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Old 18-03-2011, 07:55   #1
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Legal Mailing Address for Live Aboards

As I am getting ready to move on board my boat this year, summers on mooring, winters at marina. I am wondering what are the options for a leagal mailing address if any. Can U.S. Post Office boxes be used for this? Will State and Federal authorities recognize this arrangement as a legal address for such things as taxes, drivers license, etc?
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Old 18-03-2011, 08:24   #2
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Re: Legal Mailing Address for Live Aboards

When I lived aboard, I had a PO box as a permanent address and all was good. When I re-upped my driver license, concealed weapon license, Paramedic license ( and so far EVERYTHING issued by the State of Florida) I had to give them a physical address. My pleas of living aboard were not understood by the bureaucracy, and refused issuance until I complied. I wound up giving them the address of some rental property I own but didn't live at..... no doubt setting myself up for some other violation.
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Old 18-03-2011, 08:29   #3
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Re: Legal Mailing Address for Live Aboards

Hello,

I used a p.o. box for years as my primary address while traveling. It was a hassle in many ways including that the USPS mail forwarding wasn't always reliable or quick to transfer to new locations as I moved (etc.). It also wasn't an adequate address for a few items like drivers licenses etc. (I can't remember them all). In my opinion a P.O. box is not a good solution for a traveler looking for a permanent address.

I have switched to using St. Brendans Isle:

Mail Forwarding Services at St Brendan's Isle

it seems to be an improvement in every way and to offer the services that I need. I've only been using them for a few months so can't fully evaluate them as of yet. So far all has gone great though and the mail forwarding is a huge improvement from the old USPS approach.

There are other alternatives but I recommend that you contact SBI to inquire about your particular needs. They may be a good solution for you.

Jonathan
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Old 18-03-2011, 08:30   #4
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Re: Legal Mailing Address for Live Aboards

No. These days you need a street address for things like a driver's license, or even to rent a PO Box. I suggest obtaining a street address someplace that you can use for all of these important things. It is helpful when dealing with officialdom in various ports if all of your addresses on things like boat documents match. Saves confusion and helps ease the process. Often a relative's house works for many of us, but many boaters use a professional mailing service like St. Brendan's Isle in Florida. As long as you don't mind being a resident of Green Cove Springs, FL, that will work out nicely, though you do have to pay them. They provide excellent service.
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Old 18-03-2011, 09:22   #5
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Re: Legal Mailing Address for Live Aboards

The new banking laws are a real pain these days. We had one brokerage firm try to close our account because they didn't like our address at St Brendan's Isle mail service. We are now legal residents of Robbie's Marine on Stock Island, Key West, despite the fact that we are leaving for Panama in a few weeks. Just figure out what the idiots want and give it to them, sort of like doing your taxes.
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Old 18-03-2011, 10:05   #6
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Re: Legal Mailing Address for Live Aboards

i use a marine chandlery that caters to the cruising crowd for my permanent address. it works. those mailboxes r us places acrtually produce a real kinda address for folks, as well--many ways to have a real street address without being outside the law..lol....
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Old 18-03-2011, 10:53   #7
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Re: Legal Mailing Address for Live Aboards

We don't own any real estate in the U.S., and St Brendan's Isle does it all for us.

It's not a "P.O. address", it's a "Personal Mailbox". Big difference. A PMB means that you can get deliveries from FedEx and UPS, who won't deliver to a USPS post office box. The IRS and Social Security are fine with it, too. We also legally established our "domicile" in Florida based on the SBI address. In fact, that's one of SBI's services--they walked our applications over to the county Clerk of the Court and took care of everything. After establishing domicile, we were able to get Florida driver licenses and register to vote in county, state and federal elections.

They do a great job of handling our mail forwarding needs, too. The monthly charge for mail forwarding is based at about $12, and you can add some very valuable services to that for a little more.

Great service--can't say enough about them.

