't even ASK about sales tax when you register it here.

Re property tax, it is a county thing in GA and you are not liable for it unless the boat is there for 184 days in the year. CO registration would serve the same purpose, to already be registered. if

My understanding I believe to be correct is that once you clear out of FL under the 90 days, you can stay out for 6 months then go back and register there with no sales tax obligation.

Slipping up to GA is easy and quick. I am in a condominium slip for $250 mo and I could find you one, near St Simon's Island GA.

I'm a licensed captain with some deliveries under my belt and have a couple friends of like experience. Perhaps we could bring it up for you. We took a 2011 Jeanneau 44 from here to Miami this time last year. Of course quick depends on where the boat is in FL and how big it is.

If west coast and too big to get through Okeechobee and under the fixed bridges going around would be a longer delivery. But then there is Alabama. Don't know much about that but might be some folks here who do. But off to the islands or across the line into the nearest hospitable laid back southern state, getting out of FL is important to your cruising kitty, if you care about that.
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Old 16-11-2012, 17:24   #11
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Re: U.S. Boat Registration...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sentientcj View Post
Do I just register it there? Register it in CO? Don't register it at all?
You don't have to register the boat unless you want to. Rather you can federally document the boat. This is what I did when I purchased mine. It's never been 'registered' anywhere; it's just federally documented and that's all that's required. I didn't have to pay sales tax nor set up a corporation. If you're a resident of Colorado and won't take the boat there, you don't need to register it there. You definitely need to get it out of Florida within 90 days, though, to avoid owing sales tax.

When you visit and clear customs in the various countries of the Caribbean, they'll want to see the original of your Certificate of Documentation (which is what the USCG sends you when you document your boat). From what I was told, this is the preferred type of documentation for boats in other countries (i.e. they prefer a boat to be federally documented as opposed to state registered).

When you eventually bring the boat back to the U.S., if you're going to keep it in one state for several months, in the water, they may make you register it. Check with the state when you return.
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Old 16-11-2012, 17:55   #12
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Re: U.S. Boat Registration...

I think you have all the correct information but just to put it all together


1. You have to remove the boat from FL within 90 days or you will be subject to a sales and use tax. Depending on the county it will be around 6% but it is capped at $18,000. If the boat is in a boat yard for repairs you can file for an extention on this but you better save your paperwork.

2. You will need either a state registration or Federal documentation in your name to enter the Bahamas.

3. If you are not a Florida resident and you remove the boat within 90 days and register or document the boat in another state then you are probably exempt from ever paying FL sales tax, even if you return. You may have to stay out of the state for at least six months to be sure.

4. If you return to FL at any time and remain for more than 90 days the state will require you to register in FL (if they know you are here). The cost for this, depending on the age and value of the boat might be $50-$100-$200 tops. FL doesn't care if you are already federally documented, registered in another state, are a legal resident of another state. The only requirement is the boat stays in FL for more than 90 days then FL wants some money.
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Old 16-11-2012, 18:11   #13
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Re: U.S. Boat Registration...

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You don't have to register the boat unless you want to. Rather you can federally document the boat. This is what I did when I purchased mine. It's never been 'registered' anywhere; it's just federally documented and that's all that's required. I didn't have to pay sales tax nor set up a corporation.

You may have "gotten away with it" but that doesn't mean it is proper. Owners of boats bought and kept in Fl over 90 days are required to pay sales tax REGARDLESS of Federal documentation.

The rest of us comply with tax requirements and I consider it an insult every time I read someone trying to get away with something. For every person that doesn't pay his fair share, the rest of us get (more) screwed. You aren't entitled to game the system and serve only to create a bigger burden on the rest of us.
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Old 16-11-2012, 18:49   #14
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Re: U.S. Boat Registration...

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You may have "gotten away with it" but that doesn't mean it is proper. Owners of boats bought and kept in Fl over 90 days are required to pay sales tax REGARDLESS of Federal documentation.

The rest of us comply with tax requirements and I consider it an insult every time I read someone trying to get away with something. For every person that doesn't pay his fair share, the rest of us get (more) screwed. You aren't entitled to game the system and serve only to create a bigger burden on the rest of us.
I think that you need to read his full post. And take a look at the Location in his profile: "Cruising Exumas".

He clearly stated that if you are taking the boat out of FL and the OP wants to go to the Bahamas...

In addition he clearly states that you will need to pay taxes somewhere when you bring it back to the US.

Regards
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Old 16-11-2012, 19:41   #15
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Suggest you check out Rhode Island for mail in boat registration.
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