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Old 04-07-2007, 10:05   #16
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I bought a boat in New York, left immediately, and got federal documentation for it listing Santa
Cruz, CA as a home port. About 2 years later the California tax people got notified by the Coast Guard that it was home ported in Calif and sent me a letter. In response, I gave them about a half-inch of paper showing that it had never been near Calif since I bought it. I got a nice letter back from the Calif franchise tax board saying that I was exempt from the use tax.

If are a Colorado resident and documented the boat with a Colorado home port, I doubt if Calif would even bother you, but just be sure that you keep copies of your receipts showing that the boat was elsewhere.

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Old 04-07-2007, 10:32   #17

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Don, it sounds like you got lucky and perhaps California allows people to "import" used vehicles without paying tax--after a certain time period. Most states do. But sales/use tax is also still levied based on whether you are a resident of a state where a sale takes place, and other factors. If you were a NYS resident when you bought the boat--NYS can probably still come after you. Little problems like that.

Some people get lucky. Others, loose their boats.

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Old 04-07-2007, 15:05   #18
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Colorado...I reckon this is a day-late-dime-short judging by the post dates, but in case you're still around or anyone else is in your scenario I'd suggest looking into the following....

Just reggie it with Delaware. Going through a documentation agent should cost you around 300-400 bucks (Jan Saxton is in this range last time I used them...great company, btw). This included the state 3 year reggie, fedex to/from all parties and their time.

Now I've since learned you can deal direct with Delaware and do it for around 125-150 bucks (for three years!) depending on how you want to mail the paperwork (and where you are in the world). (PM me and I'll send you an email to a lady that works in this state department)

Doing this has nothing to do with the issue of where you're keeping the boat. I read that you wanted to buy, were leaving and not coming back for a non-issue with residency, home port, etc. It's registered, who cares! On the move.....

For my home port I just listed Delaware. Never been there.

If one is an on-the-move cruiser type you just jump around states as needed. I realize this is more rare then norm for most.

As far as I know, anyone can reggie their boat in Delaware. I helped some Japanese friends do it with their previously reggied Japanese yacht and we were in the North Pacific at the time.

For what it's worth, while on the subject, I notice people stress over documentation/registration too much...especially us Americans. From my experience/dumb luck the paperwork end isn't a big deal. On the first boat all I had was a fax from my lawyer saying the paperwork was being processed and that got me through the Bahamas, DR, PR, VI area, etc till the BlueBook came (and every yacht seems suspect for drugs in this area by their attitude).

A Delaware reggie was perfectly fine for 20 some other countries I went though. People just want to see something.

Side note - the Delaware reggie itself is pretty pathetic looking. A little cheapo poorly printed blue plastic card and some boat stickers. Saxton made their own 'official' looking doc on their letterhead with an Office Max gold-star sticker pressed with their own seal. Good idea I thought! Next time I'm making my own to....type it up in Word, run thru the inkjet/laser printer and put a fancy looking sticker on it! Appearance is 90% of the battle! The numbers are all legit, so again no big deal.

You do not 'need' USCG Documentation as I've seen/heard many (mostly untraveled) people saying. USCG Doc has the advanantage, last I read up, that the fee is small at first and then you just need to keep sending the paperwork in at the appropriate time. Now your bank or lendor will most likely demand USCG Doc so they can repo your boat if needed. Own it free and clear, no worries.

I researched into USCG when I first got into the game and came across thinking the whole thing was just for creditors to be able to get at boat/ship anywhere in the world. Some interesting old history here. People around Florida (who again never seem to leave) kept telling me I'd never be able to clear in and out without USCG Docs! ...anyone know how this rumor got started???

I've also met some old-timers who just make their own reggie up and have gone a decade like this. They see it as a necessity for clearing in and out, that's it. They've owned the boat free and clear for years and didn't seem to concerned with what they'd do if/when they sell. One guy in Guam just walked into the local authority office with a long expired reggie and walked out with fresh docs...for peanuts too!

That's it....hope this helps someone somewhere along the line....please keep in mind this is just from my experience and in no way may it be legal to your circumstance!!

best - J
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Old 08-07-2007, 18:39   #19
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just be sure that you keep copies of your receipts showing that the boat was elsewhere.
This is critical information. You all need to understand that under tax law you are guilty until you prove you are innocent. Robbing a bank is easier to get away with. BTW, there is no statute of limitations on tax fraud.

Things that people used to do actually did work - back when they did it. These days more computers are cross linked and cross checked. They pay folks to do nothing but catch folks that thought pulled a fast one.

Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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