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Old 17-11-2018, 17:34   #16
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Re: American building boat in Eu...where to register?

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Originally Posted by gaucho View Post
As a foreign flagged vessel you report to CBP (Customs and Border Protection), not USCG. So that exemption don't apply.
I got this info from the electronic Code of Federal Regulations. It appears to cover all US agencies. Do you know for a fact that the exemption doesn't apply? Could you direct me to a regulation that DOES require the check-ins without exemption?

"The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) annual edition is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government produced by the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and the Government Publishing Office."

Seems like this would cover CBP as well as USCG.

https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-id...9#sp33.2.160.c
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Old 17-11-2018, 17:57   #17
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Re: American building boat in Eu...where to register?

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Originally Posted by svbravo View Post
I got this info from the electronic Code of Federal Regulations. It appears to cover all US agencies. Do you know for a fact that the exemption doesn't apply? Could you direct me to a regulation that DOES require the check-ins without exemption?

"The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) annual edition is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government produced by the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and the Government Publishing Office."

Seems like this would cover CBP as well as USCG.

https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-id...9#sp33.2.160.c
I've been cruising a foreign flagged vessel in the US most winters for about 30yrs. The reporting requirements for pleasure craft have been on the books since the early 60's. It actually says right in the cruising license that you must report at "every port or place that you stop". The rules were pretty much ignored until about three years ago when enforcement became extremely rigid and at times unpleasant. The cruising license also cites the CFR's however the CFR's are thousands of pages and tough to research.

Reporting in every day is worse than you can imagine. At first check in you will be given a list of CBP phone numbers, many of which will get a "this number is not in service" message. Other calls will be greeted by "why are you calling us ?". In this case you must insist on being given the responders name as you will need that when the next officer threatens to fine you or take your boat for not checking in.

In one case earlier this year an officer berated me for wasting his time by calling the wrong number. He eventually gave me the "right" number and when I called back ... it was the same guy !

On two occasions we called in and told them when asked "We are in Chesapeake Beach" his response .... "No you're not, there is no such place". The Chesapeake Beach chamber of commerce disagrees. We have a dozen more funny, curious and frustrating stories of our interaction of these people.

It drives me nuts as my brother crosses the border in his motorhome for months at a time and never has to check in with anyone after crossing the border. I personally know a dozen cruisers who will not cruise US waters again until this nonsense abates.

Travelling under a cruising license has become so onerous that rather than go south via the Mississippi next year we'll be going down the east coast to get out of the US as fast as possible to the quiet sanity of the Bahamas.

We have loved cruising US waters for decades, The American people are among the most hospitable and generous in the world but ..... their bureaucracy is approaching fascism..... Still, it is their country and we must play by their rules
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Old 18-11-2018, 05:14   #18
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Re: American building boat in Eu...where to register?

Unfortunately, Boatpoker is completely right. And he's not exaggerating either... I've got some stories to tell about the stupid reporting and BP officers who think they're God. Serious horror material. Don't get me started on the list of phone numbers but to speak to these people in person is sometimes worse than calling.
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Old 18-11-2018, 05:48   #19
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Re: American building boat in Eu...where to register?

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Looking at the Wa State Dept of Rev site, it looks like the Use Tax is based on value when you first USE the boat in the state, so, if, say, it was a 10 year old boat by then, the depreciation could have significant effect, when compared to the "Bill of Sale" figure, which would be applied to Sales Tax if purchased from a Washington State dealer.

This from DOR website: "Sales tax is based on the selling price, while use tax is based on the value of the article when it is first used in Washington. "
Is this an FAQ or the actual law you are quoting? Keep in mind the website may be wrong and it doesn't override the law.

In fact since the people who developed the website were likely thinking of a more typical situation where you buy and immediately bring home, they may not have been thinking of your unusual situation.

Really seems like a whole lot of complication and cost for very little benefit.
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Old 18-11-2018, 05:58   #20
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Re: American building boat in Eu...where to register?

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
Is this an FAQ or the actual law you are quoting? Keep in mind the website may be wrong and it doesn't override the law.

