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.
There are two separate issues in Florida
that can result in taxes
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.
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
"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
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
"Use tax and surtax are not due on boats brought to Florida if you meet all of the following
• 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
• 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."