(and I don't own any SBI stock, either!)
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Old 18-03-2011, 15:35   #8
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Re: Legal Mailing Address for Live Aboards

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We don't own any real estate in the U.S., and St Brendan's Isle does it all for us.

It's not a "P.O. address", it's a "Personal Mailbox". Big difference. A PMB means that you can get deliveries from FedEx and UPS, who won't deliver to a USPS post office box. The IRS and Social Security are fine with it, too. We also legally established our "domicile" in Florida based on the SBI address. In fact, that's one of SBI's services--they walked our applications over to the county Clerk of the Court and took care of everything. After establishing domicile, we were able to get Florida driver licenses and register to vote in county, state and federal elections.

They do a great job of handling our mail forwarding needs, too. The monthly charge for mail forwarding is based at about $12, and you can add some very valuable services to that for a little more.

Great service--can't say enough about them.



(and I don't own any SBI stock, either!)
So if I understand this correctly if I get involved with St Brendons Isle that would be consider a legal "Domiciled" address even if I am living on the hook and working in NY? How would that impact my State Tax picture
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Old 18-03-2011, 15:44   #9
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Re: Legal Mailing Address for Live Aboards

Florida has no state income taxes, but I would imagine since you are working in NY that if there is a St income tax there (don't know)you would owe tax on wages earned there even with the Fl SBI address. It's hard to get out of paying your tax dues.
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Old 18-03-2011, 15:45   #10
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Re: Legal Mailing Address for Live Aboards

Technically, New York doesn't let you lose your domicile until you make a concerted effort to lose it, like cancelling all bank accounts in the state, moving out of state, moving all of your personal possessions out of state, etc. In your case, living and working in NY, I would say find a NY street address you can use. You could use SBI as a mailing service, strictly to receive and forward your mail if you wanted to, but it doesn't sound like it would make much sense if you are actually living aboard mainly in NY. How about the yacht club or marina where your mooring or dock is? They will usually let you use their street address as your "legal" address, which you can in turn use for your drivers license, car registration, etc. You can still rent a PO box in order to receive most of your mail if you want to.
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Old 18-03-2011, 15:53   #11
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Re: Legal Mailing Address for Live Aboards

Hud3 is correct. The same works for me. Get a box at a UPS Store/Mailboxes etc - the address reads like a street address and does not have " PO Box " in it.

Cheers,

Evan
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Old 18-03-2011, 15:58   #12
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Re: Legal Mailing Address for Live Aboards

My marina actually has some mail drops to use. I'd check with them first.

St Brendens is perfect for cruisers but might not be needed for a livaboard in one place.
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Old 18-03-2011, 16:00   #13
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Re: Legal Mailing Address for Live Aboards

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Originally Posted by lorenzo b View Post
We had one brokerage firm try to close our account because they didn't like our address at St Brendan's Isle mail service.
please elaborate. from all I hear, St Brenden's is an address, not a po box. how would the brokerage know any different?
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Old 18-03-2011, 16:00   #14
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Re: Legal Mailing Address for Live Aboards

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Originally Posted by EvanStolze View Post
Hud3 is correct. The same works for me. Get a box at a UPS Store/Mailboxes etc - the address reads like a street address and does not have " PO Box " in it.

Cheers,

Evan
Interesting, do you think that would be acceptable for drivers license?
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Old 18-03-2011, 16:08   #15
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Re: Legal Mailing Address for Live Aboards

Another piece of data. I work for an organization that sends out lots of mail. Every address has to be "verified" on a regular basis (every 90 days) now or the USPS won't accept it for bulk mailings. There are a lot of different services that provide address verification, but some of them apparently reject addresses that go to UPS Stores or other mailing services. I have encountered this problem myself while out cruising. You may find this is the case if you try to order goods online and you find your address getting rejected. My current street address is totally legitimate, but it has a rather funky format, which is correct, but some services reject it as false. Causes all sorts of hassles at times. The best cruising street address is one that looks totally unremarkable, like 123 White Street, Anywhere, NY 12345.
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