In fact since the people who developed the website were likely thinking of a more typical situation where you buy and immediately bring home, they may not have been thinking of your unusual situation.

Really seems like a whole lot of complication and cost for very little benefit.
So a 40yr. old boat that was originally sold for 100k and is now worth 20k would have tax owed on 100k ?
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Old 18-11-2018, 06:09   #21
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Re: American building boat in Eu...where to register?

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Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
So a 40yr. old boat that was originally sold for 100k and is now worth 20k would have tax owed on 100k ?

I believe that is correct. This is from the WA Dept of Revenue (DOR)

Sales and Use Tax
Use tax applies to the use of articles within this state
acquired without payment of sales tax. Thus, articles
purchased for use in this state are subject to sales tax
or use tax, but not both.
Sales tax is based on the selling price, while use tax is
based on the value of the article when it is first used
in Washington. The value includes any delivery charges
paid to the seller.


https://dor.wa.gov/sites/default/fil...x/BoatBroc.pdf


One would probably have to have an appraisal made to establish the current value.


I ran into this when buying privately an old Mercedes 420SEL. She barely ran and I paid $1000 but the DOR was saying it was worth over $10,000 so I got a mechanic to give an estimate to fix all the stuff wrong which was over $10K and I had to pay only the sales/use tax on the $1K. I got lucky because most of the stuff wrong was traced to a faulty computer connection but it still wasn't even worth close to $10K.
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Old 18-11-2018, 06:13   #22
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Re: American building boat in Eu...where to register?

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Originally Posted by Sand crab View Post
I would just US doc the boat and deal with the rest down the road. Doc is pretty cheap and the 1.5% import duty when you finally get here seems very reasonable to me.
And what are the chances that when you clear mobile into the US from Canada you will even see a human being face to face, or be asked to pay the duty?
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Old 18-11-2018, 06:31   #23
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Re: American building boat in Eu...where to register?

The Use tax should be based on the value when you enter the State. Keep that receipt, because every other state will want to charge you their use tax after a certain number of days in that state. The new state you visit should give credit for use/sales tax paid in another state. So if you've paid that 6.5% in Washington, then go to California for a certain number of days, California will attempt to charge you their 8.25%, but should give you credit for the 6.5% you already paid. Yes, you would owe California another 1.75%. All states have people that will visit airports and marinas just to note the registration numbers and try to nail you for use tax. Keep good documentation as to when you entered a State, and when you leave, if (and you probably should) you stay less than the "grace" period for transiting vessels.

Also, the U.S Duty is 1.5%, but only on the foreign purchased goods. If your generator or electronics, for example, were from the U.S., and you could document that with your foreign builder, then Duty would not be owed on the U.S. Origin items.
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Old 18-11-2018, 06:32   #24
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Re: American building boat in Eu...where to register?

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Originally Posted by makobuilders View Post
And what are the chances that when you clear mobile into the US from Canada you will even see a human being face to face, or be asked to pay the duty?

Probably slim but if you have a US Doc boat in the US without paying the import tax then they can legally seize the boat and that would be bad.


You have 60 days to register your boat here so if you wanted to do the dance of moving out of state or country every 59 days then you might be technically still legal.
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Old 18-11-2018, 07:12   #25
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Re: American building boat in Eu...where to register?

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So a 40yr. old boat that was originally sold for 100k and is now worth 20k would have tax owed on 100k ?
This is my point.

If you bought the boat for $20k and brought it home immediately, the depreciated value and the sales agreement will typically match. As long as you aren't claiming something wildly low, they will likely never question it (a common but unethical trick when buying used cars is to buy for say $5k cash but write up the sales agreement for $3k so you pay less sales tax).

But if you have a 5yr old sales agreement for $100k and you are claiming it's only worth $60k...it's going to depend on what the actual law states about th taxable value not what the online FAQ states because it's unlikely the FAQ was written with this situation in mind. (keep in mind the DMV guy likely has no idea what the boat is worth and would much prefer to copy what is on the sales agreement so he can use that to justify himself if someone questions it later)
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Old 18-11-2018, 08:45   #26
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Re: American building boat in Eu...where to register?

