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Old 12-09-2009, 08:14   #106
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Hellosailor - I don't know where you live - it is not listed in your profile - but it must not be Florida. I am from Florida and a significant percentage of the Cruisers in the Caribbean use Florida as their tax/etc. domicile and have Florida driver licenses, etc. NONE of us do Jury Duty. We file a letter or have a relative personally inform the Clerk of the Court that we are on an extended sailing cruise and will not be back for a year or years. The Clerk strikes our name from the list (they use driver's licenses as the source of jurors in Florida) and we never hear from them again. Simple, quick and easy. However, if you are actually living in Florida on land and only sailing short trips (Bahamas) then you are not able to be removed - however, not being able to return without significant costs (e.g. airline tickets) is a viable excuse to the Clerk. They are intelligent people and know that they have to call 100 or more people to Jury Duty to be able to get enough after rejections and disqualifications by lawyers to seat a jury. The Clerks and Courts are not out to "piss off" the population. Florida moved the calling pool from Registered Voters to Drivers Licenses as too many people were dropping their voter registrations to get out of the "pool." And they picked Drivers Licenses so that those who could not get to the Courthouse because they could not drive where likewise eliminated. I have been called and served on a jury in Florida and one of the valid excuses was "significant monetary loss" which fits with being outside of Florida and requiring air transportation. Bottom line, Jury Duty is not a problem or limiting factor in going cruising.
- - Interestingly, the jury I was called for was for a poor man who got shafted by his ex-wife and mother-in-law and was really behind the eight ball, so was counter-suing for damages. The lawyer questioned me about my thoughts on the situation and I gave them as much bigoted, hard line, thrice burned divorce victim, as I could stretch the truth legally - thinking I would be tossed off the jury. Didn't work, I ended up as foreman with a jury of very low economic level peers doing their duty. Cut and dry case and the poor guy was asking for only $50K in compensation (more then 5 years pay for him). We all agreed he should be paid but the other jurors also thought that was a enormous amount of money. It took a note to the judge to find out if we could set whatever amount of money we thought "just" or we were capped by his request. The judge said we were the jury and we could do what we wanted in that area. It took me a couple of hours to explain to the others that the poor sap was never going to be able to collect anyway since his 'ex' was living outside Florida. And I have been routinely sued for mega millions for this and that. I was trying to get the jury up to $5M but was only able to get the jury to agree to $500K. To them that was a sum of money somewhere out near Jupiter and they did not know that the lawyer got 50% of the award. A lot of fun and very enlightening.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:32   #107
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osiris, my understanding is that each county in Florida is free to set their own ultimate rules for jury duty. So your mileage will vary from county to county. But more so, my point was not that a Florida address may result in jury duty--but that any residency, in any state, will involve "hooks" and complications of some kind beyond just where your mail is sent.

And one of those hooks of course is that laws regarding jury duty (and jury exemptions) and everything else change from year to year, all over. If Florida, or at least your county in Florida, is generous enough to say non-resident residents aren't worth bothering with...great! Of course one day they'll run out of swampland to sell, and have to implement a state income tax, or something. The only constant is change, no matter where you are. Right?
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Old 12-09-2009, 13:41   #108
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Actually, The State Courts of Florida jury duty is covered by uniform State of Florida Law. The relevant sections you missed are:
>>> (6) A person may be excused from jury service upon a showing of hardship, extreme inconvenience, or public necessity.<<<< This is the section covering cruisers and other people working and traveling outside of the State of Florida where returning is most assuredly and recognized by the Clerks of the Court as "extreme inconvenience." And there is also: >>> (8) A person 70 years of age or older shall be excused from jury service upon request. <<< which covers a lot of cruisers and most of the residents in South Florida. Finally there is the exemption: >>> because of mental illness, mental retardation, senility, or other physical or mental incapacity <<<< which most certainly covers anybody heading out into the oceans in a small vessel, especially in the views and opinions of land people.
- - All this points to the fact that choosing a State for Sales/Use Tax avoidance on a newly purchased boat is about more than just the Sales/Use Taxes - you must consider all the surrounding complications of Tax Domicile, civic responsibilities (e.g. jury duty), and local zoning and other laws. Sometimes these surrounding complications add up to more than what you save in Sales/Use Tax.
- - If you are a retired couple without dependents or person without dependents and no land job then choosing some place is a lot easier and a PMB will satisfy your needs as to an address to get drivers licenses, et.al. coordinated. However, if you have dependents or a land job and residences in more than one State, then things get complicated. If you, your wife and your children live and go to school in - say - Georgia and you try to establish a tax domicile in -say - South Carolina to avoid taxes on the boat -- you will get severely burned and a whole lot of tax trouble. There are dozens of cases of this happening to transportation workers and they always lose big. Avoiding taxes is legal, evading taxes is a crime and very costly. So a person needs to "keep their ducks in a row" and consider all the implications beyond just the Sales/Use Tax on the newly purchased boat.
- - P.S. If you have high power friends you can find out the hidden "loopholes" in various States' tax laws designed to assist the rich and famous keep their money. I was lucky in that department and legally avoided many thousands of dollars of Sales/Use tax in Florida.
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Old 12-09-2009, 15:03   #109
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Just name the boat "Been Lahdin" and stick a tall guy with bad kidneys on the foredeck. We already know, the combined governments of the world can't find a tall kidney patient for eight years despite their most concentrated effots, right? (sigh)

Yeah, every once in a while I find a note from my state tax authorities about an exception to the exception to the "but everyone must" rules. The latest one states in black and white that residents who have not actually been residing in the state for a certain period, can bring in a motor vehicle without paying use tax on it under certain conditions. This despite other writings from the same department saying that's just not allowed. So I'm just going to have to figure out who to contact, and where to check the actual statute, to see if that barn door says ENTER or EXIT on it.

Or paint it gray and claim to be a cadet training ship from the Lichenstein Navy ? <G>
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Old 12-09-2009, 17:39   #110
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Ya pays your money and ya takes your chances......I would like to see the PA Navy taxed.......BTW at one ramp near me...if you are outta state ya pay $20.00...in state free.
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