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Old 16-02-2010, 20:04   #16
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I reside primarily in Florida but recently purchased a boat out of state. Before closing I spent a good bit of time researching the FL sales tax and registration questions, including checking websites of various FL agencies and calling several state offices to question and confirm my interpretation of what I was reading on the web sites. Here is a summary of the information that I posted on another thread.

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There are two separate issues in Florida that can result in taxes or fees to a boat owner, vessel title and vessel registration. If the vessel is federally documented or has a valid title or documentation from another state or country then the vessel will not be Florida state titled.

No matter where the vessel is titled or documented, if it stays in the state of Florida for more than 90 days the vessel is required to pay Florida vessel registration. This does not effect the title or documentation of the vessel or even the registration of the vessel in another state.

The fees may vary with the county but the requirements and exemptions are established state wide.


1. Registration requirements and fees.

Official Website Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

"Florida recognizes valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting boaters for a period of 90 days. An owner who intends to use his vessel in Florida longer than 90 days must register it with a county tax collector. However, he may retain the out-of-state registration number if he plans to return to his home state within a reasonable period of time."

2. Sales and Use taxes

http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/forms/2009/gt800005.pdf

"Sales Tax - All boats sold and/or delivered in this state are subject to Florida’s 6 percent sales and use tax, unless exempt."

"Use Tax - Use tax is a component of Florida’s sales and use tax law. Use tax and surtax apply to taxable goods and services that you bring into Florida untaxed or taxed at a rate less than Florida’s 6 percent rate. We allow a credit for lawfully imposed taxes paid to another state, a U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia. We do not allow credit for taxes paid to another country.
Discretionary sales surtax is also due on the first $5,000 of these purchases. Example: If you purchase a boat in a state that has a sales tax rate of 4 percent, you will have to pay an additional 2 percent when you bring the boat into Florida."

3. Exemptions from sales and use tax

"Foreign Flagged Vessels
Boats flying a foreign flag are exempt from Florida use tax if they have a current license to
cruise issued by the U.S. Customs Service. Licenses to cruise are available only to boats
flagged in countries that have a treaty with the United States. The boat will remain exempt as
long as you do not violate the provisions of the license to cruise."


"Use tax and surtax are not due on boats brought to Florida if you meet all of the following
conditions:
• You own the boat 6 months or longer, and
• You have shown no intent to use the boat in Florida at or before the time of purchase,
and
• The boat has been in use 6 months or longer within the taxing jurisdiction of another
state, U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia. Time spent in foreign waters does not
count as part of the 6-month period."
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Old 18-02-2010, 08:41   #17
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Department of Revenue confirmation

Thanks for all the input on this thread regarding sales and use tax in Florida. Out of an abundance of caution I called the Florida Department of Revenue, Boat Enforcement Unit 850-487-3273. When connected to the right person I confirmed my understanding that if we have owned the boat for more than six months, shown no prior intent to use in FL before the purchase, and actually used it another state for 6 months. Then there is no sales tax (only applies to boats purchased or delivered in FL) or use tax when registering the boat in FL.
I know the statute reads that way but I am always wary that I have missed something, and this would have been a very expensive miss.
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:05   #18
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Re: Cruising Florida and Being Legal...

Florida's 'antique' registration starts at 30 years old NOT 20 years old -- just called the Sarasota Tax office for that info.
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:05   #19
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Re: Cruising Florida and Being Legal...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailserenity View Post
I hope I am not missing something but it appears that because we have been in KS for 2 years with no previous intent on moving to FL I will not have to pay "the man".
You are not missing anything. You will not need to pay any sales or use tax to Florida. It might be worthwhile to have a few receipts that would document the fact that you have owned and used the boat for more than 6 months outside of Florida.
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:19   #20
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Re: Cruising Florida and Being Legal...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmarriott View Post
Florida's 'antique' registration starts at 30 years old NOT 20 years old -- just called the Sarasota Tax office for that info.
+1 I was just going to post that too!
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:19   #21
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pirate Re: Cruising Florida and Being Legal...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmarriott View Post
Florida's 'antique' registration starts at 30 years old NOT 20 years old -- just called the Sarasota Tax office for that info.
Hey..... Wow.... I own an Antique... gonna call 'Christies'....
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:00   #22
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Re: Cruising Florida and Being Legal...