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
This is my point.

If you bought the boat for $20k and brought it home immediately, the depreciated value and the sales agreement will typically match. As long as you aren't claiming something wildly low, they will likely never question it (a common but unethical trick when buying used cars is to buy for say $5k cash but write up the sales agreement for $3k so you pay less sales tax).

But if you have a 5yr old sales agreement for $100k and you are claiming it's only worth $60k...it's going to depend on what the actual law states about th taxable value not what the online FAQ states because it's unlikely the FAQ was written with this situation in mind. (keep in mind the DMV guy likely has no idea what the boat is worth and would much prefer to copy what is on the sales agreement so he can use that to justify himself if someone questions it later)
Wouldn't a current survey valuation and/or insured value be sufficient ?
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Old 18-11-2018, 09:59   #27
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Re: American building boat in Eu...where to register?

Thanks for this first hand experience info, Poker. It does sound like cruising the US under a Cruising License has become quite the Charlie Foxtrot. It appears that the CFR's do give an exemption, but if the CBP guys don't get the email, it's not much fun to get a hassle with every move.

This'll definitely enter into the decision. Likelihood is that we'll be out of the US for another 5-10 years, if we come back (w boat) at all, so it may be a moot point in the end. Still, good to have all of this info, as I try to decide best way to go on registration.

Any other foreign flagged boats care to weigh in on your experiences w/ US cruising?
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Old 18-11-2018, 23:31   #28
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Re: American building boat in Eu...where to register?

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Wouldn't a current survey valuation and/or insured value be sufficient ?
Again, that's my point...what does the LAW state.

If the LAW (not the website FAQ) says or implies purchase price, they are going to want to see the sales documentation and likely won't care what a current survey says.

Even if the law doesn't state what the value is based on, expect them to ask for the bill of sale (at least in Michigan that is always what they ask for if registering a car or boat) and if you can't produce a bill of sale that matches your claimed value, expect it to turn into a cluster pretty quick as you are deviating substantially from their normal process. You might win if you get a lawyer involved but not until you pay the lawyer more than you were trying to save all while adding complications.
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Old 19-11-2018, 10:40   #29
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Re: American building boat in Eu...where to register?

Valhalla-
Most tax men don't worry a whole lot if your stated values are off. They just pull out a copy of the "blue book" or "buc book" or whatever version their agency is using, read it off, give you the bill, and you can protest later.

I think a lot of folks are also missing the boat (so to speak) on "use tax". Normally that is only applicable to STATE RESIDENTS. And while some states can and will declare you to be a "resident" after spending as little as 30 contiguous days in them, or within ten days of taking a full-time job in them, or other quick grabs, I don't think many of them will start looking at charging use tax or registration on your boat until you hit (typically) 90 days, or sign some other long-term contract or commitment in a state. Like taking out voter registration or a driver's license.
Heck, there are only 62 different tax venues in the United States. How hard can it be for a boater to keep track of every last one of them? (G)
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Old 19-11-2018, 20:08   #30
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Re: American building boat in Eu...where to register?

svbravo, as someone who has asked the same questions and has researched such, I have the following to offer:
  • If you're a US citizen, then America is the absolute cheapest documentation there is. Offshore will be costly, typically thousands of dollars
  • Since you'll be offshore for many years, by the time you enter US waters then you'll likely not even remember this conversation. If you enter from Canada or the Bahamas via the friendly networks (mobile) then no one will question you about entry fees, especially on a USA boat that is 6-8 years old.
  • Depending on where you plan to cruise, you may NOT want to be US flagged. It's a big draw for thieves or pirates. And even if you are flagged in the US, make your port of call someplace unknown (not NYC for Gd's sake) and don't fly your engsign, only that of your visiting country.
  • That previous comment will likely get me alot of blowback, but as a guy who has spent the last decade in the Middle East, including two stints in Syria, I don't think it's something to be overlooked, especially in today's political atmosphere where even our traditional allies don't like us too much.
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