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Old 15-12-2015, 09:24   #1
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USCG documentation vs. state registration

So I've been reading posts on various arguments for registering in different states for sales tax purposes. But I'm curious as to the advantages of state registration versus USCG documentation, or vice-versa. I intend to spend time in Florida with my new vessel, but then leave for an extended time for the Caribbean. Would one form of registration/documentation better suit my circumstances? I don't have any problem paying sales tax in Florida, as I'll do a fair bit of time in the state. More interested in the benefits outside the US, as to ease of entry to other ports, etc.
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Old 15-12-2015, 09:45   #2
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

Keep in mind that if you keep your boat in Florida, you'll have to register it there even if you're Coast Guard documented.

Do a search for this topic, as it has been discussed before. I think the conclusion was that you're fine either way. People with state-registered vessels had traveled extensively without problem.
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Old 15-12-2015, 11:18   #3
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Jim View Post
So I've been reading posts on various arguments for registering in different states for sales tax purposes.
First, lets clear this up. In general, where you register your boat has absolutely no bearing on whether or not you will have to pay sales tax, or how much that tax will be. Sales tax depends on where you buy the boat. Many states allow you to avoid sales tax if you move the boat out of the state within a certain period of time (usually 30-90 days) after you buy it.

Many states also charge a use tax, which is pretty much a sales tax by another name. This is charged in cases where you bought the boat elsewhere, avoided the sales tax there, and then brought the boat to the new state. For example, Delaware has no sales tax on used boats. So let's say you buy a boat there, but then bring it down to Florida 2 months later. Florida will want you to pay use tax on the purchase price of the boat.

Doesn't matter whether you registered it in Delaware, or anywhere else. The sales/use tax is a completely separate issue from the registration.

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But I'm curious as to the advantages of state registration versus USCG documentation, or vice-versa.
Another issue that is confusing to a lot of people. As mentioned, a lot of states will require you to register the boat with them, if you stay more than a certain amount of time, even if the boat is CG documented. The state cannot require you to put registration numbers on the hull, but contrary to what some people mistakenly believe, a state CAN (and many do) require you to register your documented boat.

In a lot of ways CG documentation is really more like titling a boat than it is like registering it. It certifies the chain of ownership of the boat, and liens can be recorded against it. In fact, in Florida you do not have to get a state title if your boat is documented, even though you do have to register it if you stay more than 90 days.

I have heard that there are some countries around the world where CG documentation gets you through customs a bit easier than state registration does, but I think all of the countries of the Caribbean are perfectly familiar with, and accepting of, state registration.

Good luck.
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Old 15-12-2015, 11:30   #4
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
First, lets clear this up. In general, where you register your boat has absolutely no bearing on whether or not you will have to pay sales tax, or how much that tax will be. Sales tax depends on where you buy the boat. Many states allow you to avoid sales tax if you move the boat out of the state within a certain period of time (usually 30-90 days) after you buy it.

Many states also charge a use tax, which is pretty much a sales tax by another name. This is charged in cases where you bought the boat elsewhere, avoided the sales tax there, and then brought the boat to the new state. For example, Delaware has no sales tax on used boats. So let's say you buy a boat there, but then bring it down to Florida 2 months later. Florida will want you to pay use tax on the purchase price of the boat.

Doesn't matter whether you registered it in Delaware, or anywhere else. The sales/use tax is a completely separate issue from the registration.


Another issue that is confusing to a lot of people. As mentioned, a lot of states will require you to register the boat with them, if you stay more than a certain amount of time, even if the boat is CG documented. The state cannot require you to put registration numbers on the hull, but contrary to what some people mistakenly believe, a state CAN (and many do) require you to register your documented boat.

In a lot of ways CG documentation is really more like titling a boat than it is like registering it. It certifies the chain of ownership of the boat, and liens can be recorded against it. In fact, in Florida you do not have to get a state title if your boat is documented, even though you do have to register it if you stay more than 90 days.

I have heard that there are some countries around the world where CG documentation gets you through customs a bit easier than state registration does, but I think all of the countries of the Caribbean are perfectly familiar with, and accepting of, state registration.

Good luck.
All the above exactly correct.
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Old 15-12-2015, 14:23   #5
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

Thanks for that info. I intend to register in Florida as I will be using the boat there for the near term. I realize I will pay Florida sales tax on the purchase price. I was most interested in whether I should additionally file USCG documentation in addition to the state registration. But from your final comments it seems that might be an additional expense I don't need to incur.
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Old 15-12-2015, 14:44   #6
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

I just went through the process here in Florida. Florida gives you two options, titled with registration or USCG documented with Florida registration. No numbers, just a blue sticker. The easy way is to send in your USCG paperwork then get your Florida registration. Here in Broward they gave me a single page form with I think 5 lines to fill out. Their biggest concern was seeing my bill of sale and did I pay any tax in the state where I purchased it. It's a money grab pure and simple.