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, gmarriott.

Thanks for sharing that definitive information.
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Old 21-03-2011, 16:07   #23
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Re: Cruising Florida and Being Legal...

I just registered my boat in Florida today, and got the antique vessel registration. It took 4 trips to the tax office to get it all correct, but in the end it is done. I know most people with government jobs like that don't care about what they are doing or how much hassle they cause you, but come on 4 trips. One person says this, and another says that. I finally printed off the instructions from a state website and took them in with me. "Oh yeah, we can do that".

Sorry, I just had to rant a little to calm down.
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Old 21-03-2011, 16:38   #24
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Re: Cruising Florida and Being Legal...

Do you have that website? I live in Fl. and a 1977 CD27' I was thinking that it was for vessels 25 years and older, is that correct? and it was very nominal fee, $4 or $5? Thanks for any info.
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Old 21-03-2011, 17:03   #25
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Re: Cruising Florida and Being Legal...

The boat has to be 30 years old. Here is a link to the form and instructions. It was $5.

http://www.flhsmv.gov/dmv/forms/BTR/87243.pdf
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Old 21-03-2011, 20:43   #26
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Re: Cruising Florida and Being Legal...

Ready2go - - enjoy your moment of pique because when you and if you do sail off to the islands of the Caribbean and/or Central/south America you will fondly think the Fla registration system was a model of peak efficiency - comparatively.
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Old 22-03-2011, 06:00   #27
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Re: Cruising Florida and Being Legal...

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Ready2go - - enjoy your moment of pique because when you and if you do sail off to the islands of the Caribbean and/or Central/south America you will fondly think the Fla registration system was a model of peak efficiency - comparatively.

God I hope it's not that bad! I have little paitence for people who don't care about what they are doing especially if they are getting paid for doing it. My wife and I have already discussed clearing in outside the US. She is the designated person to do all the talking. She grew up in Mexico and has a lot more patience for stupid posturing, apathy, and other nonsense.

I will try to just sit in the cockpit sipping a cold drink and think about the sail there.
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Old 22-03-2011, 06:34   #28
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Re: Cruising Florida and Being Legal...

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Originally Posted by READY2GO View Post
God I hope it's not that bad! I have little paitence for people who don't care about what they are doing especially if they are getting paid for doing it. My wife and I have already discussed clearing in outside the US. She is the designated person to do all the talking. She grew up in Mexico and has a lot more patience for stupid posturing, apathy, and other nonsense.
I will try to just sit in the cockpit sipping a cold drink and think about the sail there.
Just be sure that she is legally the "Captain" of the vessel. In places like Jolly Harbor, Antiqua you can risk a fine of up to $5000 EC if anybody other than the "Captain of the Vessel" sets foot on shore before you are officially "cleared in."
- - It is standard international s.o.p that only the Captain is allowed ashore or on land prior to clearance procedures being completed. However, most of the islands and countries are very lax about such things. Even to the point of advising you to just stop by on Monday if you arrive Saturday night after they go home.
- - Efficiently is not a goal amongst the officials of most islands as the jobs help keep unemployment down on the island/country. Multiple offices located all over town and even on separate islands can require a full day's worth of your time to complete the check-in/out procedures.
- - Some places like the French islands are incredibly efficient and sensible what with their D-I-Y check-in/out computers. But other islands with high unemployment seem to have an office full of people with only one actually employed to do anything, so you have to wait your turn - patiently.
- - But, heck, you went cruising to get away from the "rat-race" so enjoy the "slow" pace that these people live at. They call it "Island-Time." In Grenada it is called "GMT" - not Greenwich Mean Time but Grenada Maybe Time. Maybe they will get around to you, maybe not.
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Old 22-03-2011, 07:07   #29
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Re: Cruising Florida and Being Legal...

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
I reside primarily in Florida but recently purchased a boat out of state. Before closing I spent a good bit of time researching the FL sales tax and registration questions, including checking websites of various FL agencies and calling several state offices to question and confirm my interpretation of what I was reading on the web sites. Here is a summary of the information that I posted on another thread.

Skip



There are two separate issues in Florida that can result in taxes or fees to a boat owner, vessel title and vessel registration. If the vessel is federally documented or has a valid title or documentation from another state or country then the vessel will not be Florida state titled.

No matter where the vessel is titled or documented, if it stays in the state of Florida for more than 90 days the vessel is required to pay Florida vessel registration. This does not effect the title or documentation of the vessel or even the registration of the vessel in another state.

The fees may vary with the county but the requirements and exemptions are established state wide.


1. Registration requirements and fees.

Official Website Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

"Florida recognizes valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting boaters for a period of 90 days. An owner who intends to use his vessel in Florida longer than 90 days must register it with a county tax collector. However, he may retain the out-of-state registration number if he plans to return to his home state within a reasonable period of time."

2. Sales and Use taxes

http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/forms/2009/gt800005.pdf

"Sales Tax - All boats sold and/or delivered in this state are subject to Florida’s 6 percent sales and use tax, unless exempt."

"Use Tax - Use tax is a component of Florida’s sales and use tax law. Use tax and surtax apply to taxable goods and services that you bring into Florida untaxed or taxed at a rate less than Florida’s 6 percent rate. We allow a credit for lawfully imposed taxes paid to another state, a U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia. We do not allow credit for taxes paid to another country.
Discretionary sales surtax is also due on the first $5,000 of these purchases. Example: If you purchase a boat in a state that has a sales tax rate of 4 percent, you will have to pay an additional 2 percent when you bring the boat into Florida."

3. Exemptions from sales and use tax

"Foreign Flagged Vessels
Boats flying a foreign flag are exempt from Florida use tax if they have a current license to
cruise issued by the U.S. Customs Service. Licenses to cruise are available only to boats
flagged in countries that have a treaty with the United States. The boat will remain exempt as
long as you do not violate the provisions of the license to cruise."


"Use tax and surtax are not due on boats brought to Florida if you meet all of the following
conditions:
• You own the boat 6 months or longer, and
• You have shown no intent to use the boat in Florida at or before the time of purchase,
and
• The boat has been in use 6 months or longer within the taxing jurisdiction of another
state, U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia. Time spent in foreign waters does not
count as part of the 6-month period."
Good Info ! For some of us its a lot cheaper to have the vessel foreign flagged -This can be done for $3-4000 usd and pay no tax to Florida or any other state
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Old 22-03-2011, 07:27   #30
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Re: Cruising Florida and Being Legal...

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Originally Posted by rover88 View Post
This may not pertain, but if your boat is over 20 years old then you can register it as an antique in Florida and save a bundle. My annual tax on my '71' boat is less than $5.

Here's the rub - the tax folks may not tell you that you qualify as an antique and you have to remind them.

There's a glaring exception to the antique status of a boat: the vessel must be "Powered by its original type power plant".

That's all well and good, you say? "My 40-year old boat still has a diesel engine, so it still qualifies!" Umm - NO. The definition on the Antique Registration form says that Original Power Plant is "Engine of same year and model that the vessel had originally". So, our 1979 Formosa 51, which will be 32 years old this year, no longer qualifies because we replace the original Lehman 120hp diesel in 2007 with a Westerbeke T120-4A turbo diesel.

We just changed our residency to Florida from Massachusetts, so at first I was disappointed to hear after the we registered that antique vessels were exempt from registration fees. Then I was doubly disappointed when I read the definition in the registration form!
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