Woody




Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Jim View Post
Thanks for that info. I intend to register in Florida as I will be using the boat there for the near term. I realize I will pay Florida sales tax on the purchase price. I was most interested in whether I should additionally file USCG documentation in addition to the state registration. But from your final comments it seems that might be an additional expense I don't need to incur.
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Old 15-12-2015, 14:49   #7
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Jim View Post
Thanks for that info. I intend to register in Florida as I will be using the boat there for the near term. I realize I will pay Florida sales tax on the purchase price. I was most interested in whether I should additionally file USCG documentation in addition to the state registration. But from your final comments it seems that might be an additional expense I don't need to incur.

USCG documentation only $85 so a lot less than the FL sales tax. FL registration around $100. Probably not an issue but there are occasional rumors that some of the countries in the far Caribbean don't like state registration papers, documentation is what they're used to seeing.

On the other hand, at least one forum member has sailed for years all across the Pacific with state registered boat.
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Old 15-12-2015, 15:11   #8
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

Florida requires you show ownership of at least 6 months before bringing it into the state and your current registration not to pay taxes .




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USCG documentation only $85 so a lot less than the FL sales tax. FL registration around $100. Probably not an issue but there are occasional rumors that some of the countries in the far Caribbean don't like state registration papers, documentation is what they're used to seeing.

On the other hand, at least one forum member has sailed for years all across the Pacific with state registered boat.
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Old 15-12-2015, 15:34   #9
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Jim View Post
So I've been reading posts on various arguments for registering in different states for sales tax purposes. But I'm curious as to the advantages of state registration versus USCG documentation, or vice-versa. I intend to spend time in Florida with my new vessel, but then leave for an extended time for the Caribbean. Would one form of registration/documentation better suit my circumstances? I don't have any problem paying sales tax in Florida, as I'll do a fair bit of time in the state. More interested in the benefits outside the US, as to ease of entry to other ports, etc.
I"ve been researching state registration issues in the caribbean and it seems if you boat is over 5 tons the french islands will not except a state registration.
They want a national Registration.
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Old 15-12-2015, 17:15   #10
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

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Florida requires you show ownership of at least 6 months before bringing it into the state and your current registration not to pay taxes .
This is correct. You might also be required to prove you bought and used the boat legitimately outside Florida and did not do this just to avoid the FL sales tax. Not sure how one would do this but, there it is.
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Old 15-12-2015, 18:14   #11
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

This is all great input. I think the way for me to go is documentation with state registration. If the seller already has documentation, then so much the easier for me, as they only have to sign over the documentation and the fee is less (per the USCG documentation website). Whew!! No worries about clearing into Caribbean ports.
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Old 15-12-2015, 20:03   #12
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

No knowledge of the East coast.

USCG documentation allows the U.S. Marshals to impound the boat if needed.

Alaska is a little different. Until about 8 years or so, Alaska didn't register boats. The USCG did this. Now the state does it. Interesting is that Alaska does not issue titles for boats or outboards. Registration cost $24 for 3 years and there isn't any sales tax. If you document your boat, no Alaska state registration required.

Most lenders in Alaska require the buyer of a boat to complete USCG Documentation, so they can repossess it if needed.

When we bought ASD, we took possession 5nm off shore of California (no CA sales tax) and documented it as an Alaskan boat. But we didn't escape any taxes as our boat is in the State of Washington for more than 180 days, so we had to pay a "user fee" which is the same as the sales tax.
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Old 16-12-2015, 01:50   #13
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

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This is all great input. I think the way for me to go is documentation with state registration. If the seller already has documentation, then so much the easier for me, as they only have to sign over the documentation and the fee is less (per the USCG documentation website). Whew!! No worries about clearing into Caribbean ports.

That's what I did, and it works all around. You'll need the Coast Guard documentation back prior to state registration, but you can print the interim application to carry with you while you wait.
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Old 16-12-2015, 08:14   #14
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

Jim,

I forgot to tell you the form needed for registering a documented vessels isn't online. (Here in Ft Lauderdale/ Broward Country.) You need to go in person and ask. Its one short page with an instruction page. The USCG takes 3 to 4 months so you file that first. The instructions will ask you to get an email from the USCG saying that you have applied. With that email and the notarized copy of the bill of sale they'll issue you your registration.

Good luck, Woody
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Old 16-12-2015, 09:01   #15
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Re: USCG documentation vs. state registration

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Jim,

I forgot to tell you the form needed for registering a documented vessels isn't online. (Here in Ft Lauderdale/ Broward Country.) You need to go in person and ask. Its one short page with an instruction page. The USCG takes 3 to 4 months so you file that first. The instructions will ask you to get an email from the USCG saying that you have applied. With that email and the notarized copy of the bill of sale they'll issue you your registration.

Good luck, Woody

That's interesting. In my county I actually had to wait for the documentation to come back before registering the boat.
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